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Trunks, boxes and paper bags Trunks, boxes and paper bags
by Katerina Charisi
2016-11-20 11:49:41
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Where did they all go and what happened to them? I don’t know. Sometimes I believe I’ve lost my memory cause I kept this secret for too long, denying it, forcing myself to forget the things I saw and knew that happened. Other times I believe that nothing of this has happened. That I am just an old woman who’d lost it somewhere in the long narrow streets of her life, and created a world and a life that never existed. But it’s all there, wherever I turn my eyes to, whenever I close them to sleep, Emily’s ghostly image in the old pictures, the wind cooling her face on the ride, the wet hair sticking on her cheeks and her eyes of glass, the fire raging through the rooms in the house, tearing a path of revenge and fear to the woods. I wasn’t there, I couldn’t possibly be there, but I’ve seen it all or by a twisted turn of luck, I lived it again; her shaking fingers trying to light a match, arms soaked in kerosene, I felt the pain in her empty womb and the bitter knot in her throat of the forced separation, as she ran to the swamp and hid in the darkness, watching the fire moving fast, sleeping in the sheds, living of her rage for two days until they found her. They took it from her. They took her baby and then they killed her. And when she breathed for the last time, the fire disappeared, leaving sparkles in the night as it faded away.

********************

emi0001_400_01Big and long day this was. Marianne had woken up while it was still dark outside. She pushed and moved things in her room, dragging and pulling and pushing on the old wooden floor, to pack all of her things and get ready. I was trying to sleep but had no point. The moment I closed my eyes, a weight fell on my chest, two unknown and familiar eyes at the same time staring at me, like waiting me to say something. And then all the noises from the room next to ours.

When the first sunrays came through the window I got up. It was spring for good. The fields greened again, the woods in the back left their darkness and black shadows, seemed friendlier now. Wind wasn’t shaking the old house. Mist didn’t hide the swamp, the water reflected the sun and birds sang, flowers grew around it. All what was left from this winter, was a sticky and muddy earth but full of life. Maybe this year would prove to be good. Michael had done everything the agronomist told him to fertile the land. He worked hard in the fields and I wished I could offer some help, but it wasn’t the work I was afraid of, only the slippery thick mud. The doctor had seen me few days ago again, and everything seemed to be fine. Still, there were times I imagined me slipping on the stairs or in the mud and fall down to my face, my tummy squashed under my weight and so I limited myself to the basics.

More out of pretended politeness than actual care I knocked her door. “Come in!” she chirped and reminded me of Frances. I went inside and saw an almost empty room, with boxes and paper bags and trunks full of stuff, that you could never believe all fitted in there.

“I’m almost done”, she said and smiled widely. She looked pretty. She was. Her curly reddish hair embraced her porcelain face, her light brown eyes with the green splashes shined of happiness. I could almost forgot all the bad times she caused me. I almost forgot her lies, her lipsticks found in my drawers, my spilled perfume, even the pair of my favorite shoes with the embroidered butterflies on their sides that thought I had lost and then saw her wearing while we walked in the French market. Our eyes met for an instant and she pulled Brad’s arm and walked away. I pretended I never saw her. I had turned my eyes away and kept talking to Michael about the windows of the stores.

“It must be a great feeling”, I smiled back. “Knowing you finally go to your own place, all alone with your man, doing things as you always wished, living the life that you choose and no one else”. I felt that I spoke more to myself than her.

“Oh, it is. Can’t wait to unpack and finally put all my things in their places, not having to keep them in boxes and bags under the bed because there’s no space, or because this damn house is too far from anywhere that these things could be of any use. I mean, where did you last put your heels?”

Again, the embroidered butterflies flashed in front of me. I wondered if she kept it somewhere, in one of these boxes.

“You know, Frances once threw two pairs of my heels in the fire, just like that. Years ago, when I first came here. I used to be in better shape you know. I couldn’t get used to the fact I won’t go anywhere and do nothing. I dressed well and put my heels on, like going for a walk in town. Drove her mad. Take them off! She yelled when saw me walking around in the house on those heels. She couldn’t stand the noise on the floor, she said. I looked like a clown in a circus, she said.”

Her eyes darkened and looked at the boxes and the paper bags in the room.

“This is a descent house, under the sharp sight of the Lord, she said. This is not one of those rat holes in big cities where women do not respect themselves. Look at you! Heels on your feet? Lipstick on your lips? Where do you think you are? Who?”

She raised her arm as to stop her own words. “Forget it. Now she can stick her respected house in her butt.” I stood there not knowing what to say. I could understand her. I could almost justify her stupidity and the awful way she treated me. For some reason Frances seemed to keep her in a different distance and place in her life than me. But Marianne never said anything when things were bad. She just ran to her room, banged the door and cried, throwing stuff and yelling and cursing and then stopped. For days maybe no one could approach her, she kept things inside, she became revenging, but she never talked back to Frances or Jacob. She just lowered her head. I didn’t know where exactly in all this I was.

Truth is that since we found out about the baby, they are all different. It’s better if she goes away. Better for her and her husband, better for me too. Better of all of us.

“I should go, Bradford would be here in a minute and start loading the truck”.


      
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