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

miércoles, 31 de mayo de 2017

The rocks

   Every single woman in the town visited the rocks at least once a weak. It was the perfect place to do laundry by the river, but also a place for encounter. They would discuss the latest news, as well as sharing some of their most personal things. Not every woman went there at the same time, so small groups of them visited the rocks every few hours. It was never crowded because they all knew at what time they should be visiting in order to find the people they communicated best with.

 The ones that arrived at the earliest were mostly older. For some reason, experienced women tended to do their chores as early as they could. It was kind of an irony because they were the ones with the least amount of work at home and there in the rocks. After washing a couple of undergarments from their husbands, they were finished and did not know what else to do. They usually stayed on until the last woman had finished. That means they only stayed about an hour in the morning.

 The biggest group visited the rocks after midday. It was the time when most women had finished cooking for their families, so they all decided to process their meal by doing some exercise, and washing laundry was exactly that. Some women spent up to three hours there. It wasn’t very surprising considering the amount of dirty clothes accumulated by one husband and at least three young children. It was a lot of clothes to clean and they did it as fast as they could, as they talked and laughed.

 Then, there was a small group of women that visited the rocks an hour before sunlight disappeared. They normally visited that late because they really didn’t want to confront other woman during the day. They just wanted to do their thing and then leave as soon as possible. Women that visited at that time were often widows or single, having never married. They were just a handful in town but enough to make people talk about them. That’s why they preferred a certain darkness.

  What they all had in common, and rarely realized, was that every single one of them loved to visit the rocks because it gave them an outlet, it was something different from seeing men every single day and then having to do what they said. There, in the rocks, no man was in charge. Actually, they practically never went there, as they knew they would encounter a large number of women and men always felt a bit scared when outnumbered by anyone. The rocks were only for women and, as such, it was a safe space where they could discuss anything.

 It wasn’t uncommon to hear women curse and talk about their families in a not so kind way. A person hearing them out of context would never understand how much these women actually cared for their families. But they would sometimes need to vent their dissatisfaction with some of the thing that happened at home, because they needed to tell someone. In the household, the men were not supposed to be bothered with those issues and children were too immature to understand.

 So they only had each other to talk about those things that only women went through. Of course, they didn’t all got along as adults are complicated and there’s always some kind of animosity against someone because they did something you may think is wrong. That’s why the single women had their own scheduled to clean. Because they didn’t wanted married woman to ridicule them in their own time, when they needed to feel they could breath for at least a second.

 The point was that life for women was very difficult in town and they were grateful to have a space of their own to talk and have a little bit of fun once a week. There was no fun in anything else they did and their little town, so out of the way of the world, was sometimes too slow and boring for any of them to feel they were living the best life possible. Granted, some of them stated often they could never have a big city life as the change would be too much and they thought of urbanites as sinners.

 Religion, as expected, had always been a very important part of the town’s life. Every single person, or at least most of the people, would go every Sunday to the mass. There, Father McGregor would tell them once and again that their ways were wrong and that it was time to correct them in order to get into the kingdom of heaven. Sometimes he softened his words but it wasn’t something that happened often. It was clear that religion wanted people to be scared and they were effective at that.

 So much so, that women sometimes felt guilty of whom they were just because they were women. They discussed it sometimes on the rocks, but it was a very complicated subject that some of them didn’t want to talk about because they felt heir beliefs were above anything else. These women had been raised to believe that they were inferior, by nature, to men and most had assimilated that and thought it was true. Changing that was very complicated so that’s why it wasn’t a very popular subject to bring to the table. Something more entertaining was always better.

 On the rocks, they laugh, they cried and they shared thoughts and words and what little knowledge came their way. Sometimes they could stop talking and other times, there was a silence that settled in and made them fell protected somehow. It was strange but after so many time there, they knew exactly how they should behave there and how they should do it at home and how it was better to never mix both worlds, because doing that could be dangerous to anyone.

 A woman once remembered a funny anecdote she had heard on the rocks and laughed out loud. That happened in her home but in front of her husband and children, while they were having supper. She tried to explain what she had remembered but the only thing that happened was that the husband stood up in silence, walked towards her and then slapped her as hard as he possibly could. The pain on her cheek was enough to understand that she could never mix the rocks with her daily life.

 Every women had a story like that, sometimes more tragic, sometimes less surprising. But they had all experienced what it felt to be something like a domesticated animal working for a master. They were like the bulls that helped in the fields or the horses that carried people from one place to the other. There were not that many differences between the two and that made them angry and hopeless. So they discussed it sometimes and they always ended up with a sour taste in their mouths.


 However, the rocks existed. And as long as the women had them to go and have a chat, they would feel empowered to keep going, to keep living day after day even if it felt difficult and, sometimes, impossible.

miércoles, 22 de marzo de 2017

Owned

   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.