Cuentos Books

Publicado en enero 2014 |

92

Lecturas que ayudan

Un cuento de la escritora colombiana Luz Stella Mejía

por Luz Stella Mejía

No es un sitio que invita a entrar. Es espacioso, demasiado para mi gusto, grande como un galpón, frío y feo. Pero está lleno de libros, películas, discos viejos y CDs. Enormes ventanales como vitrinas dejan ver desde afuera el interior perpetuamente iluminado con las gélidas luces fluorescentes, que desnudan de misterio al local. El piso de baldosas nunca está completamente limpio y las paredes, donde se dejan ver, son de un amarillo sucio. Así es McKey Libros Usados: nada acogedor. Sin embargo, es uno de mis lugares favoritos.
Juan viene cada viernes por la tarde. La primera vez que lo vi pensé que era del equipo de limpieza de la librería: inmigrante de algún país del sur, de baja estatura y barriga cervecera. Su cara de mestizo entre andaluz y azteca delata sus orígenes, y su bigote escaso, recortado al estilo latin lover los confirma. Cuando sonríe, o sea siempre, muestra sus dos dientes enmarcados en oro con sendos brillantes en el medio. No se sabe si sonríe para mostrarlos o si se los mandó dorar precisamente para realzar su sonrisa permanente. Ya lo tengo pillado y sé que entrará con su pasito corto y rápido, directo a la sección de clásicos. Le gusta la buena literatura. Y sé que la lee porque alguna vez, curiosa, se lo pregunté. Pensaba que a lo mejor venía a recoger un libro para alguien cercano, tal vez estaba tratando de conquistar a alguna lectora, tal vez era para su madre, enferma en cama, o quizá su jefe le pedía este recado como parte de su trabajo. Pero no, el libro siempre es para él. Le gusta leer.

Algunas veces nos hemos sentado a conversar en compañía de un café. Me gusta escuchar su historia, trágica pero llena de esperanza, como la de cualquier inmigrante. Juan actúa con esa tozudez inocente, llena de recursos, con que los latinos se mueven en este medio hostil. No se dejan quebrar a pesar de todo. Cuenta, sin pretensiones, que su turno en el trabajo de construcción es de ocho horas y luego, por las noches, empaca comidas preparadas en un servicio de banquetes a domicilio. Los fines de semana se para, junto con otros ilegales, en el parqueadero de 7 Eleven, a esperar que alguien los contrate para algún trabajo inmediato. Vive en un cuarto arrendado, con su mujer y dos de sus hijos, los más pequeños que han ido naciendo aquí, pues los cuatro mayores, los que nacieron allá en el sur, se quedaron con la abuela.
La señora vive resentida pues se vino detrás de Juan, después de que él viniera y empezara a mandarle dinero. Dólares que se inflan en la frontera y alimentan sueños falsos. Cuando llegó a este país y vio que los dólares no compraban lo mismo y que se ganaban con un sudor más amargo que el de allá, María se llenó de tristeza y de rabia, con Juan como su causa y objetivo.
—Con tantos jefes y mi mujer, ya se imaginará mi purgatorio.—
Brilla su diente con su sonrisa de queja, pero no alcanza a esconder una pequeña sombra que oscurece su mirada por un segundo. Y es que de sus jefes no se sabe cuál es el más explotador. Lo único que le hace fijar sus labios en un gesto triste es cuando habla del trabajo de niñera de su mujer. Los niños que cuida son los hijos malcriados de un diplomático de Suramérica. Su jefe es una mujer de mediana edad que trajo de su país el clasismo ridículo y su particular manera de ver el servicio doméstico como una actividad indigna, que a duras penas merece remuneración. Y es que además de tener que ver por los niños, la señora ha ido imponiéndole oficios, de manera que tiene que hacerse cargo de todas las labores de limpieza, orden y cocina. Y no hay día que no la humille o la maltrate.
—En fin — suspira profundo para dar por terminada su letanía de pesares. A pesar de su exceso de trabajo, su amarga vida marital y los usuales desplantes que como latino ilegal recibe a diario, Juan no pierde su buen humor y encuentra tiempo para leer.

Hoy Juan entró al local con paso dubitativo, lo que llamó mi atención al momento. Miró a un lado y al otro, con un gesto rápido. Sus ojillos oscuros se movían presurosos y, lo más extraño, su sonrisa inexistente hacía que su rostro pareciera ajeno. Buscó la lista de secciones y después de estudiarla un momento se dirigió al fondo, adonde nunca se había aventurado. Yo no pude evitar seguirlo con disimulo. Cuando llegó al último corredor, miró por encima del hombro, como si quisiera comprobar que nadie le seguía. Empezó a buscar algo tocando los lomos de los libros con su índice tembloroso, parpadeando, mientras movía sus labios en silencio, leyendo los títulos. Por su frente fruncida corrían finas gotas de sudor que las luces hacían brillar con un halo blancuzco sobre su rostro enrojecido. Al fin su gesto se distendió y sus labios quisieron esbozar una sonrisa que no lograron. Fuera lo que fuera que estaba buscando, lo había encontrado. Se alejó del estante apretando el libro contra el pecho, mirando una y otra vez en todas direcciones, y se sentó en una butaca medio escondida a ojear el libro. Yo no pude evitar la curiosidad y, dando un rodeo, me introduje en la sección sorprendiéndome al notar que era de manuales de autoayuda. Intrigada busqué el hueco del libro faltante a ver si conseguía alguna pista que me indicara en qué andaba Juan y el porqué de su comportamiento. Pero nada me decían los títulos de los libros que flanqueaban el hueco: Manual del Perfecto Artesano y Manual del Predicador.

No pudiendo hacer más por el momento volví al sillón cerca de la entrada a seguir leyendo, pero no podía concentrarme pensando en Juan. En esas lo vi. Venía caminando con afán hacia la salida. Su rostro estaba aún serio y sudoroso pero distendido. Sus manos temblaban ligeramente y sus ojos miraban a lado y lado, como buscando una salida sin obstáculos. Cuando pasó a mi lado sentí un olor de animal atrapado. Una vez cruzó la puerta, me levanté rápidamente y fui a la sección aquella a encontrar una respuesta. El hueco estaba ocupado ahora por un libro mal puesto, aún pegajoso de sudor, en cuyo lomo se leía: Manual del Perfecto Asesino: Cómo deshacerse del cadáver.

IMG_0150Luz Stella Mejía nació en Manizales, sobre la falda de la montaña en la zona cafetera de Colombia. Creció en el altiplano Cundiboyacense, a 2,700 metros sobre el nivel del mar y vivió y trabajó como bióloga marina en Santa Marta, en la costa Caribe de su país. Vive hace ocho años en Estados Unidos, dedicada a los libros –lee como loca y trabaja en una biblioteca-, la familia y sus cuentos. Su oficio de escritora ha sido constante, pero apenas ahora está empezando a darse a conocer en su blog elsuresamerica.weebly.com


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