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Hey, happy times! The Buendía house is all finished and ready to go, and Úrsula decides to celebrate with a party. She decorates and orders a pianola, which is basically a player piano. (You put in metal tubes with songs encoded onto them and it plays the songs by itself.)
The pianola comes with Pietro Crespi, the dude who's supposed to put it together, show everyone how it works, and teach them how to dance. Now that's service.
Pietro Crespi is hot stuff, but he's super proper and well-behaved. He puts the thing together and then teaches Rebeca and Amaranta how to dance without touching them. Then he leaves. (Okay, all of you who've ever read a book or seen a movie, raise your hand if you smell trouble.)
The invitations are sent out to Macondo's founding families, but while the party prep is going on, José Arcadio Buendía decides to see if he can find the hidden piano player inside the pianola… by taking it apart. Ugh, come on, Dad.
Melquíades does his best to fix it, and it at least makes sounds. The young people party all night, and soon Pietro Crespi comes back to fix it for real. Uh oh.
Rebeca loses it. She cries, rocks in her rocking chair, sucks her thumb, and even secretly goes back to eating dirt and limestone. Wow, it's really on, huh?
One day, Amparo Moscote shows up. She's one of the magistrate's daughters, so there's a bunch of ill will, but she's super nice and polite, and Úrsula really likes her.
Amparo slips a letter from Pietro Crespi to Rebeca when no one is looking, and just like that, Rebeca is all better.
Aureliano, meanwhile, is totally psyched to see Amparo because he thinks it means that Remedios is going to come over, too, one day. And she does!
Aureliano is floored and speechless and gives her one of the little golden fish that he makes.
He is more madly in love with her than ever and his thoughts are only about her. Aw, sweet. But again, he's twenty-ish, and she's nine. It's creepy, in a Jacob and Reneesmee kind of way.
Pietro Crespi sends letters regularly, but one day the mailman doesn't come and Rebeca gorges on dirt to the point of getting crazy sick.
To figure out what's wrong, Úrsula pries open her trunk and finds all the letters.
Aureliano goes out drinking with his buddies and gets so wasted that he passes out. When he comes to, he's at Pilar Ternera's house. Just like that, they have sex. Then he cries and cries and cries, and tells Pilar all about Remedios. She promises to see what she can do.
As soon as Amaranta figures out the whole Rebeca-Pietro Crespi situation, she also gets super-sick. When Úrsula pries open her trunk, she finds a bunch of letters meant for Pietro but never sent. She's in love with him, too! See, told you there'd be trouble.
Pilar Ternera tells Aureliano that Remedios has decided to marry him. You know how good nine-year-old girls are at making lifelong decisions. But whatever, in this universe, this is apparently all good.
He tells his parents, and José Arcadio Buendía goes over to the Moscote house for a formal visit. There is some confusion about which sister Aureliano is actually talking about.
Remedios hasn't even hit puberty yet, but Aureliano is happy to wait until she starts her period. Yeah, we know… ugh. Just go with it.
Everything seems to be OK, when suddenly Melquíades dies. Again.
This time he drowns after losing his eyesight, hearing, and most of his grasp on reality. But not before filling up his little room with a bazillion manuscripts that no one can figure out how to read.
Melquíades is the first person to be buried in Macondo.
During the nine days of wake, Amaranta tells Pietro Crespi that she loves him. He brushes her off like a silly kid. (Remember, she is a lot younger than Rebeca.) She doesn't take this well and threatens to stop Pietro and Rebeca from getting married.
Úrsula quickly makes plans to get Amaranta out of the way during the wedding by taking her on a trip.
Pilar tells Rebeca that she won't be happy until her parents are buried – and only then does everyone remember the bag of bones. The bag is found, and the bones are buried next to Melquíades.
Pilar starts coming to the house again and informs Aureliano one day that she is pregnant. He takes it in stride.
José Arcadio Buendía starts becoming obsessed again, this time with the mechanical toys Pietro Crespi keeps bringing to the house.
One night, he again sees the ghost of Prudencio Aguilar, and they talk and reminisce all night long.
The next day, José Arcadio Buendía starts to go bonkers. It's moving and disturbing. He is stuck in a kind of Groundhog Dayscenario, where he doesn't believe that each day is a new one. He can't seem to find any proof that time is elapsing.
Three days later, he destroys the workshops in the house.
Four guys restrain him and tie him to a tree in the yard. He now speaks in some kind of crazy language and has no idea who he or anyone else is.
This is the way he is when Úrsula and Amaranta return.
Úrsula leaves him tied at the waist, and they build him a little hut for protection from the sun and rain.