Today I translated this piece: El embotellador de Tiempo, por Daniel Badagnani
I hope you enjoy it!
The Time bottler by Daniel Badagnani
As a kid, Martín lived obsessed with Time. He could feel it flowing, unbearably, in his flesh. It enraged him to live drowned by it and to be unable to touch it nor know its true face. That is why one day he decided to bottle it.
This was the kind of fixation that made Martín a hopeless loner, because the intention of bottling Time is not something one can talk about during recess. Neither is that thing that happened to him when the sun sunk behind the eucalyptus when he was sitting on a certain log in his neighborhood park, occasion he attended whenever he could convince him mom that no, he had no homework due. The sun beams reached him though the filter of the moving curtain of the eucalyptus dragging with them their powerful fragrance, and he felt the world was a cryptogram and that that moment was, in a way he could not phantom, the key that would make everything apparent. Of course as a kid he would have not been able to name that with those words, in fact he did not name it with any and the raw feeling invaded him and burnt inside (words sometimes work as handles on a brazier). I could mention many more of Martín’s quirks but I don’t want to wander off topic, because I am interested in talking about his vicissitudes as a Time bottler.
Martín convinced himself that if he bottled Time, its essence would be revealed to him. Any engineer could have told him he was putting the cart before the horses, but I suspect he would have not listened; when one wants to bottle Time one doesn’t really want to know anything about science and technology, even if one believes the opposite (Martín did not know what science was, he was only aware of the epic tales in outreach magazines, and that was why he called “science” to what others would have called “magic”). For months he tried to imagine artifacts and procedures, which all soon showed to be ridiculous and innocuous. He was forced to change the point of view. He finally decided to improvise a real machine, which grew as he found trinkets that seemd adequate to him (the repair shop on the corner was a usual provider). Only when the machine seemed to him complex enough for it to do something interesting did he make the decision to try it. Not that he had an expected result in mind, he was hoping that what would happen would give him the key to go on. “Turning on” the device meant putting two wires that came out of it into the wall socket, one on each hole, wearing supermarket bags as gloves because he was well aware that was dangerous. He did. That the result did not in any way involve bottled Time jumped out. A sudden blue sparkle jumped as well, the house fuse box blew, and Martín himself jumped back, by will of the blue sparkle despite the precautions and an ache in his joints accompanied him for hours. It also produced the freaked out scream from his mother and the paternal ban from any further experimenting with electricity, brought down with the sternness scares induce in parents.
Time gradually put Martín though that process of denying oneself many call “maturing”, an soon he would remember those experiences with slightly ashamed indulgence. Little by little he learned to speak the language of others, he molded himself to the expectations of others and got used to only asking himself “useful” questions. He went through the joys and sorrows one goes through in life and which I will not tell because anyone can find them around, in novels or tango lyrics. What is important to tell is that bordering his 40 he met Analía and knew he had been calling “fall in love” to processes that did not deserve such a honor. Analía was extremely beautiful, of course, and enjoyed things with the uncensored sensuality of children. For Martín, the most beautiful thing was that he did not feel any shyness to be naked with her, and I am not talking about the absence of clothes covering skin.
Analía told him on the phone she had got Drambuie, that liquor she found delicious without possible comparisons she had told him so much about, and Martín had a sudden happy inspiration: he invited her to try the delicacy sitting in the log at the park with the eucalyptus, there in his childhood neighborhood. When they got there the sun was high, and what always happens happened: chat makes the world fade around them and it startles them when they realize the sun is setting. It is Martín who notices, because suddenly there is again that feeling that seems to have cut a hole through the years and taken lodging uncorrupted in the middle of his chest, burning it. He is about to tell Analía, but just at that moment she remembers the bottle she carries in her backpack and takes it out together wit two small glasses, with the naughty smile of someone up to mischief. He can’t say anything more because it is beautiful to watch her pour delicately and enjoy the subtle viscosity of Drambuie settling in the glass. The sun sets fire to Analía’s hair and reveals an unexpected amber sheerness in the loosest ones. Both take the first sip simultaneously, and the flavors explode in Martín’s mouth, like the colors between the trees do and Analía’s dashing smile, which shines on its own. All the sunsets fit inside Analía’s enamored gaze. Suddenly the sensation is not burning any more, there is a certainty hitting him almost physically; he is left in a half smile of relaxed lips and teary eyes. Analía does not need words to ask him, a subtle change in her eyebrows is enough, and Martín will answer with the little voice him emotions spare: – I’m bottling Time.