El Tiempo Borra (Time Earases) escritó por (written by) Javier de Viana de (from) Uruguay
In the pure-blue sky not a cloud moved. Spread across the plain grazed a multitude of cows. Some were black and white, others yellow and red. It was neither hot nor cold; there was no breeze, no sounds. Only light and silence, an intense light and an infinite silence.
As his horse advanced through the countryside in a zigzagged trot, Indalecio could feel a deep sadness in his soul, but it was a gentle sort of sadness. He wished at times that he did not have to continue with this voyage, and sensations of fear pulsed through his body when he thought of the surprises that might await him.
How miserable was his return! Fifteen years and two months of absence. He relived in his memory the gray afternoon, the dispute with Benites over the ill-won race, the fight, the farewell to his beloved land, to his cattle, to the rancho so recently constructed, to the wife he had been married to for only a year... Then he was only twenty-five years old and now he returned aged, destroyed by those fifteen years in prison. He returned... what for? Did his wife and son still even exist? Did they remember him, love him still? Could one really wait for another to escape from the tomb of prison? Was he even certain that this was his land? He did not recognize it. Before there were no white structures, such as those that had sprouted to his right. Still, he continued along the countryside with a broken heart, propelled by an irresistible force.
He stopped his horse. Was this really his ranch? He doubted it for a moment. Nevertheless, in spite of the zinc roof that had replaced the one of straw, it was the same ranch.
"Hey! Come down!" An old woman, standing in the kitchen door, cried out to him. She rearranged her hair hastily as he approached. She was surrounded by half a dozen curious children.
"How are you?"
"Well, thanks. Come inside."
She did not remember him. He could see his pretty wife in her tired face, and in her gray hair, which was tied with a large handkerchief.
They entered the house and sat down. He asked:
"You don't know me?"
She looked at him carefully, then paled and exclaimed in astonishment:
She began crying, and the children surrounded her. When she calmed herself a little, she began talking, trying to justify herself:
"I was alone; I couldn't look after the property. One day someone would steal a cow, another- someone would butcher one of the sheep; and after... five years had passed. Everybody told me you would never return again, that you were condemned for life! And then... Manuel Silva proposed. I resisted for a long time... but then..."
The sad woman continued talking, talking, repeating, recollecting, defending herself, defending her children. But for quite a while Indalecio was not listening. He was seated in front of the door, looking at the landscape, at the vast green plain, which trailed into the eastern forests of Uruguay.
"Do you understand?" the woman continued, "if I had known you would return..."
He interrupted her:
"Is La Banda Oriental still fighting?"
She stopped speaking, astonished, and responded:
"Yes; a few days ago another group of soldiers passed through here, headed for the black lagoon, and..."
"Bye,"- interrupted the gaucho.
And, without another word, he got up, went to find his horse, got on, and rode toward Uruguay.
She stood in the porch, watching him in astonishment until he was out of sight. A small satisfied sigh escaped past her lips and she returned to the kitchen, to sizzle the grease in the frying pan.