Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta lady. Mostrar todas las entradas
Mostrando las entradas con la etiqueta lady. Mostrar todas las entradas

viernes, 29 de enero de 2016

The other son

   Lady Rosamund was seated in one of the top balconies, just in front of the stage. She was tired, as half of the show had already passed. At age seventy-five, she was too tired to watch a whole opera, even if it was her dear Anthony that did the music. Only for him she had walked out of her house, she would never do that for anyone else. The last time she had been really out was the time of her husband’s death, over ten years ago. Actually, it had been that moment in her life that made her decide to stay at home and just take care of things there.

 After all, she had many things to do still, for a woman her age and status. Her husband had left their son John the biggest company called Alesia, which imported tobacco from the Americas. Her son was living there, in a plantation in Cuba where he got to manage the business first hand. Lady Rosamund had received the management of other parts of the enterprise and smaller business around town such as a grocery store and two stalls in the market. She was in charge of asking for that rent and talking to her tenants, making sure everything was ok.

 She had been happy for a while, so she didn’t really mind staying at home and getting things done from there. Moomoo the dog would keep her company and she had a whole garden to take care of, as she had decided not to pay a gardener anymore as she felt she could do a much better job. That turned out to be not exactly true, but she didn’t care. She liked all of those mornings, when the sun wasn’t too bright, when she would sing to her roses and tulips and just be there by herself.

 Her daughter Josephine visited her every other day and read her the letters that John sent from the other side of the world. They learned that way that he had gotten married and that he was also expecting his first child. Josephine had two of her own already, which she sometimes brought to her mother but not every time because she saw how rowdy they would get and how old her mother was getting. She didn’t want her to feel ill so she decided not to do it too often.

 It was almost always a subject of them to talk about Anthony. He was always somewhere in Europe or even elsewhere, taking his music to every kind of people. They also read his letters and they both loved that because he had always had the best sense of humor. He could transform even the direst of circumstances into the funniest event he had ever witnessed. They would laugh reading the letters and, when he visited, they would ask him to tell the anecdotes himself and they certainly didn’t change at all from the written versions. Anthony was not blood but he was more than family, something that couldn’t be explained.

  In her youth, recently married, Lady Rosamund convinced her husband to adopt a kid from the streets. As a young bride, she was almost forced to do charity work, a thing many of the ladies where doing to look good in the public eye. But Rosamund had learned to like it, going to many of the hospices around town and reading to the sick or giving away old clothes to the needy. The children especially touched her because she felt they were all innocent of the lives they had been forced to live in. She cried often when she saw them dying of hunger or begging in the streets.

 One day, she started working in the darkest of allies with other women, tending to the women that not even the church recognized as part of the community. Those women sold their bodies and Rosamund never found one that had to do it because she liked it. They all needed money to survive, they needed to live day by day, paying high prices for smelly rooms in awful places and often raising children that way. It wasn’t the life a child should have.

 It was one of those days that she met Alice. Her face was very slim, her cheekbones very prominent due to the lack of food. Her skin had lost all natural silkiness and looked almost green in color. Rosamund was almost certain that women was not much older than her but from her face it was difficult to see that as she looked almost ancient in that alley. She had been beaten by her clients multiple times and hadn’t enjoyed a warm meal for many nights. So when the ladies invited her to a soup kitchen they had arranged for the people of the streets, she went gladly.

 Alice ate very fast; almost as if she was afraid the bread and the soup would run out in any second. When she finished, a man guarding the door detained her as she was trying to smuggle out two pieces of bread. The man shamed her in front of everyone and stepped on the bread, Alice crying in horror. Her noise was heard by the ladies who came at once and saw what had happened. They expelled the man from the premises and asked Alice why she was taking food outside the dining hall. And she explained she had a son, a baby that was very ill because she had nothing to give him to eat.

 Rosamund was shocked when she saw the baby, as green as his mother, not doing one sound. She felt sick and sad and decided to help Alice. She would try to get them both food every night and she did do that, even when she couldn’t be there in person. Alice thanked her for her support and then she had an idea that she had to confess when it was obvious she looked too much at the rich and beautiful woman. She asked Rosamund to take her baby as her son and give her the opportunities she could never give him. She knew the lady loved the baby, the way she played with him and looked at his little face.

 Although her first thought was to say “No”, Rosamund knew that Alice was right. That baby was going to die soon if he didn’t get the help he needed. So she decided to ask her husband and the answer was a resounding “No”. He opposed the idea because he wanted their first son to be theirs and not and adopted kid from somewhere. She thought he was cruel and vile for not thinking about others, about the possible life that they could be saving if they took that baby in. Rosamund had to convince him for several days, even going to the length of seducing him and having intercourse with him.

 She thought it was a message from God when she learned from her doctor that she was pregnant. She told her husband and begged, once again, to take in the baby. They could hide him until after their own son was born and then reveal him as a twin or a cousin or whatever. She just wanted that kid to have a chance. Her husband, already in love with their first child, finally accepted the proposal.

 The separation of Anthony and her mother was fast but tragic: only a kiss in the forehead and some hushed words as he slept. Then Alice gave him to Rosamund and she left, not before giving her some money to try to make her life better, even if she wouldn’t have her son with her. She didn’t wanted the money at first, but the young woman, whose belly was beginning to grow, convinced her to do the best for herself and just invest that money in getting out of the streets. Sadly, that never happened. Rosamund would learn years later that Alice was victim of a crime in one of those dark allies and had died alone.

 The babies grew at the same pace, Anthony always a bit bigger but weaker. As he didn’t move much when he was a kid, she decided to relate him to music, even hiring a piano teacher for both of her children. But John would rather play in the garden or in the park, with other kids. By the time Josephine was born, Anthony was already admired by the men in the Academy of Music. In a matter of a few years he became a sensation, even writing his own material. Rosamund would always go and see him play and kiss him dearly in the forehead, as Alice had done.


 In time, she told him the truth and he just loved her more because of that. Inspired by the rough streets where he had been born and by the tragic story of his birth mother, he wrote of the best and most passionate operas that have ever been written. It was that piece that Rosamund hear from the balcony, very tired but still proud of the son who wasn’t her son and of his strength of character. It was the best way to honor both his mothers and the proof that all life is precious.

domingo, 28 de septiembre de 2014

A Royal Lady

Lavinia had been in the Montgraneux palace for only two months. On her first week she married the duke and her mother assured her it was the best choice she could've had for a husband.

The duke of Halesworth was one of those bachelors that every girls wanted to marry: he was rich do to his business as a country man and as a politician, he had participated in battles abroad and, most important, he was an elegant, gracious man.

To Lavinia, looks weren't that important. From the moment she realized she had come to the world only to get married and be someone's something, she had decided not to mind too much about looks. She wanted someone who she can talk to at nights, share silly facts about life and live a peaceful life, with children as her mother intended.

She was presented to the duke in a party nothing to fancy, and the man liked her for her wit and tenderness. Within the next month, the wedding was arranged as well as her moving from her parents house.

Montgraneaux was majestic. It had a french name as the duke's grandparent had built it for his spouse, a french lady. The palace was a two story building, filled with beautiful objects from around the world. Lavinia specially liked the ballroom, which had plenty of mirrors and the nicest view towards the gardens.

The wedding, of course, was magnificent. Every single person that counted was there. Even an envoy from her majesty attended. Lavinia was so happy and proud to be marrying such a respectable person. She never thought she would enjoy marrying but that day she was all joy and fun and her mother even asked her if she felt fine. She answered: "Mama, I love my new life".

So from that day onward she lived on Montgraneaux.
However, things changed fast and not as she would have liked to. The duke was rarely at home, even to work, so she would only see him on weekends when they walked the gardens and shared quiet meals.

Lavinia didn't wanted too much of life so she was sad to see her low expectations were not being filled. The change became apparent from day one, or night one to be precise. She had never had sex but somehow she felt the duke just rushed the moment, which she didn't enjoy very much.

The young woman passed the time checking on the house, visiting new acquaintances and having her mother in for tea. Not much could be done.

Every time she had a chance to be with the duke, she reminded him of her ambition to have a house full of children. His response was always something like nodding or anything of the sorts. He didn't seemed interested in it.
She even tried seducing him at nights but that proved to be a failure too: he would leave to room arguing she was being "strange" or he would have some minutes of sex with her, as if just to please her.

Days and days alone, left her plenty of time to know every single corner of the house, which was pretty large. She would enjoy helping the gardeners, although it was not very lady like for him to be doing such chores. Anyway she did it, as she didn't care who would say what. She was a disgraced woman as far as she was concerned, so she didn't mind the opinion of others.

Winter changed things, again. The duke couldn't travel as much as he used to so he stayed in more but in his office. She would try to help him with things or take some tea for him but it didn't seem to do anything for the marriage.

One night, she discovered that the ballroom was closed, all doors locked with key. Curious, she went outside to look in, but found our all the curtains were down and nothing could be seeing. Only a dim light.

This happened at least once a week. Strangely, it coincided with multiple visits from statesmen, military officers and local authorities. They would always come right at lunch time and leave after dinner. This would annoy Lavinia every time, as she had to listen to endless stupid war stories or about shortages of wheat or some other kind of nourishment. She would always try to eat fast and argue she was exhausted to be excused.

Snow came in february and she would spend many hours making castles in it or playing by herself, She would remember her young years, when she was a lonely girl too. She wanted a child so bad, to take care of and to be with.

Exploring the palace had proven useful as, one day, she found at that one of the rooms in the second floor, mainly used by as a reading parlor, had a small compartment on one of the walls. When you opened it, you would enter a small space were an adult person could stand comfortably. Most curious, at the height of the eyes, there was a sliding plaque, in order to watch people below, in the ballroom.

She used it only once when the duke celebrated a Christmas party for every single noble man and lady in the region. Lots of people came and, at one point, Lavinia disappeared to watch everything from her private "booth": the view was amazing, felt like being a bird. She thought the person that made it should have being very suspicious of his guests.

One night, in which the duke had once again left the bed to sleep in some other room, Lavinia decided to go to the kitchen and have some warm milk. It had always helped her to sleep and she was having an awful time trying to sleep, as her thoughts of feeling alone, as well as her mother's insistence on the subject of children, were revolving on her mind.

She got her milk and was going back to bed when she came to one of the ballroom's doors. Strangely, she could see a under the door, as if fire had been lit inside. She had the urge to scream but realized this was the perfect time to use her secret "booth".

She silently climbed the stairs to the second floor and entered the reading parlor. She left the glass of milk on a table and opened her private space. When she lifted the sliding panel, her eyes had to close for a minute as the light was to bright.

Indeed, it was fire light, coming from the hearth on one side of the room. She couldn't see anything else except a table and... Clothing, on the ground. Her breathing accelerated when she understood it all: her husband suddenly got up from the floor, naked. He then laid on the edge of the table and that's when Lavinia saw it: one of the many military men that had come for supper penetrated her husband and he, the duke, seemed to enjoy it.

She close the panel and wanted to cry but didn't. She breathed heavily but calmed herself down, stood up and drank her milk. She was in that room for hours, gazing at the compartment from which she had seen it all.

No one never knew how or why but Lavinia suddenly became a leader in the region, touring towns and cities, helping those in need. She taken an interest in doing charity and people praised for that and for being an amazing hostess.

The height of it all was the birth of her daughter Anne. And it all happened due to her wit and strength, as she blackmailed her husband and let him do as he may as along as he kept his side of their agreement.

When he died, years later, in a skirmish in a colony far away, she received condolences from everyone. But she didn't mind. Her life expectations were fulfilled and more was yet to come.