A story from the World War III 1946 time-line
As Heart And Blood
Javier Gonzalez had lived all of his 27-year old life until now in the provincial town of Tarija in southern Bolivia, and had feared that he would probably have to live the rest of it there, too ... running his father's wine-business as everybody else expected of him. But what else was there to do that made sense?*
It was, after all, a privilege to be an heir to a moderately lucrative enterprise in a pitiful excuse for a country that had been beaten in every war it had fought (which his father, a retired colonel from the catastrophic Chaco War against Paraguay, often grumbled about - whether anyone listened or not); Bolivia - a country that had more people begging on the streets than street dogs, or so it sometimes seemed to Javier. No, nothing much would probably change, even though the world was in flames elsewhere.*
And Javier's ... secret ... life would probably not change either, including his inability to make it more than a fantasy, that is, without being discovered. That was not even an option. Not in a society where family was everything and men were expected to be … men. Just as he was expected to take over Los Viños de Valle, a prospect which made him both frustrated and angry at times, but no more so than he kept working in the administration and accounting for his father. But at least he would not have to think about economics and then, maybe ... one day, he would know what to do. To make something real.
Well, maybe that one day could conceivably come before too many years. There was, after all, always Renan ... Renan who worked in the bank at the Plaza and who, at least in Javier's most daring imaginations, shared his dreams for another ... life. A life that was not … expected.*
And Javier had something to pin his hopes on (when he did not chide himself for having them in the first place): It was well-known that Renan Fuentes was one of the most sought after bachelors in Tarija - wealthy family, respected, all that -* but he never seemed to have an interest in the girls offered to him, for the obligatory marriage. Even old Don Gonzales had tentatively inquired about Renan (whose father he knew well and who was 'respectable') and, well, Marina - Javier's youngest daughter. The girl needed a husband soon (and to get out of home!). That was for sure.*But Renan did not seem to be interested and so nothing came off it.
But nothing came off Javier's extremely discreet suggestions to Renan either. He tried whenever he was in the bank to get the salaries for the workers, to leave a remark that would somehow indicate a reason that the two should meet privately, since 'they got along so well' during business hours.*Etcetera. Etcetera. There had been many convoluted attempts by Javier at designing the conversation… but each time with no change. Renan seemingly saw right through him, with trained politeness – attractive politeness. But nothing changed.
Yes, the only thing that was sure in Tarija, and in Javier's life, was that nothing much was bound to change at all! And apparently he did not have the guts to change it, or the wherewithal, or both. Sometimes he felt cursed. Sometimes he hated himself. Sometimes he just took Virginia, his favorite horse, for a ride out onto the Great Chaco plains that stretched beyond Tarija and all the way into Paraguay and northern Argentina – in order to stay away for days at a time. And to try to forget that he had to come back.*
But then the war in Europe erupted again and his grandfather's Spain was suddenly threatened and everybody in the family began talking (his family was very good at that) about what ought to be done... and what a terrible, terrible situation it was that nobody, not even the recently-so-mighty United States and England seemed to be able to do anything.*
That's when Javier felt deep inside that he knew what to be done: He would volunteer.*He would go to Spain and fight.
TO BE CONTINUED