The Answer



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

That Sunday noon, like many other Sunday noon, Roberto was 45 years old as he headed home to eat with his family. He had been preparing orders at his business. It’s the price he paid for being self-employed.

For many years he had fought hard to achieve a certain status and, although it was true that they lived comfortably, it was also true that at this point in the game it was already very clear that he would not get rich.

He walked with his head down and meditatively immersed in his thoughts. He wondered if he had made a mistake. His job almost prevented her from enjoying his family.

In fact, his heightened sense of responsibility had always led her to strive, perhaps too much, to achieve his goals. He had fought hard to get his studies, then he started working and quickly realized that no matter how good a salary he had, it would not fulfil his aspirations.

He decided to set up on his own. With great efforts and putting in more hours than a clock, he managed to get his business back on track. He felt good, there were many who tried and few managed to survive. Despite this, he very soon understood that, even if he could live with a certain ease, he would never become rich.

Although he and his family were not bothered by the hardships, he could not feel satisfied. He thought about everything that he had always wanted and that he would never achieve and that prevented him from being happy.

She loved his wife and his two children and all of them, at least for the short time they could share, seemed to love him. However, this was not enough for him to feel that feeling of fulfilment that, without a doubt, having a much higher economic level would have given him.

Having good cars, a sensational tower and, why not, a small yacht or being able to travel to remote places on the planet without having to think about how much they spent, was for him synonymous with happiness.

Suddenly a sharp scream of panic brought him out of his reverie and the image of a very small child, about two years old, stepping onto the road in the middle of a barrage of cars, filled his retina.

Without even thinking about it, he jumped after the child, while he thought why the hell people have stopped holding children’s hands… maybe they think he’s more progressive?

He heard, while protecting the little boy with his body, the wild screeching of a car’s brakes, followed by a strong impact on his back.

Pained, lying on the ground, he smiled when he saw the little boy unharmed. While the mother, the one who had had to scream for not holding her son’s hand, was running to the scene of the accident.

She took the little boy in her arms and then knelt next to Roberto, crying uncontrollably while thanking him and asking him how he was.

Minutes later an ambulance arrived and the paramedic almost forced Roberto to get into it. In fact, although in pain he had gotten up on his own feet.

On the way to the hospital, with effort, he grabbed his cell phone and explained what happened to his wife. She is accompanied by his two teenage children, she arrived at the emergency room shortly after the ambulance had dropped him off there.

About three hours later, they called Roberto’s companions over the public address system. His wife and children went to the office they had indicated. A completely distraught woman, with a child in her arms, joined them on the road and said: “her relative has saved my son’s life. Will it bother you if you let me see you for a moment too?”

Natalia, that was Roberto’s wife’s name, nodded and told him: “yes, no problem, but now I prefer to go in alone so the doctor can tell me how she is.” She told the children to wait in the waiting room and went into the office.

After a few minutes Natalia appeared smiling. Roberto was fine, very bruised, but fine. He did not have anything broken nor had they found any head injuries in the CT scan, therefore, they were going to discharge him.

About ten minutes passed when Roberto, limping, appeared through the door and hugged his wife and his children. Behind them, the little boy who caused the accident had fallen asleep in his mother’s arms. She approached Roberto, with tears in her eyes she thanked him and hugged him.

The little boy woke up and smiled at Roberto, while he struggled to get his mother to put him down. She put him down and, this time, she took his hand; She said goodbye to Roberto and his family, while she once again thanked him for her feat. Roberto, despite how sore he was, felt enormous fullness and an explosive sense of joy in his heart. He analysed these sensations and finally found the answer. Happiness was not found in possessions, but in those actions that make you feel good about yourself… he knew that, from that moment on, he would often feel happy.

The Answer – Short stories series – Copyright ©Montserrat Valls and Juan Genovés

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