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

miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017


   Carmen had always been the most reserved of the four Duke sisters. Everyone in town knew that family, as they owned almost everything around those parts. Apparently, the great-grandfather had been the one to first set foot in the region, before mining teams settled too and the small town of Golden River was founded. What made them rich, of course, was gold. The Duke family became rich in a glimpse and now every person in town felt that family owned them.

 Deluded by his power, the leader of the family had always thought the people of Golden River adored him and his family. But Barnaby Duke was not loved but despised and I was all a really good acting scene, as the inhabitants of the small town preferred to avoid conflict that basically shooting themselves on the foot. It was the Duke family that gave them the jobs on which they based their survival, so any words against them wouldn’t be precisely wise. So lies settled in town.

 What was worse, Mr. Duke loved to give speeches every so often: on the first day of spring for example. It didn’t matter if it was raining like crazy, he made people reunite in the town’s square and talked for hours about how in Golden River people lived a better life than in other places. He had a point, as they had never starved or anything like that. Meanwhile, many other towns in the country were suffering and had been going through very tough times for at least ten years.

 As good as he portrayed himself to be, Barnaby Duke had instructed the mayor and the police, a group of less than five people, to stop any outsiders from settling in Golden River. They had to ask it formally first and the requests were mostly denied. That’s why no one really knew about what was going on in other places. They were shielded from everything that way. Gold was the only trade they had and it was done by the Duke family, so none of the workers had the need to travel beyond the forest.

 But even so, people hated the Dukes. They hated the pompous Barnaby and his stuffy wife Henrietta, who was rarely seen in town. And of course, his daughters were beyond despised because he exhibited them around, like prizes, wearing all the best but never letting them interact with anyone from town. The people despised the girls for perpetuating the wrong his father had done, paying them miserably. They knew their dresses and perfumes would have made Golden River a better town. But they decided hate was the way to go because they had nothing else.

 There’s where Carmen comes in. She was the youngest of her sisters, maybe the most beautiful of them all. Her elder sister Diana was getting ready to leave town, as she had been promised in marriage to a rich merchant with whom her father had business with. The man was much older than her and even so she was beaming with joy, as she was leaving town forever in order to have, what she thought, was a much better life, filled with excitement and many things to discover.

 Carmen was a bit jealous of her sister but only because she was leaving town, the first one of the sisters to do so. It was obvious that they would all leave sooner that later, as they were all getting close to the marrying age. Diana was sixteen and Colleen was fifteen. Then Marguerite was fourteen and, finally, Carmen was only thirteen. Few years under her belt but she was the most adventurous one, always curious about the world around her. She was the least loved one too, by her father.

 Her mother was largely absent. She had not raised them as such, the job having been assigned to a number of servants. They were the only family to have nannies and cooks in town, which made people hate them even more. Nevertheless, those servants loved the girls and had learned to teach them the things they needed to know in order to be good wives in the future. But that wasn’t enough for Carmen, who often left the house to walk around the woods, and even to the mine.

 She liked to watch the men coming in and out of there. They looked different in the morning and then in the afternoon, all covered in dust and dirt. She also visited the ones that worked in the river, looking for gold there. She would always walk at a safe distance, because she was a bit scared of all those men and women. They appeared to be suffering and she inferred that because of the facial expression they had. She was the first to learn how much people hated the Dukes.

 Not that anyone did anything to her; she just knew it one day. Her sisters left, with the passing of time. One day, waving goodbye to Marguerite, she realized how little time she had left there. Her parents had not chosen a suitor yet but the decision would be announced any day now. She didn’t wanted marriage or leave Golden River, even if people hated them. Carmen felt she could help them have a better life, maybe better conditions at work. She had spent so much time watching and hearing them, that she thought she knew what was best for them.

 Silly as she was, Carmen walked to her father one day and told him she would like to work with him, handling the family business. The only answer she got was a slap on the face, one so hard her father’s ring left a mark on her cheek. He didn’t say a word after hitting her, calling one of the servants and telling them to lock Carmen in her room. Her wound was not even taken care of. It was then she realized the hate that people had against them was justified and she hated herself for who she was.

 Alone and locked away, she felt herself sink into an abyss. The following day it was her mother who visited her. That never happened, as the woman was always busy trying new clothes and stuff she bought from the city. She entered the room, visibly having never been there. It seemed she was going to sit on the bed but, instead, she just said a suitor had been found and her marriage was settled to happen in just a couple of months. The man was elderly but extremely wealthy.

 That night, a storm broke over the small town. Rain and wind hit all the houses, making the windows crack and the doors tremble. Carmen had cried so much that she had fallen asleep as she was, on her bed. But the storm woke her up in the middle of the night and gave her an idea. The noise was so strong that no one heard when she broke the window. She removed almost all of her clothes, to be able to move faster, and just like that, she jumped outside and ran towards town.

 The idea behind what she had done was that someone there could help her escape her father, maybe giving her a horse to ride to her freedom. But when she got to the small town, she realized people were asleep and none was there to help her. Then, she did something very stupid: assuming no one would notice, she grabbed a horse from a stable and just tried to ride it. The horse didn’t let that happen and dropped her to the round. The racket attracted the owners to the scene.

 When they realized who the burglar was, their rage seemed to reach new levels. In their eyes, their owner was mocking them, sending his daughter to steal from them. So they did the only thing that made sense to them and that they wanted to do: they killed Carmen Duke.

 Soon, an angry mob was formed. They had grown tired and the intrusion of the Duke girl had been the last hey would take from the oppressor. So that stormy night, they marched straight to the Duke house and set it on fire. Everyone inside was killed in the sleep. There were Dukes no more.

martes, 1 de noviembre de 2016

A family

   His wife had fainted and the kids were now trying to help her feel better in the car. Meanwhile, he was still staring at the house, as if it was going to magically change it’s looks from the old and almost destroyed state it was in to the almost mansion he had thought he purchased some weeks ago. He didn’t feel good at all but his body was suddenly not able to respond to anything. He only reacted when his boy, who was around ten years old, came from the car and told him his wife wanted to talk to him with urgency. He turned around slowly, still in disbelief.

 The only thing his wife wanted to tell him was that they should be going to the police and tell them what had happened. They had to do it as soon as possible because maybe, just maybe, the person that had done that to them may be closer than they thought. He drove back to the nearby small town and explained the situation to the police officers. The one that took care of them put a hand to his forehead to clean the sweat off his face and told them they weren’t the first to come saying they had been robbed in such a way. At least four families had gone through the same thing that year.

 He explained that they had always used that house because the owner had died many years ago and no one could claim ownership of it. Actually, the state still had to wait ten years in order to be able to take possession of the house and then sell it or do whatever they wanted with it. And, of course, everything they showed was false and people never cared to check before they spent all that money in a new house. The family man, called George, explained to the officer that they were precisely there to check out the house because it was supposed to be finished in six months.

 Again, his wife had sit down. She asked for a glass of water and tried to relax but her heart was beating too fast. Norma, that was her name, had already begun planning so many trips and so many other fun stuff around that house. The amount of money they had spent was nothing next to the emotional investment they had obviously already done in that place. It was just a very cruel joke to play in them and she just could not believe someone would do such a thing. She still wanted to think it was some kind of mistake.

 But it wasn’t. They had been robbed of millions and they did all the paperwork to sue the people and the alleged company that had processed the whole thing. Of course, the company was a fake and the possibility of being reimbursed was almost impossible but they needed to do everything according to the law. Because, when the time came, they would need to prove they did not have a country house or anything like that. It was a very long process and a very slow one too. But after several months, it finally ended.

 The relationship between George and his wife was not the best. The situation with the new house had deteriorated everything they had before they realized they had been cheated on. They stopped being close to each other and after what happened, they rarely even spoke when they were alone. They tied to maintain normalcy for the children but it was obvious they were not idiots and could realize very easily that their parents didn’t really like each other anymore. However, they did not have a big response to it.

 In time, about a year after the robbery, Norma decided to file for divorce. She realized she simply didn’t trust her husband anymore and she actively blamed him for having been robbed off all the money they had paid for the country house. She realized she could never forget that, so the intelligent thing to do was to just get a divorce. Of course, she wanted to keep the kids and George wasn’t going to just give them to her. It was a very ugly situation in which every person they know had an opinion and that helped their marriage to die quickly.

 They finally agreed that they would share custody of the children with them living most of the week with their mother and the weekends with their father. They were still young and they both knew it was going to be a very hard thing to live with but they agreed they could do it for their children. The kids felt everything was their fault somehow, and began to behave in different ways, from hitting classmates back in school to just stop talking and turning into a repressed little kid which obviously wasn’t great for such a young age.

 They each had less and less money to spend, because they had many more things to pay for: gasoline for all the car rides during the week, the shrinks for both of the kids, the allowance George had to pay his wife in order to support the kids, the amount of groceries they had to buy each in order to supply everything necessary for the children… It was just too much and every month things seemed to get pricier and more complicated. One kid began fighting in school too much and the other was accused by a teacher of being autistic.

 It was just a very ridiculous situation that had came from one bad investment, one bad moment in which they hadn’t had the brain to check on the product they were buying first. They both knew it was both of their faults that they had been robbed but it was easier to blame the other because confronting the truth was always very hard and embarrassing. But both George and Norma were to blame. They wanted to seem rich in a moment and never cared to think of their children or about anything else.

 Their marriage was destroyed and when the kids became older they stopped seeing each other and just moved on to have their own lived. Norma remarried first and George killed himself two months after that. He had been tired of calling his children and never getting an answer. That fatal day, he wrote a letter to them, including Norma, telling them how sorry he was for what he did. However, he also reminded them they used to have been a family and they all just bailed on him the first moment they could, not thinking about anything they had gone through.

 In the last few lines, he blamed himself and all of them for the implosion of their perfect family. He said it was their entire fault that just because of something other families could have rallied around, they all just began to fall apart and try to run away from each other as far as they could. Now one of his kids was on drugs, the other had social problems and he made them see what they had become, hoping they could change their ways once he wasn’t there anymore. Of course, he never knew that letter was too little, too late.

martes, 23 de agosto de 2016

End of a marriage

   The alarm of the oven rang right when it was expect. Linda wiped her tears out of her face and turned from the window to the oven. With her oven mints on, she took out a pretty big glass container in which a very thick lasagna was still bubbling in. The cheese had melted beautifully and the top was golden and just perfect. Through the glass, it was easy to see that the lasagna was made of several layers of vegetables and grinded beef and cheese. Linda was very proud of herself as she put the container on a wooden surface in order to let it cool down a bit while she served the rest of the dinner.

 Her husband entered the kitchen in silence. It was very obvious he didn’t know what to say. She didn’t really wanted to speak so she focused her attention on two medium sized plates, where she served a copious amount of salad made of a variety of green leaves, tomatoes, olives, cheese cubes and other small elements. She put the two plates on the table in front of the kitchen and her husband sat down immediately, without saying a word. He didn’t started eating or anything, he just waited there, turning around to see through the window every five seconds, as if he was afraid someone would appear out of nowhere to steal his food or something.

 Linda also turned around a lot while cooking, but she seemed to be better at ignoring whatever it was they were ignoring. She then started cutting the lasagna into pieces, placing two big squares on each of their plates. She put those two plates on the table too and then paused for a moment, to think what else she was supposed to do. It was her husband who stood up and ran towards a cabinet to take out a bottle of wine some friend of theirs had given them several months ago, after said person had returned from a trip to France.

 Linda remembered the bread. She took out of the cupboard, sliced some pieces and grated a lot of garlic into each piece. Then she put the bread in the microwave, as doing it in the oven would take much too long and she was seriously hungry now. Her husband Matt poured the wine into two glasses and put them on the table with the bottle, in case they wanted to have a bit more with their food.

 The sound of the microwave cooking the bread was the only thing they heard for a while. Matt sat down again, looking very tense. Linda looked at the floor as she waited for the sound. She just looked at a very small ant that was crossing the floor and she the imagined the life of that ant, all that that it had done in its short life. The microwave’s ring brought her out of her imagination. Linda put down the bread on the table, which smelled delicious, and finally sat down in front of her husband. They finally looked at each other.

 Both of their reactions were to cry. But they didn’t do it loudly or anything, they just had tears coming down their faces like a small river pouring out of their eyes. Their nose got congested and then each one of them had to stand up and run to the nearest bathroom to get some toilet paper. Once there, they just hugged. They hadn’t done that in a long time but it felt really good to finally do it, to finally feel they were together in this and that nothing could change that. They held hands and tried to tell each other how they felt but words seemed to be lacking power in those moments. Words were not important anymore.

 They went back to the table and decided to eat as if it was a normal dinner, although this one was much earlier. Outside, the sun was bright and even some birds sang. There was not a soul in sight but that was very understandable. Around there, only Linda and Matt had stayed behind in order to have one last beautiful romantic dinner and they did try to make it very nice and delicious. Actually, the first thing that Matt said when they came back from the bathroom was that it all smelled delicious and it definitely did.

 The first course was the salad. It had every single vegetable that they had left so there were pieces of onion, carrots, pepper, cucumber and several others of which there were only small pieces in the fridge. Linda had grabbed all those pieces and had cut them and put them together on a big bowl. She then had put on them some salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil to make it taste even better. Matt said it was the best salad he had ever eaten and maybe he was being honest because in all the years Linda had known him, he had never eaten a salad, not even a piece of tomato.

 As they ate, they remained in silence but it was Matt, uncomfortably clearing his voice, who asked Linda if she liked fruit in her salads. She thought it was a very strange question but the moment that they were living was much too weird and particular to ignore any questions. So she thought of her answer for a moment and then told her husband that she had eaten some salad with fruits on it and that she had liked them but that not all combinations worked. For example, she liked a Moroccan one that came with couscous and raisins, which were basically sweet as fruit, and she had loved that. But in a wedding when she was young, she was served a salad containing lettuce and other such common things on a salad but with strawberries, mango and apple. She almost vomited that salad.
 Matt laughed hard at her anecdote, as he hated salads with fruits on it too. So, while they ate their salads, they discussed how disgusting it was too find something too sweet on a plate that wasn’t supposed to be sweet. The ambiance got much more relaxed.

 Then came the lasagna and they were surprised to realize that they were very hungry. The two pieces Linda ad put on each plate were just the beginning for each one of them as they cut and served even more pieces as their conversation changed subjects once and again. They talked about Italy too and how its food was probably the best in the world. Then they chatted about spicy foods and how spicy they liked their food, if they actually like to feel that burn in their mouths.

 As they ate their pieces of lasagna, the couple became more like the people they had used to be all those years ago when they had first started dating. They were deeply in love but also very interested in each other, so much so that they had every single kind of question to make to the other person. It was so much like that that they switched their conversation from food to their teenage years. Matt wanted to know how young Linda was the first time she kissed a boy and she surprised him by saying that the first person she had kissed had actually been a girl in her class when she was around nine or ten years old. She explained that they were really good friends and that it had seemed natural at the moment. No one ever knew about it until then.

 Matt was surprised and even toasted to that anecdote as he found it very cute. He told his wife that his first kiss with a boy had happened very late in life, in college. She was amazed to know that because she had met him in college but he explained it had been in the first few years in a party. He never saw the guy again because he retired or something but he had kissed him out of a drunken stupor.

 Linda also toasted to that, happy to know more about her husband, even if at that moment that knowledge was going to be useless. They finished the lasagna and decided not to clean the dishes and, instead, they took the bottle of wine and one of champagne to the second floor of the house, where they had a nice little deck overlooking the street and the sunset. They drank the whole bottle of wine as they talked and talked and by the time they opened the champagne, they were able to hear a far away alarm.

Then, they saw it in the sky, as night had fallen. It could be seen clear and so close, much closer than they had thought it would be. They poured they champagne into their glasses and toasted to their life together and their love, just as the ball of fire passed above them making a very loud sound. They drank the whole glass and then kiss passionately for the first time in a very long while. The ball of fire touched down several kilometers to the south but the result of the impact was instantaneous: an very violent earthquake, a cloud of smoke and dirt and then, nothing.

jueves, 23 de junio de 2016

High stakes

   The wind blew gently through the trees. Some pinecones and dried leaves fell softly to the ground and small animals ran to their holes in the ground or in the trees. The weather was getting worse by the minute and they could all feel it. All except for Samira. She was a rather beautiful woman wearing a dress to big to walk around the wood. It had already been ripped apart in some areas and it looked dirty. Some stains on it were because of mud and water but others were clearly blood.

 Samira didn’t stop when the wind got stronger. She kept on walking through the forest, as she tried to make her dress fit between the trees and not get ripped apart more. But that wasn’t possible. She finally stopped when the forest got too dense and it was much darker in the ground that in the upper area of the trees. She just stayed there, in the spot she was, and waited. Sure enough, rain came some minutes after. The trees were protection enough but she got very wet anyhow.

 As the rain poured onto her, Samir began to cry, finally breaking down. She fell to her knees, which was not something very easy to do in that dress, and cried her eyes off. It was confusing to see the rain on her face and also the tears. It was difficult to know what was what but thanks to all that water she was able to finish crying fast and started thinking about what to do next. She had come a long way, or so she thought, and there was no way she would stop midway through the woods.

 Realizing her dress couldn’t come with her, she carefully removed it. It wasn’t easy as it opened in the back and there was no one to help her with that. But after a couple of tries, the zipper lowered enough for her to grab it and pull it down. Carefully she removed the top part and then pulled the dress down her legs. She moved to a side and the dress stood there, as if a ghost was still wearing it in that part of the woods.

 She felt cold and sad to leave her gown behind but life was much more important. So she kept on going. She had been barefoot for a while, as the heels she had been wearing had gotten stood in thick mud not very far from the edge of the forest. Samira decided to keep walking the way she was walking, sure that it was the right direction in order to get away from everything.

 The trees grew closer in that area, which was better for her because rain almost didn’t get to the floor. She was cold and trembling, but at least she could clean some of the water of her body as she walked over pieces of rotten wood, mud, puddles of water and tons of leaves that autumn was taking away from the forest. She didn’t stop until it was very dark and she realized she had to sleep at least a few hours.

 She chose a place between two trees where there was a huge natural bed made of leaves. She didn’t sleep much though, because her brain kept telling her to keep moving, that she wasn’t safe yet and that she just couldn’t get all relaxed and happy yet. Samira had to go on through the forest and then arrived to the fields and, after that, the ocean. At least that’s how she remembered it was. If she had mistaken her route, it would be a major problem.

 After only three hours of sleep, she kept on moving through the trees, in the dark. Sometimes, she had to clean her tears with her dirty hands because se remembered something she had left behind, like her mother and all the beautiful memories of being who she was. Samira had left much more than anyone else had ever left before and the decision had already been taken. And she was sure she had made the right choice. There was no other way around it.

 Finally, she reached the other edged of the forest and, as she had expected, there were fields after fields of different kinds. It was the rural area that preceded the ocean, were most of the food was grown in order for the whole country to have food in their plate. Or at least that had been the idea behind it. Her mother had been the one who had convinced her father to do something like that.

 He always needed someone to convince him, someone to tell him what he should do next. People around him were too kind to tell him that he wasn’t good at his job, at all. But he had advisors and he had Samira’s mother and that could be enough to be mildly successful as a ruler. People liked him but did not love him and it was the same for the family as a whole. However, that worked just fine for everyone. It was the barely minimum, as someone had pointed our once.

 Samira entered the field and hoped the people that worked in them wouldn’t be around for some time still. Because if they saw her, they would ask her why she was practically naked in their property. But after some walking, she realized it was far too early for anyone to be around there. Besides, it was an orange plantation and the fruits were just beginning to grow, so no big masses of people would look after those.

 She walked fast through the small trees until she reached a house. The lights were off. But, most interestingly, the family that lived inside had let a large assortment of clothing to dry out in the sun. Maybe they had forgotten to put it inside or maybe it had been because of the rain. Anyway, some of the things were not really wet so Samir stole a white blouse and some pants.

 The only problem was her hair. It wasn’t that long but it was kind of obvious who she was. She found the solution only a couple steps away, in the shape of some gardening scissors someone had left inside a bucket. She grabbed the scissors, got her head a bit wet with water that had fallen into the bucket and started cutting. It took her a long time to get it even or what felt like even. They had no mirrors on the outside. The sun was rising and when she heard a metallic sound from inside the house, she knew she had to go.

 Samira penetrated the fields again and soon reached another plantation, a cornfield that looked ready to be picked. She had to find a road or something before she got mistaken with a worker or accused of being a thief. So she ran away in a different direction and ended up in a dirt road that seemed to link every single field in the area. There, she could walk down to the sea easier.

 The day began and people were pouring from every single place. Soon, there were carts passing through the dirt road and people working hard on the fields. There were even children playing with mud outside the houses. She thought it was something nice to see, that kind of routine and simple life of the people that worked the land. She even thought about staying but it was only for a second.

 She had to make it to a boat and get fast away from there. She had no choice. Samira had done something she really shouldn’t have and it wasn’t something that got forgiven. Maybe her parents could, but not her promised husband, He had been humiliated in public and soon everyone would know how she ran away form her in the wedding dress, fleeing an arranged wedding with one of the most powerful men in the country.

 What she had done could have serious implications for everyone, not only for her. After all, her marriage had to be fulfilled in order to for m an alliance between different powers in the region: between the wisdom and the strength, or that’s what her father said. But she couldn’t bear to be forced into something like that, out of nowhere. She had not known she was going to marry that man the morning of the wedding.

 Now, Samira looked like a lost boy, asking for work in one of the many ships that made it into the harbor, bringing fish and other goods from other places of the world. Finally, a crab fishing crew accepted her. Their captain happened to be a female, a woman that noticed right away that Samira was not the boy she was faking to be. The girl sailed that afternoon but her adventures were far from over.