#379: Thoughts at the pool - 2015-08-30


As the boys played football, the girls enjoyed the pool and chatted between each other. The teacher, unaware of what his graduated students did, played billiards with some of his relatives. Besides them, there was no one else in the center of the "estate"; the summer season lasted between January 2 and the week before Easter, and the employees would start to do their work by Monday, December 18.

Even though they still called it "estate", the lands that belonged to Don Damián (the teacher's grandfather) were tiny in comparison to the dimensions of what commonly was called "estancia" in the Southern Cone. A mere 25 hectares of land, including forest, livestock land and a small vineyard, with would likely be divided between the heirs upon Don Damián's death — he was 73 years old in 1995. In 1987, after a particularly bad year, he offered the farm's workers retirement with an important severance package, as Don Damián would take that chance to retire himself from the activity. Little by little, Don Damián was selling his livestock in order to dedicate himself to rural tourism, but only as a pastime, without any long-term ambitions.

There have been many talks between the heirs about the future of the "estate". Even though they all set roots elsewhere, and there wasn't much interest between the sons and daughters, some grandchildren, including the teacher, liked the country life and would be interested in keeping the "estate" within the family. The issues are mainly economic, because the interested grandchildren don't have enough money to buy it, and the sons and daughters of Don Damián want to sell it and divide up the inheritance between each other.

Even though Rosa slept through most of the trip to Chanco, the stories that the teacher told during the trip still resounded in her ears, including the story of the "estate" and the issue of its inheritance. While she listened to that story, she remembered her great-great-grandmother's plot, and thought of the amount of time that these terrains stayed abandoned. Now she was at the pool. She noted that there wasn't a lot of ornamental gardening around, that the buildings at the center were in desperate need of some painting, and that the center was surrounded by nothing but forest. A lone horse broke the monotony of the landscape, running without a rider from one side to another, without getting near the center of the "estate".


- " Check! " - exclaimed Li Xiaoshang, who played chess with Marcela Kahn since over an hour ago.

- " You left me without a way out again, Li! I give up! "

- " Let's go to the pool for a while. We have played enough, don't you think so? "

- " Go alone, I'll go see the boys play football! "

- " ... You like football, Marcela? Because I don't find it interesting, I'd rather play basketball. "

- " I like both sports... but I'm afraid that I'm not good at either. "

- " If you want, I can teach you how to play basketball. I belong to a very skilled team, we're called «Los Tucos». "

- " I would be quite grateful. "

Rosa wasn't in the mood of getting out of the pool, but was also interested in seeing the boys play. She thought it was the last time in quite a while that she would be able to interact with Rafael, and Rosa felt she needed to try to recover the lost ground. The troubles she had to pass eighth grade kept her quite depressed through most of the year, and Rosa felt it was the cause of Rafael growing apart from her; let's face it, it's difficult to win someone's interest if you're always down...

- " Rosa! You must help me! "

Rosa was scared by the sudden appearance of Emilia, who interrupted Rosa's thoughts in a quite desperate manner.

- " Huh? What's going on, Emilia? "

- " Two years ago, you were quite fat! Look at yourself now, you're so...! How did you do it! I need you to tell me your secret! "

- " Emilia. Truth is... it was very difficult for me... "

- " I don't care! I'm willing to do anything to get rid of... this! "

Emilia told Rosa what she meant by grabbing the excess fat in her belly.

- " Hey, but you were so excited by coming to the pool. Why are you so ashamed now? I don't think it's so much of an issue. "

- " It's easy for you to say so! You, Catalina, Marcela, Sigrid... you're so...! And Javiera, my God! How it's possible for such a huge beast of a woman to keep a flat stomach!? How the heck do you all do that! Tell me! "

- " Well... I'll tell you. But first, please let me tell you that it wasn't by my own volition. In fact, I wouldn't have done what I had to do. "

- " Who told you that you had to lose weight? Rafael? "

- " No, my sister. One say she pointed to my belly and said to me: «Unacceptable». "

Then Rosa told Emilia the story of how Rosa stopped being fat.


— ... How much time were you going through that? — asked Emilia.

— ... I think I started the week after the end of the school year, every morning... until late January...

— Wow... that explains why you now have such a tiny waist... and I bet that your legs are all muscle too.

— Well, yeah, my legs are quite strong now. Maybe because I had to climb so many hills...

— ... Look, I think I'll take things easier. Your exercising routine sounds too extreme for someone like me. To be honest, I'm not interested in getting great legs like that or anything, all that I want is to lose weight in my waist...

— ... Which, according to my sister, is the most difficult of this all. I don't know, I think you should go talk with her...

— ... Thanks... but no, thanks.

Emilia threw herself to the pool and swam to the other side. By that time, the boys just finished playing ball and were arriving, intending to go to the pool.

— Hey, wait! — Li Xiaoshang stopped them. — Before entering the pool you must take a shower, said the teacher! You won't come all sweaty to get the pool dirty!

— That's right! — added Rafael — The showers are this way. Follow me.

Some of the boys were already on their way to the showers, but most were going straight to the pool. They reluctantly accepted to shower, understanding that they had to do so out of respect to the girls.