Pursuit of Happiness



Automatic traslation from the original story in Spanish. Not checked manually

Roberto, from his earliest childhood, had always imagined his adult life full of happiness. He had been born at 00:00:01 on January 1, 2000. Everyone had told him that this was an omen of good luck. Maybe that’s why he knew he should be happy.

When his parents, during a period of their lives, went through certain financial hardships and saw them full of worries and anguish, he decided that he would train himself as best as possible to earn as much money as possible.

He worked hard in school, also in high school, and finally, at university, he pursued a career as a systems engineer. In 2025 he had already gotten a good job, in which very shortly after they began to recognize his good work and his prodigious inventiveness.

A year later, he had a position of responsibility and managed a team of ten people and, in a short time, he managed to rise to the highest level one could aspire to within the company and his salary was truly brutal. He felt privileged. And he didn’t lack anything, but he didn’t feel the longed-for happiness.

He thought it was time to look for someone with whom he could share his life. Maybe with that, he thought, he would feel happy.

In addition to earning a lot of money, he was quite attractive, so it wasn’t difficult for him to find girls to start a relationship with, but a few days after starting a relationship, he realized that he didn’t fit in with the person next to him. This generated a greater feeling of unhappiness in him and he threw himself fully into his work.

His parents began to worry, they didn’t see him enjoying life or anything. Then his mother spoke to his father and suggested that they go to his town during the holidays. A small town lost by the hand of God, which was almost without inhabitants and to which they themselves had not been for years.


-Who knows…? —answered the man. —Maybe there I’ll disconnect and gain a new perspective on life.

—Or you might be bored out of your mind, but you don’t lose anything by trying. —she answered him.

—But how do we approach it? If we tell him to come to town, he will think that he has better things to do.

—Don’t worry, I’ll ask him as a favour, with the excuse that, since I’m very proud of him, I want to introduce him to my remaining acquaintances there. And if he wants, after a few days he leaves… to see what happens.

At night he told Roberto that, although he thought it would be incredibly boring, he didn’t know how to deny his mother the pleasure.

The holidays arrived and Roberto, in the flashy latest BMW model, loaded his parents and all of his luggage and, somewhat saddened, headed towards Almazorilla de Abajo.

The next day, after having slept in the dilapidated hostel in a nearby town, they headed towards the town. As soon as they arrived, the first thing they went to see was Uncle Paco. In reality, he wasn’t family, but to everyone he was Uncle Paco.

They knocked on the door and to the surprise of Felisa, Roberto’s mother, instead of Uncle Paco’s cracked voice, a velvety female voice sounded, which from afar said: —Who is it?

—I’m Felisa, I come with my husband Jesús and my son Roberto to see Uncle Paco.

The door opened and a charming girl in her early twenties let them in.

-Come in, please. My grandfather is not feeling too well. He’s in bed, now I’ll go see if he’s up to seeing you. Maybe it will do you good to cheer yourself up.

After a few moments the girl appears again and invites them to go to her grandfather’s room.

Roberto then says: —If the man is not feeling well, it does not seem like the best time for you to introduce me. Maybe it’s better that I don’t go in. Whatever you prefer mom.

Felisa thinks about it for a moment and she nods her head saying: —Depending on how he is, I’ll ask him if he’s in the mood…

—Okay mom.

“I’ll accompany you,” says the young woman and immediately turning to Roberto, she tells him, “I’ll be right back and if you feel like it, I’ll give you something to snack on.”

-Do not bother. —Roberto responds with a charming smile. The young woman blushes slightly.

After a moment, the girl returns and addresses the young man again: “Shall I give you something?” she asks him with a beautiful smile on her lips.

Roberto looks at her and takes a few moments to react. —No, don’t worry… you don’t mind if I call you, do you? By the way, I’m Roberto, and what’s your name?

—Elena —responds totally embarrassed.

“A pleasure, Elena,” he responds as he approaches her and kisses her on the cheek.

Completely blushing, she kisses him back while she manages to stammer, “Likewise.”

Half a year later, they are both married and expecting their first child.

For the first time, Roberto feels something resembling happiness, although it is not how he had imagined it. He realizes that he hardly has time to be with her and he won’t have time to be with her son either. But he knows that he must continue working hard to give them everything they deserve.

The time passes and with-it Roberto’s professional achievements increase. In mid-2028, the company proposes a new challenge: develop an Artificial Intelligence system capable of creating software without human help.

A year and a half later, Roberto, proud and satisfied with his creation, presents his AI program to the company’s management.

The development that he has carried out practically works by simply telling him what the software is needed for. Then the system, in a matter of minutes, delivers a fully functional program. The members of the company’s board of directors are amazed and crazy with joy.

Roberto tells them that there are still some issues to be resolved and that soon the system will be able to learn by itself and search for the data and languages it needs to be able to develop the most sophisticated and innovative programs.

In 2032, it is already fully operational and capable of carrying out work in minutes that would take a software developer, months or even years. The system that Roberto has achieved is so perfect that half a year later, the company decides that he can do without his services.

Roberto arrives at his house devastated and tells Elena what happened and she tells him: —Don’t worry Roberto, I’m sure it will be positive for you.

—How do you want it to be positive? I’m going to stop earning what I used to earn! Also, now with AI, things are getting more difficult.

—With the compensation they have given you, we can live peacefully for several years and I am sure that even working as a freelancer you will earn even more…

Months pass and the reality is that Roberto cannot find work, nor any freelance assignments. Every time he feels more depressed and unhappy. However, the young man thinks, Elena is getting more cheerful every day, or at least that’s what she pretends so that she doesn’t depress me even more.

The following week Elena receives an email from some lawyers, where they inform her of the death of her grandfather and that she is her heir. She feels terrible, it had been a long time since they last went to see him. The poor man was all alone… she suddenly had an idea.

“Roberto,” she says to her husband, “we have to go to town.” My grandfather has died and apparently, I am his heir. The inheritance is the least important thing, I don’t think he had much, but I would like to visit the cemetery where he is buried. It seems that he died fifteen days ago, but no neighbour had our phone number to notify us.

The young man, although he is not in much of a mood to travel, agrees immediately. He knows that Uncle Paco was important to his wife and more than half a year had passed since they last saw him.

Also, why not? It was a perfect opportunity to forget about everything for a few days and enjoy his wife and his son, whom he had named Francisco in honour of Uncle Paco.

Once they are in Almazorilla de Abajo, Elena begins to implement the plan that she has hatched. She begins to take care of the inheritance and with this excuse she tells her husband: —We will have to stay here for a while, until I solve all the things about the inheritance.

—But what if I get a job? —Roberto questions.

—You can do it from here. We will buy a computer and ask for an Internet connection to be installed. In fact, it doesn’t matter where you work from. I will also work online.

A few days later, a supplier for her grandfather shows up with a shipment of seeds, fertilizer and some chickens, rabbits and a couple of pigs.

Elena receives him and tells him, (just as they had previously agreed with him): —I feel very bad, but my grandfather has died and I am not interested in any of this.

—Look, — (she responds according to the script that they had prepared together) —This is not my concern. All this is paid for (Elena had paid it in advance when she spoke to him), I’ll leave it here and they’ll wake up.

—But listen! And what do I do with the animals?

—Put them on sale. Meanwhile, I have also brought them feed for several months, if you don’t want them to die, feed them.

The man begins to unload everything in the middle of the land, by the way, quite large that belongs to the farm, under the astonished gaze of Roberto and the apparent surprise of Elena.

The point is that Elena convinces Roberto that while they find a buyer, they should take care of the animals. They can’t be left to die.

After a few days, Roberto has acquired great skill in dealing with those affectionate animals that, with his gaze and attitude, thank him for the food and water that he provides them daily.

Meanwhile, Elena has told her that, while she finds a buyer for them, they will begin to plant the land. Grandfather had left it cleared and with furrows for planting and it was going to be easy for them to do. (In fact, she had ordered through the supplier that they do it).

A few months later, when the crop began to sprout, Roberto looked at it with satisfaction and felt better than he had never felt.

Nobody talked about leaving again, both Roberto and Elena had found their place in the rural world, as she thought could happen.

Roberto was completely happy. He had time for his wife and his son. He was doing something that he was passionate about and, in addition, they earned enough to live.

Then he realized that his parents had not been unhappy, what was simply happening is that life sometimes brings bitterness and sadness, but this does not presuppose being unhappy. He also saw clearly that his search for happiness, through money, had been nothing more than a fallacy… happiness is simply living and accepting what life throws at us without leaving aside what is really important: the people we love. and the time to enjoy them and life itself.

Pursuit of Happiness – Short stories series – Copyright ©Montserrat Valls and Juan Genovés

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