Despite the rain and its large raindrops, almost like shards of a mirror, I notice, a little disturbed, that no one is getting wet. So I start to give proper attention to the new thing, which is nothing but the rain and the dry people, and I find out that the greatest news is the fact that no one is noticing either of these things, not even the two together.
Then the sun comes back, and its intense shine indicates the vapor of men. This is when people start to change spectrally, overflowing their contours: the body mass melts and, speaking less intuitively than technically, everyone acquires the beauty of the flame. It’s at this moment that the sun, a watery Onetti’s sun, regains the citric plenitude of a sunset, and people are hungry and phosphorescent.
In semiotics, Peirce defines such fluid images as indexes, like shadows and silhouettes in their somewhat liquid and inexact nature.
These are the first remarks of the narrator, while still ambling between the institutes of Physics and Mathematics.
For him, a PhD in semiotics, nothing really has caught his attention as much as this since he saw the news on the Internet about a star that had died millions of light-years before his perception. And then, it is as if a new depth opened itself at the moment and it sufficed him to escape from that quite firm structure that held him in the rather vertiginous external sac of reality. So the rain of mirrors, failing to hit people’s body mass, puts in doubt the network of relations between man and the rain-itself, an I and thou for Martin Buber.
However, the plasmatic effect, expression coined by Langmuir, leaves the narrator lost in a type of blindness close to a brutal astigmatism: the transposition of contours produces an overflowing of primary colors, a kind of effect of dilution that would happen if the solvent exceeded the solute in every mixture. Well, note: there comes the rain of mirrors, and the water dissolves what men have concentrated. Water so pure that it is invisible. It doesn’t wet, it only reflects. So people become smudged, and the discomfort seems to come from the fact that the diffused silhouettes do not impose themselves by suggestion, but by outrage. The smudges are being formed from the same colors that the bodies had when they still had bodies. While looking at his hands, it becomes evident to the narrator that he withholds neither color nor volume: he is just another scrawl, walking from the classroom to his office, at campus I of the University. And all that represents to him a confortable adjustment to the vacuum of each person and an unceasing escape of each line that makes people very different from one another.
He almost reaches his office, and he already notices that the human leakage expands with the liminal failure of the contours. Liminal, for soon other professors will walk past the narrator and say different things coming from the same smudge that joins them in Julia Kristeva’s discursive co-authorship.
The narrator makes a draft of the first hypothesis in a notepad as soon as he closes himself in his office and goes to the window, from where he sees the human dye in which people mix and fade to an almost identical tone. The viewing angle allows him a glimpse, revealing that the space is not plane, except for the imaginary Euclidian perpendicular plane of the Arts. On the contrary: from every viewing angle, the impressions of the image change, a phantasmagoric sensation, under the effect of the incidence of a ray of light. Hence his hypothesis, almost a certainty, that the smudges reproduce volumetric dilatation, marching from the center of the human representations to external reality following color grading. People who are close to each other form a tissue of almost invisible, but meaningful and mixed, interrelations; they become a gender, something inevitable, neither ugly nor beautiful, and scary. Nonetheless they present themselves as being incredibly happy, giving, according Georges Perec, the gentle and suffocating impression of being without muscles or bones. After this draft, what is left to the narrator is to understand the reason why the general smudge suffices to add euphoria to normality.
While getting his car, he already notices the human deluge that covers the roads. People become light, fluid as the part of the air sung by Paez. Then, the narrator doesn’t fit in his car and drives among human swellings and Bakhtin’s polyphonic racket.
At home, everything is centered on the preparations for his sister-in-law’s wedding. The children are in their maternal grandmother’s apartment, where they’re going to spend the night, and the housekeeper comes to ask whether the narrator would like some coffee. The maid’s diligent smudge, such a color of light soil, almost solid in the center, starts to become light in a Calvin-like way to the extreme until it fades out, evincing the discretion of the woman who helps him in his home. And the housekeeper turns to the narrator and asks again, now already mixing colors such as the wind that touches the light grains on a darker surface, and obviously the professor says yes, he would like a coffee, thank you. Then the housekeeper fluctuates in a Chagall picture. The narrator smudges at the table, a very tired smudge, and follows the sketch that lights the fire and becomes bare to the point that it permits one to observe everything it does, the whims, in a devoted transparency that the narrator could only imagine before.
Afterwards, the narrator has a shower beyond the shower, for he already feels himself in three parts of the house, naked and, more than exposed, in the third nature of Paracelsus, subtle between spirit and body. He’s already melded with the housekeeper, who sorts out for him, in the room next door, the clothes for the wedding. And, before the narrator leaves the bathroom, he notices, at the back door, the presence of his wife, who invades him. And, when he is kissed, by the bedroom door, the narrator admittedly feels repugnance, because his wife, despite being his wife, starts becoming too seductive and paradoxically less and less his. (It is evident that others have touched her.) So both of them act with a new oddness, of a private freedom, which is nothing else but a passage from Machiavelli: before that occupation, they lived, despite being married, with respect to their own laws. Now she comes into the bathroom and, while part of him has a shower, part of her gets dressed. Immersed in all that, they already do the dishes with the housekeeper downstairs and also feel her in the shower, and also in the bedroom. And, in his own thoughts, in their own thoughts, the narrator already imagine himself making love to her, and her, and sees himself in anticipation in the reality that makes them totally permeable, smothered or drowned, indefinitely dead. And they find out that there is no way of firing the housekeeper anymore.
Despite all this, they leave to the church, as the best man and the maid of honor. And they drag part of the housekeeper to the corner, where she disappears, diluted in the yeast of primary colors, Lévi-Strauss’s new elementary kinship.
At the church, everybody feels the same heat. Christ does not make any distinction: all of them are brothers without secrets and not only the bride and groom get married, but also all the guests, including the priest, who also says the collective yes. There they already feel they are at the party and the narrator imagines with everyone else that the wedding will be the first one on whose honeymoon the guests also participate in. However, as they cut the cake, the narrator also takes the guests home, where, overtaken in the future, like Cortázar’s, everyone from every house will fit where he and his wife do. And now he doesn’t feel repulsed by his wife anymore, for it is as though she didn’t exist or coexist, and the things of the Christian world could be realized in the idea of man and woman as one. And the narrator smiles, surrendering with no repulsion, because he also doesn’t feel repulsed of himself and he can come-masturbating in a common mass that engulfs everything, without frontiers between one person and another. Consequently, the haunted ideas that insist on apparitions do not beset him because the narrator accepts/brings-into-acceptance the expected self-indulgence of human thought, opposed to inertia and stagnation. He understands/is-understood that there is a lot to be understood about the expansion of man so contrary to humanism, for example whether it is an expansion of the subject or a withdrawal of the world. The last hypothesis causes the drowning of the individual, in the sense of Lacan, but the narrator cannot concentrate anymore on the thesis nor on the antithesis, for he already feels together with his children and mother-in-law. And he eventually accepts/brings-into-acceptance that the rain, that rain, a rain so rainy that [rain]3, didn’t change anything in the world for him, because we only became the nucleus of the stars again, and, already feeling difficulties to think on his own, he feels like many and forget about yourselves, being used to the eternal flow of Bergson apud Borges, which at the end of the day is nothing but a metaphor of the deluge.
Translation by Lilia Loman