La última visita de los hijos

Por Francisco Espinoza

La escena era perfecta. Digna de ser fotografiada para alguna publicidad de Coca Cola. El sol entraba por la ventana de la cocina, avivaba los colores y convertía cualquier mueca en una sonrisa satisfecha. La familia estaba almorzando. Eran cuatro. El padre, la madre y los dos hijos. Para emular los tiempos cuando los hijos aún vivían en la casa, cocinaron pescado frito con puré, prepararon ensalada a la chilena y compraron dos botellas de vino. La mamá y los hijos conversaban animadamente, mientras el papá comía en silencio. De pronto, levantó su vaso y lo golpeó con un tenedor para llamar la atención. Sin embargo, el resto de la familia siguió comentando las fotos que el hijo menor mostraba en su celular. Eran de algún lugar en Perú, donde había pasado las últimas vacaciones. El padre golpeó el vaso con un ritmo más urgente y las acotaciones y chistes se detuvieron a los pocos compases del metal repicando contra el vidrio. El flujo de palabras se cortó y quedaron estancadas en un silencio expectante. El rostro del padre era en extremo serio, impropio de la relajada tarde de domingo que disfrutaban.

Quiero contarles algo, dijo el padre, un tanto nervioso. Es algo importante.

Había amasado la idea durante un año. Y después de muchas vacilaciones, había tomado la decisión a comienzos de la última semana de marzo. Desde entonces juntaba fuerzas para hablar ante su esposa y sus hijos. El lunes, la idea parecía una locura y una irresponsabilidad; para el sábado por la noche, no veía otro camino. Sin embargo, en ese instante en que enfrentaba a la familia, las palabras se desvanecían antes de salir por la boca. Tartamudeaba, balbuceaba, las frases se agolpaban una tras otra sin ningún sentido. No era un hombre de conversaciones ni mucho menos de discursos. Era más bien un tipo callado, uno que buscaba refugio en el silencio para pasar inadvertido. No era por timidez, como su familia y cercanos creían. Era miedo. Miedo a equivocar una palabra y evidenciar su ignorancia referente a casi todos los temas. Había abandonado el colegio en quinto básico y, desde entonces, sólo se había dedicado a trabajar. Primero para sobrevivir; después, para mantener a su familia a flote.  Sabía como matar y faenar un caballo, pero casi nunca entendía a qué se referían los titulares de los diarios.

Los hijos, incapaces de recordar una conversación de hombre a hombre con su padre, lo miraron extrañado ante la repentina necesidad de hablar y querer contar algo importante. Sin embargo, no supieron calibrar la seriedad del aviso y, mientras el hombre buscaba cómo controlar los nervios, convirtieron el instante en una broma. El menor de los hijos usó un tenedor como micrófono para montar una imaginaria y burda conferencia de prensa. Preguntaba y se reía. El mayor también se sumó.

¿Cuál es el estado de la economía en China?

¿Cómo solucionar el hambre en África, señor?

¿Asamblea constituyente?

Explíquenos el origen de los agujeros negros.

Los hijos se mataban de la risa y el padre sentía rabia por no poder responder a la broma. Fingió una sonrisa, pero el gesto salió amargo. Volvió a llenar el vaso con vino y se lo tomó al seco. No decía nada, pero ahí estaba el disgusto en cada facción de su cara.

No te enojes, viejo. Siempre tan amargado, ya me tienes aburrida, dijo la madre. Es sólo una broma. Ofreció más comida y los hijos se negaron conteniendo la risa.

El padre movió la cabeza de izquierda a derecha, haciendo un barrido a través de los integrantes de su familia. Los miró detenidamente. La madre pidió silencio, pero el hombre se guardó el anuncio y todo se diluyó entre bromas e indiferencia. No habló durante el resto del almuerzo. Los hijos insistían en que  hablara. No, no voy a decir nada, respondía el padre. Antes de pararse, se servió un poco más de vino y ensalada a la chilena. Dos sorbos y tres cucharadas le bastaron para acabar con el vino y la ensalada. Llevó el plato y el vaso a la cocina. Ahí bebió un poco más de vino. Abrió el cajón de los cubiertos y sacó el cuchillo carnicero. Recorrió el filo con un dedo y quiso cortárselo para ver un poco de sangre. No se atrevió y, en lugar de su dedo, rebanó una zanahoria y apuñaló una bolsa de azúcar. Recogió los trozos de zanahoria y los arrojó a la basura. Hizo lo mismo con el azúcar repartido sobre el mueble de cocina donde a veces de echaba a dormir el gato.

Regresó al living, se sentó a ver televisión, los hijos conversaban en la cocina sobre música. Atravesó los más de cien canales del cable pirata y se detuvo en un partido del Arsenal. Perdió el interés en el juego cuando se dio cuenta que no estaba Alexis Sánchez. Dejó la televisión encendida y fue al baño. Regresó con el pelo mojado y perfumado en colonia. Voy y vuelvo, dijo desde la puerta. Voy a comprar cigarros. Caminó hasta la Gran Avenida, se detuvo frente a un quiosco y preguntó la hora. Había llegado treinta minutos antes de lo acordado. Se compró una botella de agua mineral y se sentó en la cuneta a esperarla. Mientras tanto, ante una madre igual de sorprendida, los hijos se preguntaban cuándo había empezado a fumar el papá.

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