Cuento de navidad

No me cayó bien la comida de noche buena. Se lo dije a mi mujer por la mañana y me crucé a la plaza con el perro. Ella daba vueltas en la cocina tratando de encontrar lugar para las ensaladeras grandes y los bowls de acrílico que solamente se usan cuando vienen visitas. Los chicos seguían durmiendo aunque seguramente tenían incrustadas en alguna parte del cuerpo piezas de los juguetes que no habían querido soltar a la hora de irse a la cama. Se habían dormido abrazados a muñecos de plástico y autitos en medio de un llanto de agotamiento.

El perro no cruza solo, me espera y salta delante de mí, haciendo fiesta y firuletes hasta que llego a la plaza y me quedo parado junto al poste del nomenclador al que le falta el letrero con el nombre de la plaza. No duró nada el cartel, estaba cuando inauguraron el barrio y desapareció apenas nos mudamos. Ahí quedó el caño blanco con un tornillo en la punta, sin la chapa rectangular con la leyenda “Plazoleta Ale Flores” bajo el dibujo de un arbolito. Al principio yo usaba el caño para atar la correa del perro porque no sabía cómo manejarlo, con el tiempo me di cuenta de que no se escapaba y me obedecía cuando lo llamaba así que empecé a dejarlo suelto. Como ahora, se dedicaba a husmear por los alrededores, a correr los teros, las lechuzas, los chimangos y a cavar unos pozos que intento tapar con los pies antes de irnos. Varias veces lo vi lanzarse a la carrera, en un pique repentino y profundísimo, hacia el descampado del frente, y luego buscar entre los matorrales durante largos minutos. Salvo por las dos manzanas en las que construyeron las casas y un galpón nuevo que funciona como iglesia evangélica, el resto del paisaje se mantiene como estaba cuando llegamos. Caballos pastan en todos los terrenos lindantes y también, para mi sorpresa, viven liebres. Esa era la presa que perseguía el perro. Una tarde las vi. Eran dos, grises, como gemelas; muy temprano en la mañana estaban en la placita cuando salimos. El perro probó su increíble velocidad de mestizo cruzado con galgo en algún punto de su genealogía. Pero fue en vano, en un parpadeo las liebres habían cruzado la calle y desaparecido entre el pasto alto dejándome una fugaz imagen de patas traseras en el aire y una suerte de línea gris, como un humito, en la retina.
Ahora el perro cava, como siempre, junto a las hamacas a las que vengo con los chicos. Lo reto porque levanta tierra y esta vez, de espaldas a mí, sentado en una hamaca, hay un hombre de camisa clara, pantalón de vestir gris y zapatos negros. Protesto por el perro, me disculpo y sigo de largo pero ya es tarde. El hombre quiere charla. Pregunta si el barrio es nuevo, si hace mucho que vivimos acá, si lo hizo el sindicato, si la cuota es pesada. Respondo, amable, parco, y él espera que le pregunte. No lo hago. Igual cuenta. Vino a la iglesia que inauguraron al frente, en realidad se mudaron porque la otra les quedó chica; viene siempre, él antes era católico, el pastor le cambió la vida. Me pide que me imagine cómo se la cambió y que tenga en cuenta que él tomaba. Le pregunto si hay misa, si es ahora a las nueve. “No”, me dice, “misa no, dan la palabra, cantamos, yo vine antes porque mi señora es cursillista, venimos de Gigena”, me cuenta, “viene mucha gente de los pueblos. En Gigena va a abrir otra iglesia y mi señora va a ser asistente del pastor”. Intento seguir, el perro cava, enloquecido, me alejo un poco pero no me sigue. El hombre no me larga, arremete con sus preguntas, ahora quiere saber si creo.

Se me cruzan las imágenes de la cena de noche buena porque el novio de mi hermana había usado varias veces esa palabra. Yo agregaba adobo al lechón, ponía más brazas en la chapa, transpiraba, y él me daba de beber del jarrito. “No creemos en Dios”, me decía. “No creemos en la familia. Y en la revolución… a esta altura”. No sé por qué me toma como confidente, alguien a quien mostrarle lo que llamo la cajita. La cajita es la verdad de cada uno, más bien su íntimo desconcierto, la conciencia desdichada que va de un desengaño a otro y que vive como un gusano espasmódico guardado ahí adentro. Todos la tienen, todas la guardan celosamente, y a veces la muestran. El novio de mi hermana estudió filosofía y dejó, militó en el peronismo y se desencantó, ahora está en la lucha contra los agrotóxicos. En la noche buena abrió su cajita. “Con estos gorilones no se puede hablar”, me decía, señalando al resto de los parientes. “No sé, cómo lo ves vos, yo a esta altura… ¿vos en qué creés?, ¿bah, creés…?”
Le dije que sí a mí cuñado, y al tipo de la iglesia también. Usé la palabra justicia, “en lo que falta”, dije, algo así. “Y sí”, dijo mi cuñado, “hay que creer”. Lo mismo que el marido de la ayudante del pastor, quien también asintió cuando le dije que sí, que creía. Él cree en la justicia de Dios, en la venida. “El Mesías está cerca”, dijo, “ya está en Brasil, hay que esperar”. Esa parte me produjo una mezcla de terror e indignación. Reaccioné como pude, intenté sacudir al imbécil de alguna manera. Entonces le dije que esta era zona de quintas, que esto era el fin del mundo hace veinte años. “Acá tiraron el cuerpo de un chico”, le digo, “¿conoce el caso?, dos policías chocaron a un nene de cinco años y lo mataron, enterraron el cuerpo acá, la madre lo buscó quince años hasta que un hombre que pasaba encontró los huesos, algunos huesos, se hizo la autopsia, era el nene, Ale, Ale Flores, acá había un cartel”, le digo. “Lo mató la policía y no dijeron nada. Años”. El tipo balbucea algo sobre Dios, su infinita bondad y el cielo.

No sé qué busca el perro, está más ofuscado que yo, pero cuando cruzo la calle me sigue como siempre. Entro y repito que la comida me cayó mal, siempre lo mismo para las fiestas.
Después, sin ganas, almorzamos las sobras y los chicos juegan un rato con los juguetes nuevos pero enseguida se cansan. Mucho más tarde, en la mitad de la noche, mi esposa me da la mano medio dormida como suele hacerlo y me despierta, o fue cuando yo estaba por dormirme y escuché que la chiquita se quejaba, no recuerdo bien. Le había contado el encuentro con el tipo de la iglesia y mi bronca, y habíamos charlado de la noche buena y la navidad, de la exageración de los regalos, de la situación del país, de mi cuñado, de todo. Ella dijo: “Bueno, hay que seguir”, en realidad no sé bien si dijo “hay que seguir”, “hay que esperar”, o las dos cosas. Creo que yo le dije, o lo pensé, no recuerdo bien tampoco, que sí, que había que hacerlo por ellos, que cualquier otra actitud implicaba darle el gusto a los de siempre. Me di cuenta de que yo también había abierto mi cajita y había mostrado su contenido: un pequeño gusano verde, enclenque y movedizo, pero no me avergoncé porque ella ya lo conocía, además seguramente ya estaba otra vez dormida. El perro también dormía, como siempre al pie de la cama. Temblaba en sueños. A lo mejor cavaba buscando huesos, a lo mejor corría tras las liebres. Me dormí deseando que no las alcanzara.

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