"His Only True Love"

Si os gustó el corto de mis alumnas, quizás os apetezca conocer la historia completa. Mis alumnas se basaron en mi historia His Only True Love, tomada de mi libro Learning English Vocabulary and Grammar Through Short Stories que sirvió de texto para la asignatura de Lexicografía. El libro está ya agotado, pero pronto aparecerá una nueva versión del mismo ampliada y puesta al día, publicada por Verticebooks, con el título Short Stories to Help You Increase Your English. Aquí tenéis la historia:


He was waiting for her. She was coming to see him tonight, but it was still early, so, to while away the time, he began to think about the past...The first time he fell in love he was still a child. He remembered it quite well because he was eight then, and he had gone down with that strange fever that almost carried him off. It had been an afternoon when his temperature was down a bit that she had come to play with him. It was the first time he had seen this pretty little girl, with curly golden hair, blue eyes and an angelic smile on her face. In his innocence, he had wanted her to stay, to go on playing with her the whole night, but his mother had not allowed it, and the following day when his fever had miraculously disappeared, he ran out of the house and asked everybody about her, but nobody knew who she was or where she lived. Precocious child that he was, he had lots of girlfriends in his childhood, but the memory of that little blonde girl with curly hair and blue eyes accompanied him for a long, long time...
He smiled as the curious contrast struck him: his first love when he was eight, and now at seventy...For a brief moment the thought of ridicule crossed his mind, but love has no age, he concluded, and went on remembering...The second time he thought he was in love he had been twenty. It was an evening when, just discharged from the army, he was driving his father’s red convertible on his way to the outskirts where he was meeting some friends to celebrate. Though it was already dark, he saw her clearly outlined at the side of the road, thumbing a lift wearing a miniskirt that revealed a generous part of her well-formed thighs, her long blond hair blowing in the wind. He braked his car and picked her up, and all the time she sat at his side he couldn’t help casting passionate looks at her mocking blue eyes, her insinuating smile, or her provocative low-necked blouse, and though he was an expert driver, it must have been in the midst of one of these sideways glances, on a bend, that he didn’t see the other car coming at him...When he woke up in hospital, the first thing he did was ask about her, the blue-eyed blonde with the miniskirt and the low-necked blouse, but nobody knew anything about his mysterious road companion. They had brought him alone, in a state of shock and with several ribs broken, and he ought to be glad he was not dead. Again the love of his life had brushed past him, and again it had slipped by...Later on he went to University for some time and had hundreds of dates, and a lot of fun. But that brief encounter on the road had marked him for ever, and the memory of that blue-eyed blonde with the mocking smile had never quite left him...
Curiously enough, the woman he was waiting for tonight was brown. A brunette with deep, jet-black eyes, but equally beautiful. His heart missed a beat. But, what was the matter with him? He was as nervous as a schoolboy on his first date. Well, it was understandable, because so much was at stake. At seventy, this was surely his last chance, and he couldn’t afford to let it go. He looked around him and was satisfied. Everything was ready. The lights down low, discreet music in the background, and he alone in the house: for once he had given the night off to the nurse who had so efficiently looked after him for six months. He looked at his watch: a little over an hour to wait, so he went back to his recollections...
After that fleeting encounter on the road, his life went on quite normally. He inherited his father’s business and became a prosperous merchant who had to travel around quite often, and it was on one of these journeys, to the Near East, that he thought he had found at last the woman of his dreams. It was on a plane, and he remembered it perfectly well because the plane was hijacked and it was a near thing it didn’t all end up in tragedy. In the middle of the flight, the hijackers threatened the passengers and the crew with a machine gun and handgrenades, and in the turmoil that ensued he once looked across the aisle and saw her. A smart, clever-looking redhead, her legs crossed nonchalantly, looking disdainfully at the terrorist leader, with her beautiful hazel eyes, without a trace of fear, as though she was sure that nothing would happen there. All through the ordeal, he could not take his eyes off this woman who attracted him like a magnet. Once he thought she had smiled at him, inviting him to go and sit at her side, but he was a coward and dared not move from his seat. The terrorists finally ordered the pilot to take the plane to Baghdad, and when everything had ended happily, and he was in the airport lounge waiting for another plane to take him to his destination, he looked out eagerly for her, but couldn’t find her anywhere. It was as if she had vanished into thin air. It seemed to be his fate to find the woman of his life over and over again, and always let her inevitably slip through his fingers...Of course, there were many other women in his life, he married and divorced twice, had intimate friends and lovers, but somehow he never forgot the redhead on the plane...
Absorbed in his dreams of the past, he was startled when, looking again at his watch, he found that it was only a few minutes to the appointed time. Again a doubt assailed him, would she come, or had it all been a cruel joke? He had good reasons for distrust: he was so old and decrepit, and she, so young and beautiful! But she had sounded sincere to him at the hospital a week ago, when she had promised that she would come to see him in seven days, that is tonight. Oh, God! How he desired to see her again, hug her, make her his. He felt burning in his hardened veins the fire of his long pent-up passion. He was really excited, and to calm his nerves he helped himself to a drop of whisky, and cast a last look around the room. It was full of costly ornaments, dumb witnesses of a long life travelling the world: his priceless English china, his charming Russian folk dolls, his ivory chess set and the pearl of his collection, the Van Gogh, bought in London after a hard-fought auction at Sotheby’s. He would willingly give it all to make her keep her date, to hold her in his arms, to spend a night with her...
He looked at the living room doorway and there she was. So beautiful, her long black hair loose, her skin of alabaster, her breasts pointed, her waist slender, wearing a tight-fitting black dress that set off her sculptural figure, her fleshy red lips tempting...Full of desire, he took a step towards her, and suddenly, when he saw her more closely, in a flash of lucidity, he understood it all: the beautiful brunette who was urgently calling him to her side was the hazel-eyed redhead on the plane, the coquettish blue-eyed blonde on the road, the curly golden-haired little girl of his infancy. What a fool he had been! How blind! Why hadn’t he realized before? They were all one and the same woman, the woman he had always loved, always longed for, the one he had believed he would find but had always slipped through his fingers. Well, this time he would not let it happen, this time she would be his for ever. He looked up and saw that the beautiful brunette, whose name he didn’t even know, serene, majestic, smiling, was looking at him with her deep, dark eyes that seemed to ask, are you sure you wish to make me yours? Do you truly want to kiss me? Without the slightest trace of doubt, he took her gently in his arms at last and kissed her...It was a long, long kiss...at once sweet and bitter, passionate and chaste, ardent and cold...yes, cold, because the serene, sculptural beauty’s cold lips froze his heart for ever.

reading comprehension questions

a.- Who do you think the narrator of the story is?
b.- Who did the old man live with?
c.- Describe the different girls that appear in the story.
d.- What did they all have in common?
e.- Make a list with the expensive items of ornament in the old man’s living room
f.- Where had he got his Van Gogh?
g.- Why wasn’t the old man sure that his date would come?
h.- Who do you think his mysterious date was and why?

7 comentarios :

  1. Me alegro de que te guste. La verdad es que no todo el mundo la comprende, pero mis alumnas la interpretaron a la perfección.

  2. Este comentario ha sido eliminado por el autor.

  3. This is one of my favourites short stories. I read it a long time ago, when I was about twenty, and I think (now that I am thirty-five) that it can shed a different light in every different moment of your life. Truly appalling!!! Congratulations! (Hope that I didn't make neither spelling nor grammar mistake). Cheers!

    16 de mayo de 2013 14:59

  4. Thank you. No mistakes. Please, send me one of your own wonderful stories from your book "La gabardina y otros cuentos chinos."

    1. Well, there's a little mistake after all: it should be 'favourite' and not 'favourites', since 'favourite' is an adjective. Sorry, I can't help it: 'Once a teacher, always a teacher'.