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Horse made of glass - Part 12 Horse made of glass - Part 12
by Katerina Charisi
2017-08-06 12:28:15
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…She saw the hand rising behind the blur in her eyes and waited for it. But the hand fell and she heard the hollow sound when it hit his own lap and when she opened her eyes he was gone. She heard the door slamming and the windows shook and the floor rumbled. That was when her father’s words came in her mind: You can’t start a family without money. A family costs. This man’s no good for you.

*     *     *     *     *

She grabbed a couple of plastic bags and a knife, folded the bags neatly and put them in her back pocket and she looked at the knife; then put it in her back pocket too, though her husband always scolded her for doing that.

ho_400“If you misstep you could get yourself stabbed, you know. I ain’t want you to do that. You can’t carry a knife in your pocket like that.”

“Well I can’t walk around holding a knife like I’m going to kill someone. I won’t fall.”

He laughed. “You carry a plastic bag and a knife. Mountains around. Even if you planned to kill someone, no one would guess. They would just assume you go for some wild greens.”

There was a slight bitterness in her throat each time old memories came back in her mind. When they both could still laugh and have fun over the silliest of things. When he could still joke and made her laugh. When he didn’t follow just an invisible line of rules and limitations that had been nailed in his brain since forever.

She went to the boys’ room and said “Come on boys, let’s go for our morning walk. We can pick some greens and have omelet for lunch.”

“Can I have a knife too?”

She squinted and the boy had a wide smile on his face and she sighed and said “fine, but only a butter knife”. He ran in the kitchen. “And hold it with its tip pointing down and to your side!”

“Can I have one too, please mommy?”

“Well”, she said and put on little one’s shoes, “you could carry the bags. They’re going to be big and heavy and I think you’re the only one around here that can do this hard job.”

“Okay”, he said with his cartoonish voice and they all went outside.  

They stood for a moment and took a few deep breaths, the little one pulled his mom’s arm excited to walk and run around. They watched as sun was getting higher and shadows moved lazily and shaped next to the trees. Their boots crackled on the wet grass and the morning light shone on white rocks with deep green moss on their sides and the boy said they looked like little worlds, worlds made of stone and tiny forests. He wondered what lived inside them and she shook her head laughing with the way their minds were still forming thoughts.

The little one screamed and giggled each time a grasshopper jumped out of its hideout and followed the tiny white butterflies that always seemed to fly in pairs, chasing one another. They turned to the gravel path and reached the clearing among the ancient olive trees and she said “Okay, I think we’re good here” and the boy with the knife on one hand and the plastic bag on the other picked dandelions, the only ones he could recognize. He tried to do it the right way, cutting it low and not pulling it off the dirt “so it can grow back and we can come again.” But the butter knife was so dull he complained “this damn knife can’t cut a dead man’s balls” and she pretended to be angry but couldn’t hold her laughter.

The boy then tried to turn over rocks with his foot and she told him to be careful for anything could hide under those rocks and he said “I know mom, you’ve told me a thousands of times already” and she said nothing but smiled. He was growing up so fast.

Sometimes she felt the boy growing up faster than normal; or maybe it was the little one who seemed to still be a baby. The boy sometimes looked distant; holding back his anger and tears, while the little one was an open book, screaming and crying when things didn’t happen the way he wanted, forgetting it in only a minute. The boy was different. Too stubborn. Too closed to himself. Silent. A true survivor.

He was a survivor and she knew what that meant.

Pain.

Oh, he would come out of each battle in his life alive and even stronger, but pain would grow inside him and moving inwards, opening tiny holes in his soul. Eating small pieces of his heart until his heart would bleed, but still wouldn’t know how to take the pain out.

She didn’t know either and that hurt her the most; not knowing how to teach her son not to hurt so much because sometimes life was full of pain.

She tried never to compare her two children but their differences were so stunning that she couldn’t help it and at least she only did it in her mind and then forced herself to forget it. Sometimes she wished the boy was different; maybe more outgoing like his little brother, but she regretted right away, each time. There was nothing wrong with her boy. She could just see he was so like her and she knew he would get hurt deeply in his life. She kept the thoughts though to her deeper self. She had seen comparison what had done to her husband, and though at first she even felt a little envy of the big, loving family she got into, she realized soon that things were a lot more complicated and tougher than how it looked.

Since the little one was born, she often thought about the past years with her husband. How she struggled to understand how this family functioned. Trying to find ways to become a real part of it; to be accepted. There were a lot to blame for her mother in law; but there were times she caught herself thinking that a lot of things that woman did made sense and could be explained. Not accepted, but explained. At least for the way people lived through the years on those mountains.

She could picture her mother in law watching her two children growing up, eager to unfold their crook and soft wings and fly away. She knew how she might felt, being there, all alone in an old house with only two children that would soon grow up too much to need her.

She pictured her sitting and watching her kids playing, knowing that this is not going to last forever, knowing that eventually she would be left alone again. Again. With a husband who was a good man, maybe, but knew nothing about being a husband and a partner and a father. A man like all others in this place, only knowing how to put their body in front and work hard, limiting their existence in that. Claiming they deserved to keep the rest of their time for themselves, knowing they did what they had to do.

She pictured her mother in law as she decided to have another child, to earn more years of companionship, and maybe keep this child at home with her.

And so, seven years later the third child came and she raised him and he grew up strongly attached to his mother and father, knowing that his purpose in life was to take care of his parents and their house and the little dry land. And he became a man. And his mother was happy for what she had done, for her son promised he would never leave home.

He never wondered if life was only that or anything else. He never asked why his siblings had gone away and started a life on their own away from the mountains, struggling to pay their bills while here they had it all. He found them stupid. He never wondered why his brother had chosen to live in a shack paying rent and why his sister chose a few acres of olive trees when their parents asked them, instead of staying home and soon she moved away to the city.

He was the smart one. He would have it all.

And then he met her.

He met her and he got confused. The seed of disbelief in everything he had learned in his life planted deep in his guts. When he first told her “I want my woman at home” she laughed, back then in the pool bar she’d met him and she said “well I ain’t going to spend a life living with two old people, no way”.

 And he felt anger burning inside him for goddamit that was the right thing to do. And he asked her “how much does this guy pay you?” And she had said “what?” And he said again “tell me how much this fat guy over here pays you” and she’d said “thirty”.

“Thirty. Then I’ll give you thirty every day to stay home”.

And she had laughed again and he boiled in anger for not knowing how to explain that this was how things were meant to be done.

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

Horse made of glass
Part 1 -Part 2 -Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6Part 7 - Part 8 -Part 9 -Part 10 -Part 11 

Part 12 -


   
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