Five hours with Mario

Five hours with Mario

Miguel Delibes
Five hours with Mario
Suddenly, at the age of forty-nine, he dies from a heart attack by Mario Kalyado. After him remains a large family – the wife of Carmen and five children. Accepting condolences and then, sitting awake at the body of her husband, Carmen silently leads an endless conversation with him. From this inner monologue the story of acquaintance and relationship between Mario and Carmen is gradually emerging, their – so different – characters and views on life – the whole story of the family, the story of two people who lived side by side for many years, but were always strangers to each other.
Carmen grew up in a wealthy bourgeois family, where there was decent prosperity and several servants. My father worked in the illustrations department of a large conservative newspaper, and my mother led the house. Mario and Carmen get acquainted right after the war – the memory of her is still very fresh. Mario on the side of the Republicans killed two brothers, and the Carmen family – openly pro-Newarkian. The political views of the future relatives worry Carmen’s parents, but they still decide to give the daughter for Mario, staking on his abilities, which, in their opinion, should provide the youngster with a brilliant university future.
However, as it turns out, Mario is not going to make a career. He is quite satisfied with the modest position of the teacher and the ability to produce

the newspaper El Correo, his favorite child. In his spare time, he argues hoarsely with friends who dream, like Mario, about the reconstruction of the world on a more just basis, and writes the philosophical novel “The Castle on the Sand.” This book is completely incomprehensible to Carmen and her father, whose opinion the woman considers indisputable, besides such books do not bring money to the family. Mario is alien to any conventions: to the outrage of his wife, he goes to work on a bicycle and does not suffer at all in contrast to Carmen because of the lack of a car; leads acquaintance with someone horrible and completely does not recognize the right people, is surprisingly inattentive to his clothes,
Carmen, on the contrary, is a slave of conventions. The object of her most serious experiences is the absence of silver in the house; therefore, when she receives guests, she serves only cold snacks, so that she does not discover what she perceives as her disgrace. She appreciates in people only the outer – the manner of behavior, the right tie, the ability to say pleasant in time or to keep silent when it is profitable. Admiration of it is caused only by those who managed to make a career – no matter in what way. Mario does not meet these requirements and causes only a condescendingly mocking attitude of his wife. She does not understand his openness and straightforwardness, his honesty and his inability to cope, all of this in the system of life values ​​of Carmen is one of great shortcomings. Sitting at the coffin of her husband, the woman remembers how many times in his life he missed the opportunity to advance in the service, He was careless with the right people; reproaches him for the fact that he refused to sign a fake protocol and thereby made his enemies, left without an apartment. She reproaches her husband mentally for not wanting to share her thoughts, disdainful of charity, believing that the poor should not be given chocolates but give what belongs to them by right; this was always written by the newspaper El Correo, which was released by Mario and which Carmen could not stand. Neither the newspaper, nor the books of Mario, nor his friends were ever close to her. It is not surprising that she does not understand the causes of her husband’s depression, and, contrary to the doctor’s insistence, refers to his condition as a blessing. Carmen does not know what to answer her husband when he constantly repeats: “I’m lonely.” Mentally, she reproaches him for this and, of course, feels offended,
In her endless monologue at the coffin, Carmen always argues with her husband, reproaches him, expresses old secret insults, which she may never have told him during her lifetime. They come from very different families and from different social backgrounds, and have lived for a number of years have not smoothed these differences. For Carmen, her father remains an ideal, whom she considers a great writer, although in reality he was a middle-aged journalist and a very conservative one. Mother, who endlessly uttered banalities, a woman perceives as a fount of worldly wisdom. But she treats family and friends of her husband with open contempt: if her own family embodies for her moral foundations, traditional, old Spain, then close Mario sympathized with Republicans, which Carmen is ashamed of. She does not endure either his sister Charo, or the daughter-in-law of Encarna, the widow of one of the deceased brothers Mario. She is incomprehensible – which means she despises – the dedication with which Encarna took care of Mario’s paralyzed and collapsed father: Carmen sees this only as a show and does not suspect that the woman is completely sincere, just as she sincerely laments Mario. Similarly, Carmen and Mario’s outward calm at his mother’s funeral, she does not feel great grief for his behavior, as she appreciates only the outward manifestations.
Very different, Carmen and Mario have different attitudes towards the upbringing of children: what seems to be a significant wife does not bother her husband at all, and vice versa. So, Mario takes very close to heart the fact that his daughter Menchu ​​is poorly educated, and Carmen, who sees the sole purpose of a woman in marriage, does not bother at all, since she considers teaching a meaningless occupation. She does not approve of the excessive enthusiasm of her eldest son, named after her father, studying. Mario, Jr. for her the same mystery as Mario the eldest. Carmen does not understand why the son is standing at the coffin of his father in a blue sweater, without bothering to change into a black suit, why he does not care what kind of funeral will be held. However, she already firmly decided that now, when she remains the mistress of the house, those who will live with her under one roof,
In such memories and reflections Carmen spends the night, at the tomb of her husband. Before her eyes, their whole life passes – the life of very different and foreign people, who have not become close for many years, lived side by side. In the morning Mario comes; he tries to distract his mother from heavy thoughts, but she does not understand him just as she did not understand Mario the eldest. And only when the mother asked if he was sleeping, the young man answers that he could not fall asleep, because he always thought that he was drowning in the mattress, Carmen remembers that this is what her husband said during the bouts of depression. And she becomes frightened. But her voices distract her. – the acquaintances are going to: soon they must take out the coffin. In the last moments of her farewell to her husband, Carmen thinks only of one thing: a black sweater is too tight for her figure and it is not very decent.


Five hours with Mario