Could they have killed Juanito, the same as the other one? …
As he needed to get news of the absentee, he went to the port of Antofagasta, where the old Chilean had many friends.
It was enough for him to speak with one of them to convince himself that Juanito had not died and was at this time in full enjoyment of his health and his vagabond happiness. The same person began to laugh when “the cuyano” told him about the old man’s audacious march through the Puna de Atacama. Juanito no longer had legs for such terrestrial adventures, and for that reason he had undoubtedly preferred to embark heading south on one of the Chilean steamers that make the Pacific stops. According to the latest news, he and his guitar were wandering around Valparaíso, much to the delight of the sailors who frequent the gay houses.
Rosalindo regretted that Valparaíso was not closer, to interrupt the cuecas sung by the old man with a stab equal to the one that had made him flee from Salta … The sacrifice of one hundred and fifty pesos was useless, and the deceased would come to disturb his nights again with that mute presence that seemed to absorb his life force, leaving him the next day stunned by an inexplicable ailment.
The dead woman faithfully attended this appointment that he himself had given in his imagination.
Every night she waited for him on the road, between the café and his lodging, then slipping into it, despite the fact that the gaucho hurried to close the door, bumping into her heels. Impossible to get rid of his presence and that of that child, whose dead face continued to frighten him through his closed eyelids! …
“I’ll have to go myself,” he told himself desperately. I must make that trip, even though I feel sick and weak. It is precise … it is precise.
But he delayed the moment of departure, due to physical weakness and the attraction of a country in which he earned money freely and did not feel persecuted by men.
He became familiar with the terrible vision that awaited him every night. When by chance he was less drunk and the woman in the cloak and her child were slow to introduce themselves, the gaucho experienced some disappointment.
One night, to his great surprise, he did not see the deceased and her little one. He lay awake in his bed until dawn, waiting in vain for the terrible visit.