TE19 Iberian Adventure

Sara Mesa

The Headmaster wants to be part of that process.

When the boy is at his side, he’s overcome with a strange feeling of contentment. He makes a habit of bringing him to his office now and then.

“Oh Gerasim, my Gerasim,” he greets him.

The Headmaster reclines in his armchair, asks him to read from a new newspaper or book. He closes his eyes as Ignacio recites. Sometimes he dozes off, even snores once in a while. Sometimes, as compensation, the Headmaster gives himgifts. Small, valuable objects that don’t make the other children jealous, but which they will steal, nonetheless: a feather, a magnifying glass, small wooden carvings, trading cards, a compass, gifts from another time that return the Headmaster to his own childhood. He calls him Gerasim. Ignacio doesn’t know why, but neither does he dare to ask. He doesn’t understand any of what’s going on; he listens to the Headmaster speak, his brief, metaphysical digressions about theworld. Ignacio thinks maybe this is all okay, he folds himself up at the Headmaster’s feet like a little dog and lets him gently stroke his head. He isn’t the protector Ignacio was seeking, but he resigns himself to the idea.

One day, the Headmaster tries to explain.

“There’s a book, a very famous Russian book, that tells the story of a rich man who becomes ill and is about to die. This man had everything in life: money, power, fame, a lovely family, splendid home. But in his illness, he begins to feel very alone. He becomes 86

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