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Horse made of glass - Part 17 Horse made of glass - Part 17
by Katerina Charisi
2017-09-10 12:53:07
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When they returned home, she told them to wash their hands and rub their fingertips well with the sponge so there’s no dirt under their nails and she emptied the bags in the basin and filled it with water and watched the tiny insects floating on the surface. She felt her heart racing inside her and the same guilt hovering above her and she wondered if she would ever stop feeling this way and she thought again of the boy. She had to cook.

ka1_400At nights when she put them to sleep the boy always was the first to sleep for he stopped taking naps the year before. She kneeled next to their beds and watched them sleeping. She stroke the little one’s face as he slept and she pretended she was stroking the boy’s face. She looked at the little boy’s heart shape lips and the long eyelashes shadowing his cheeks in the weak lamp’s flickering light, and she stared at the boy’s face with the straight thin blond hair and the gap between his teeth as he slept mouth-opened. She whispered to the little one’s ear all the things she wanted to say to the boy but she couldn’t· She didn’t know if she was the one who couldn’t talk to him, or it was the boy who didn’t want to listen. She thought it was too soon to lose him and she counted again his Novembers and they were seven and it was unfair to lose him so quick.

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

She started chopping the radish and the fresh onions and put them in a bowl with salt, then took five eggs from the fridge and put them in a bowl too.

She remembered one afternoon in late September, they all were out on the porch and her husband sat on the sofa and she had a pillow on the plank floor and sat reading a book· she watched as her husband took the little one on his lap and then held him by the armpits and threw him in the air and the little one screamed with joy. Then the boy sat next to his father, hands rested on the sofa’s arms, laughing out loud and jumping in excitement, waiting for his turn. He kept asking him “Daddy, is it my turn now?” And daddy didn’t reply. Daddy kept throwing the little one in the air and the little one screamed again and the boy eagerly climbed on the sofa’s arm and asked again. “Daddy, is it my turn yet?” But daddy didn’t reply this time either.

And she remembered how she put the book on her folded legs and looked at them. She saw the boy’s smile leaving his face and then his eyes becoming glassy with tears and she saw sadness giving place to anger. He climbed on his father’s lap and tried to make his father to let him have his turn. And her husband almost missed the little one that could have fallen down on his head and he yelled to the boy “get the hell out of here!” and she felt the same pain in her guts.

She remembered she was too stunned by the refusal she was witnessing, too stunned trying to explain why the little one dragged all of their love on him, draining all the love they shared to both of their kids and she stood up and went to the boy and grabbed him by his armpits and lifted him up high to make things right for him, but the boy’s eyes were already full of tears and he screamed “let me go! Let me go!” and ran inside and then she hated them both.

What have happened to us? What have we become? Is this what we are? A sick family? Do we need help?

She broke the eggs and boiled the radish and fried the onions, then added the eggs in the pan. She washed the dishes and as she put them aside to dry, she noticed the little horse made of glass on the self, behind a half full jam jar.  He gave it to her when she walked all the way home dragging her horse. It took her five long hours and he told her he never believed she would make it. He told her he expected she would drop the rope and kick the damn horse away and admit there were things that city girls would never be capable of. She told her she deserved the horse made of glass, that his old man gave to him once he brought a sack of fleas to the house when he was twelve and announced “this is my own horse and I paid for it”. And she felt the fulfilling of pride in her gut and treasured the little horse ever since.

She remembered another evening he came back from work and as always she had the water warm for his bath and the food on the table and with her back on him she washed the dishes. The boys were sitting on the floor with her ladles and pots and pretended they were tools, when asked them “how ‘bout getting you to the beach to make a sand castle?” She stood frozen with the dish and sponge in her hands and waited to listen next, maybe telling them next  “yes we can go to the beach someday, why not”, which would mean never, but instead he said “well, go get your shovels and rakes” and the boys ran in their room and he winked at her and she smiled for the first time in a while.

He asked her “why are you staring at me like this” and she said “oh, I didn’t mean to… Well, sorry but I didn’t quite expect you to take us to the beach” and he replied “why, I’ve already promised”.

She wanted to tell him about all the promises he never kept but said nothing instead and she smiled again. And he looked at her with a question in his eyes as expecting a thank you or something like that, but she couldn’t say anything for all the times he had promised things that never happened and she refused to believe him anymore. Not until she’d saw it happening.

She packed a couple of bread slices and cheese and a bottle of water, wondering if it would be enough. They drove all the way through the mountains down to the beach and the boy got dizzy from the long turns, and they had to stop for a few minutes. Each time she waited for him to get mad and say “let’s get the hell back home, you ain’t for nothin’”, but he remained calm and cheerful and though it took them longer than it should to get there, they finally stopped and he parked the car and the boys ran out and she told them not to take their shoes off, it’s still cold.

She had sat on the sand and watched them play, enjoying the few moments of solitude and not having to stretch her ears and follow them with her eyes and she felt slowly resting. She watched them as her husband went back and forth carrying the plastic buckets with the seawater and the boys dug with their shovels, explaining to them that for each amount of water they must add three times more sand to build a castle that will never fall, and they spent hours ‘till the sun lowered and went down and when they couldn’t see each other anymore  they left. She remembered how she had felt happy and how strongly she had wished that finally after all these years maybe there still was a hope to make things better between them.

When they got back home that night, the boys ran inside and her husband put some music on and a glass of moonshine and sat on the couch. He said “come here” to the boys they sat on his lap and they sang and went on playing and she was standing at the door with the buckets and shovels and their jackets in her hands and looked at the sandy footprints all over the floor and sighed, but she still felt happiness bursting inside her like tiny fireworks of love.

When the boys got bored of singing just in a couple of minutes they ran all over the place and she looked at their sandy footprints again and her husband turned the tv on and said again “boys, come here. Let’s watch somethin’ funny”. She was still standing at the door with their jackets under her armpits and the plastic buckets on one hand and the poor picnic leftovers to the other, and she opened her mouth to say something but instead said nothing and walked to the kitchen.

She put everything on the floor and looked at the time and the boys should get in the shower but there wasn’t any hot water. She turned around to get outside and to the caldron to put a few pinecones so the water heats until she wiped the sand and make something to eat. She opened the caldron’s door and put the cones inside and lit a match and waited and when she saw the flames and heard the cracks she closed the door and went back inside.

“We’re hungry over here”, he said, and she didn’t reply, just walked in the kitchen. She knew she should be grateful for this day and tried to enjoy every minute of it but she waited for too long and for the few hours they were by the sea she had to pay it with equal time of tidying up the place and she had been tired for years. She just wanted for once to go somewhere for fun and come back and just sit with them enjoying the rest of their day without having to do any more of the same every day’s chores.

“You can take the boys in the shower so I can make us something to eat in the meantime”, she said from the kitchen and wiped the sand and opened the back door and shoved it outside.

“Nah, we can wait, it’s okay. Come on boys, take your clothes off and get in the shower. Your mamma is giving you a good wash.”

She put the potatoes and the knife on the counter.

“Can you at least peel the potatoes so we don’t have to waste time?”

“We’re not in a hurry, take your time.”

She felt the familiar burning in her throat but there was no point explaining to him. The problem was not the time. The problem was she had very few moments to enjoy and he always somehow managed to take them away from her.

That night she lay next to him and she knew she had to thank him for the favor he did and when he put a hand on her breast she stiffened but didn’t move. She did what she had to do, eyes nailed on the ceiling, waiting for him to groan and turn his back, and a minute later he snored and she tiptoed to the bathroom and washed herself and then went outside and lit a smoke.

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

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 -Part 13 -Part 14 -Part 15 -Part 16 - Part 17 -

 


    
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