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Life was excellent in the bosom of Abraham, according to the report our grandfather periodically sent us from there, availing himself of a medium who lived on our street and who charged a small fortune for this service. But we all agreed that we would do anything to receive news from such a good and charming man. We paid in dollars. Our grandfather would go on at length about the description of the placewherehehadbeentakenthankstothousandsofgooddeeds.This hereisimmense,heusedtosay,veryexcited(immensitywasimportant for a man who had spent the greatest part of his existence confined to a miniscule room in his son’s house). It’s immense, one can walk for hoursanddays,andafterwardonecanrest,anditissosoft,soniceand warm.Thewarmthwasparticularlyimportanttomygrandfather,who suffered from rheumatism and especially from the cold. We used to ask what he did all day long; my cousin, a student of administration, wanted to know if there was some program of activities . No, answered my grandfather, there wasn’t any damn program (that he used obscenities, ah, that he did) or scheduled activities. He would spend his time (‘time’ wasn’t exactly the term, when dealing with eternity, but after all) conversing with other honorable souls, some of them even acquaintances, like the owner of the corner bar, who frequently had let him charge his drinks, and who had died tragically , run over by a public sanitation truck. At times angels passed by, chanting melodies, but my grandfather didn’t pay much attention: he didn’t like music. He preferred to walk. His excursions, however, were limited to the left breast, of the two, the least abundant. The right breast, larger, was so far away that my grandfather could barely see it (it’s true that his sight wasn’t the best; before dying he always spoke about changing his glasses, which he endedupnotdoing:theobsessionofpostponing,postponing).Inorder Moacyr Scliar In the Bosom of Abraham 246 moacyr scliar to get there he would have to descend that valley existing between the gigantic breasts (mountains, real mountains) and walk, walk without stopping. There was yet an additional difficulty. Like many Abraham had a hairy chest, a real thicket. My grandfather was afraid, on top of everything else, to unwillingly pull one of those gray hairs. That he would like to go to the other breast, that he would like to do. That’s where the widow Janeta was to be found. This upstanding woman, already dead for some time, had been his great love. They were from the same village in Eastern Europe; brought up together, they were inseparable, and everything indicated that they would come to be married, for the joy of their parents and everybody else’s. But when he was eighteen my grandfather decided to visit the city nearby; there he met a young woman, the daughter of a rich merchant. Without delay they got married; at the time many people said that my grandfather had acted out of monetary interest, but it couldn’t be so. Greedy he wasn’t, so much so that he often gave to charity; besides, how is one to explain his going to the bosom of Abraham? No, he wasn’t the perfidious person people said; he was a good man. In fact it was kindness that ruined him: everybody asked to borrow money from him; everybody exploited him. He and his wife ended up emigrating. They wanted to begin a new life in the New World, which is what they actually did, but he never forgot the sweet Janeta. He received sporadic news about her; on the day he learned about her death, he wept a great deal but consoled himself, saying: I’m going to meet up with her in the bosom of Abraham. Which is what could have happened. If not for it being so far. If not for the thicket of hairs. Not managing to reach his love, my grandfather kept on staring into the distance. There were many people in the right breast, millions of upstanding people; but my grandfather believed, at least that’s what he told us, he could see his Janeta there in the distance. As always she continues to be beautiful, he sighed. He wanted to communicate with her via the medium, in a kind of telepathic triangulation, but the man told us that it was impossible, unless we wanted to pay an extra fee, very high. We didn’t agree on this matter, however; we didn’t have anything against this Janeta, but...


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