In Paraguay, we resided on a secluded estate, distant from the commotion and commotion, adorned with abundant foliage akin to a heavenly haven. The proprietor of this grand estate, Yarigianno, a septuagenarian widower, dwells alone within its vast expanse. Several unoccupied chambers are rented out to tourists, ensuring a bustling atmosphere during the peak tourist season and alleviating any concerns of solitude.
Renowned for his culinary finesse, Arijanno graciously prepared dinners for all the sojourners. Rumor has it that his gastronomic repertoire encompasses an array of delectable dishes that never fail to captivate the palate.
Yarigianno, with his own hands, erected a lattice framework in the courtyard and cultivated gourds. As the sun descended, we strolled amidst the courtyard’s misty dusk, beholding the alluring gourds, their captivating contours reminiscent of graceful women swaying on swings.
Envisioning Yarigianno’s prowess in utilizing gourds as exquisite ingredients to tantalize my taste buds, the ravenous creatures in my stomach clamored to emerge, disregarding decorum.
Risheng, however, dampened my enthusiasm as he poured cold water on my anticipation. He expressed, “Gourds must be harvested in their youth to truly savor their succulence; these gourds, alas, are too mature and oversized to be palatable.” Although I sympathized, I also stumbled upon an intriguing detail: each gourd bore an engraved name. Even more peculiar was the identical name etched upon every gourd—Adelina, Adelina, Adelina… Could this be a jest perpetrated by the visitors?
Over dinner, I divulged this mysterious enigma to Yarigianno, who, to my astonishment, burst into laughter, declaring, “No, no, no! This is no jest orchestrated by tourists! These gourds bear the indelible marks carved by myself and my kin!”
In our mesmerized gazes, he commenced narrating an enthralling tale. The gourd in question was initially sown by his beloved wife before her untimely demise. The year she succumbed to illness, it fortuitously yielded its inaugural fruit, prompting Arijanno to etch his wife’s name, “Adelina,” upon it.
He reminisced, “My wife and I crossed paths at tender age sixteen, exchanged vows at the dawn of our twenties, and journeyed hand in hand for half a century. Her departure has left a void I struggle to fathom. Carving her name onto the gourd, it became a receptacle for the wind’s caress and the dew’s nectar. With each passing day, it flourished, mirroring the burgeoning size of the engraved names. Whenever I returned to the courtyard, casting my gaze upon these gourds, I could almost sense the ebb and flow of her breath. Subsequently, whenever gourds sprouted upon the vines, my cherished grandsons aided me in inscribing Adelina’s name upon them, filling the air with jubilant clamor, as if her voice permeated the entire courtyard. When my grandsons frolic beneath the trellis, they too feel her gentle presence, as though she bows her head to engage in heartfelt conversations. They revel together, evoking a profound warmth within.”
Upon reaching maturity, Yarigianno would fashion the gourds into containers. As he shared this, he arose and made his way to the kitchen, retrieving a beautifully crafted gourd vessel, proclaiming, “Behold, Adelina accompanies me in my culinary endeavors each day!”
Then, he unveiled an exquisite “gourd bottle,” adorned with a slender leather strap encircling its waist. Yarigianno elucidated, “During my hikes, this faithful companion doubles as a receptacle or a water flask.”
Adelina adored partaking in yerba mate, and Yarigianno employed the gourd bottle to contain her cherished mate tea, relishing its consumption akin to sipping the ambrosial elixir of love, transmuting nostalgic yearnings into an immortal eternity.
Whenever the zephyr caressed the gourd vines, Yarigianno understood that Adelina had not departed. She forever lingers, an eternal presence.