The Secret of the Yolk

Marga wakes up in the morning and has her coffee and toast. She sits down and reads the paper: the United States invaded Afghanistan and killed Bin Laden. Americans celebrate at the squares. She contemplates the news. She gets up and goes to pick up her mail, as she does every morning. She grabs an envelope. She is surprised by how much it weighs. It wasn't just a letter. She goes back in. She tears the envelope and takes out a book. She thinks it's weird. She hadn't ordered anything. She looks at the envelope again. No information on the sender. She stands there for a minute, looking at the book and imagining who could have sent it to her. She studies the cover. The title reads “The Secret of the Yolk by Marga Bomtempo.” An author who has the same name as me? she thinks. And how does she know I even exist? She looks through the book. Published in 2013. She sits down. She can't understand what's going on... Then she realizes there is a letter inside the book:


This is Marga, that is, this is you, in the future. I have so many things to tell you, but I don't have much time. That's why I'll only say what's crucial: You'll soon realize you have the gift of writing. There's only one thing I really want to ask of you. You'll meet a young editor and will be mesmerized by him. Do not get involved! Do not accept his invitations! He'll pass by your life so fleetingly, but leave very deep scars!

Marga, that's the only thing I wanted to ask you. Do not get involved with Corolário. If there's anything I could avoid in my life, anything I could change in my past, it would be all this suffering I feel day after day. After my relationship with him ended, I forgot how to write. I never found inspiration again. Sometimes I try to write, but only silly things come out. I have no talent left. At least I can still exercise some self-criticism and you're the only one who can give me my life back.

Yeah, Marga, I was only given one chance to communicate with you. And, in order to prove that my words are authentic, I'm sending you the numbers that will win the lottery. Buy a lottery ticket on New Year's Eve. It'll be the largest prize ever paid. Enjoy the money as much as you can, but never forget my request: One choice will change the entire trajectory of your life! Avoid it, Marga! Avoid it with all your strength, girl! I beg you! “The Secret of the Yolk” will be your first best-seller. It will be published in 2013 and sell one million copies. This book will receive critical acclaim. It's about time you start thinking about it.

Marga Bomtempo, December 15, 2040 

Even though Marga was in disbelief, she bought the lottery ticket on New Year's Eve and used those numbers. She could hardly believe it when she watched the numbers being drawn live on TV. She was the newest millionaire in the country. She, and she alone, got all six numbers.

The first thing Marga wanted to do was go back to the office. Right after the holidays, there she was, as early as she could get there. She stared at her boss who, as usual, didn't even say “good morning.”

“Marga, did you finish that spreadsheet I told you to work on?”

“Go eat shit!”

“What did you say, Marga? I didn't hear it.”

“I'll repeat it ve-ry slow-ly: Go eat shit, Mr. Rodrigo.”

She turned around, left the office, went down the elevator and experienced an immense feeling of freedom.

Soon she moved to an apartment at Avenida Atlântica. She selected exquisite furniture and took a trip to France, coming back home with her head full of ideas. Now that she had time and the ocean for inspiration right out of her balcony, she decided to finally put to practice that old dream of becoming a writer. She spent months hunched over a large table in the living room, typing her novel. 

When she was done, a friend introduced her to an editor by the name of José. They spent hours working and he invited out to dinner the following day. Marga was ecstatic about that young man. He was handsome, polite, elegant, and had eyes she couldn't stop thinking about. The truth is that she could hardly sleep that night and spent the entire day waiting for their date. She selected a black dress and a delicate perfume. She got an appointment at the hairdresser. She spent the afternoon applying some cream to her eyes to hide the black circles under her eyes, since she had stayed up all night.

Then she decided to call and confirm the time they should meet. When she reached for the business car he had given her, that name jumped at her: José Corolálio. It sent shivers down her spine. So this is the man she'll fall madly in love with to the point she'll completely lose her self-esteem? She sat down on the couch, perplexed. She kept thinking about it. Would it be fair to give up a love for being afraid of experiencing it? But it wasn't fear. It was the certainly of unhappiness.

Marga decides to call. She makes up an excuse and cancels the date. She walks to the balcony. Suddenly, the ocean isn't as vast or as beautiful. It's just the ocean. She goes back to her room and looks at herself in the mirror. She realizes she's not pretty and she didn't deserve that love story anyway. He'll find a more beautiful, interesting, and intelligent woman, because she's not worth it. She's silly, stupid, a loser. But, what about the book? Ah, I'm not gonna believe this crap about being talented. I'm not even talented enough to fry an egg. I'm not gonna make a fool of myself and show my manuscript to any editor.

She walks to the computer and deletes the file. She spends the rest of the day in bed. She's not hungry or thirty. She feels something she cannot describe. It was like that day she was robbed at the beach. She felt someone had stolen something from her. But this time it was worse; it was something she could never get back. She closes her eyes. She doesn't sleep. She remains there. She doesn't want to be aware of life outside. Marga doesn't realize it, but time flies by outside her window. It is as if she had a cloud covering her eyes. It is as if she were wide awake while sleeping.

When she finally decides to check what time it is, she sees it's December 10, 2040. She looks at herself in the mirror. She's a woman without a past, present, or future. She's a shadow. Marga thinks that, if she could write a letter to herself in the past, she would never do it.

GLAUCIA FORTES was born in São Paulo, but moved to Rio de Janeiro when she was two―and has been living there since then.

When she was a child, she enjoyed listening to stories her grandmother would tell about the highlights of her life, and that was how Glaucia fell in love with reading and writing.

She teaches Portuguese Language and Brazilian Literature and loves the art of creating plots, characters, and their mysteries.

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