MARCY: PREVIOUS SCENES

1

 

For some time, Marcy had the vague feeling that something bad gone through in her life and she was not the way to avoid it. She had spent the time, one day to another, trying to self convince that her existence was as normal as of any other, but from time to time, while he cleaned the house, or did the food, he could not avoid that apprehension, especially when she was alone. She had already graduated, she had married and had her children, she had already installed in the life at once, but she could not forget the feeling of her frustrated life. She preferred not to think of it. And if overcome to her any thinking about it while she cleaned the furniture, and she cried, she passed the dirty cloth by her face to dry it, and tried to forget.

Her mother had already warned her, as a child, that life was not rosy.

Marcy worked in the kitchen when she heard noise of keys in the door. Soon she realized that, another day, Manele had returned home angry. Each day had a new reason for him, the pressures of his job, a small accident with the car, bad weather or heat. She was alert to the slightest sign of warning, if it made more noises, if he whispered by the low, it was going to have a problem. Marcy had already dined with the children. He consumed his dish quickly and soon began the discussion by the too hot coffee that Marcy served after dinner.

-There is no one who can take this, how I must say you that I do not like so hot?

Marcy ran to the sink and changed the drink of vessel by several times, any liquid droplet slipped towards the dish of coffee. When he returned to serve her husband, Manele took the cup and a pending drop fell on his tie.

-Just what I need tomorrow for my travel! You're useless, always I tell you! She took a cloth, moistened, to remove the stain.

-Let it, will have to take it to clean to the laundry, if we had few expenses this month. You only spend and spend you and your children.

When all it was good the children were of the two. But he was right, he was spending too much. She had to deal with it and distract him from the matter of money.

-Sorry, I don't know what happens to me, I am a little nervous by your travel… She hesitated one second and later raised her tone of voice.

-But if we talk about useless, beware! So I learned from you, I say.

He repented of what she had said immediately, almost as well as words were leaving his lips.

-I don't know what I saying, still not you're gone and now I'm missing you.

-Yes, as the last time I phoned from Lederia, and your mother said to me that you've came out.

Lederia was the capital of the state and a major financial centre, frequent destination of first row executives. Marcy had fear, panic to begin a new episode of discussion. Manele lost the papers with ease, was jealous and possessive, as she thought were husbands who loved much their wives. Each call it had to be answered in order to control her all the time. If not, what they would think the neighbors, said he, that was going around, free as air, ready for the conquest.

Every whim he had, it had must to be cared for at the moment.

Manele threw coffee on the table of a handshake.

-Go to scrub and then you wash the tablecloth, which you do not serve to anything else.

While he got up, grabbed one end of the fabric with such force that the coffee service came out flying, going to fall, with the rest of its content, on the carpet. He rose from the table and stepped on the spots of the ground with rage as wanting to make them disappear.

-Do not worry, you will not notice anything dirty, you have the house as a pig sty!

He lit a cigarette and he aspired to force the first breath of smoke, he was red from anger, his black eyes jumped sparks, while he looked for something in the right pocket of his trousers. It was empty. Already he was eager to discuss.

-Did you remove the money I had in this pocket?

-I needed to buy and I caught it, but I was going to tell you now.

Marcy knew that, as on other occasions, claims and insults could lead to worse. He went to his bedroom, and shortly after close and secure the door, heard the door of Manele. That night he would not return home.

At least he had fought for that time.

 

 

 

2

 

The children had not heard anything. When the father came, they were sleeping in their room. Paul and Manu would have much fear if they had heard his father shouts.

-Mom, are you happy? -said her eldest son the next day, while they lunched. He had a habit of doing that cumbersome question.

Marcy masked his discomfort.

-Very happy child, but hurry, if not we will arrive late to school.

Mazello was a large enough city to have schools, a good library, church and Town Hall. In this they had been married already ten years earlier, when Marcy and Manele had twenty-nine. He had preferred to buy the house in this village, close to the city of Greda, a large village located in the foothills of the mountains of the North. The flats were cheaper and life quiet more, although Marcy feared the isolation of the small places, accustomed as it was to the hustle and bustle of Greda, the big city, where he had resided previously.

After leaving the children to the door of the school, headed his vehicle to the Mall and did it. She unhesitatingly entered the large bright surface and directed her steps, as an automaton, the same place every day,

carrying the wallet ready knowing what was going to happen.

He heard the mantra of the machine at the bar of the Mall that claimed his attention, attracting their lights as a magnet. "Today I'm going to get lucky". She slid through the slot a coin after another.

-Can you give me change?

The waiter served her request, and other ten coins disappeared without result. It would have difficulty to acquire in the Super everything she needed.

Once he had bought the most elemental to the meal of the day, she was given a tour of the area of clothing stores and accessories. She had to return to attract Manele in any way. Pregnancies had damaged her body, and when he spoke of his female colleagues, to those he described as attractive, confident, young, she could not avoid a sting of jealousy. They had decided to have children, and she does not work, despite having graduated in business administration, and his life as a housewife, began to seem simple compared to the colleagues of her husband.

He bought fine lingerie and a little black dress with broad neckline, to complete the model also acquired heel shoes. He later attended the hairdresser where she made a good change, based on red colour wicks, on his long, wavy black hair.

He returned home, hasty, to cook dinner and had time to prepare. Manele would travel next Thursday, and wanted to surprise him prior to his departure.

 

 

 

3

 

Children came back from school tired, wet and cold, because the fall was already announced, and died of hunger.

-What's for dinner, mom? -asked Manu.

The eldest was a wonderful son, but the youngest son was the most shocking child in the world. Marcy had prepared an easy and safe food for children, pasta with tomato sauce, which they ate delighted. After a few yogurts and a bath quick they go to bed. They were already nine in the evening and she had little time to carry out the complicated ritual of depilation, perfumed body lotion and a smooth foundation for the face. The eyes and the lips gently makeup. Win the dress and put shoes. Only a few o fashion gold jewel were permitted as adornment. He ran to the dining room to prepare the table for two, putting a candle in the middle of the two large dishes. When she heard the key in the lock of the door, he trembled uncertainty.

-Ciao, Marcy! You've been a good day?

She had been lucky, Manele came good. Perhaps, after having resigned angry the night before, he wanted to fix things, she knows how much he loves her. She noticed a change in his face, hi was drunk.

-Why do you have makeup so much?

She fears that all will ruin at a time, as had often happened, she went out, but instead Manele approached determined and hugged her with force.

-Let me see what is mine.

Marcy notice, without saying a word, what seemed the greatest praise that could emerge from the mouth of a man.

He sat at the table, expectant, noting the well prepared dishes.

-So now we party...

-None of the other world, love. A few minutes and start.

Before returning to the kitchen, Marcy looked upon her husband an instant, fascinated by her beauty, her swarthy, her dark eyes of steel, his black hair kinky, long just below the ear, as he liked it.

-Come me the bathrobe.

When she returned with the garment, he had been stripped of his white shirt, and his well trained torso looked naked, dazzling, crossed only by a fine chain of gold, with a cross. He was sitting in the chair, only illuminated by the light of the candle. He seemed to a romantic, wonderful.

Marcy present a warm vegetable cream and a few omelettes, accompanied with a variety of breads and a semi-sparkling wine.

-Children, do well?

-Yes love, sleep like little angels.

-Thus I like! The girls of the office are well for what they are; but the wife of one, in the house, that there is so much dog loose out there, do you understand?

He stood without dessert, sat on the ground, on the carpet, grabbed her by the hand and dragged her to his side. There was no doubt what was what they wanted and when he wanted. Ripped clothing, one and the other, like two wild, and they made love in the soil until exhaustion.

 

 

 

4

 

When she woke up in the morning, he already was gone. When

she opened her eyes came to her mind the past night of love, and felt a peak of peace and energy.

After some routine tasks of the house and bring children to the school, Marcy met with her friends in the Corner Café. Thursday was the day they had indicated to see and share a good time to talk and confidences, taking a good coffee with cream and grated chocolate on top, the local specialty. Meeting with those two girls, with which she had completed high school at the Institute of Greda and who had been intimate friends at that time, was a coincidence.

In Mazello, had returned to their relationship, after many years without seeing, a friendship that came from their respective couples witch were working colleagues, for a time, in the same company, the multinational Duxa Limited, and arrived to set up his own business in common.

Despite the fact that theirs was a friendship of ups and downs.

There was long-standing antagonism, from childhood, which had increased following the successes of Elisabeth with the boys, at the time of secondary between Laura and Elizabeth. Marcy was, at that time, the mediator, which maintained a delicate balance. But made three good friends.

When they reunited they were around the border of forty years old.

As soon as arriving spotted to Laura, who had already asked their coffee, and sat down beside her.

Laura did not speak of anything other than his daughters. He placed the latest adventures of girls as if they were front-page news.

-Laura!, your child are great, you should be more selfish and care more yourself, buy modern clothing…, if we neglect, then let's look like old women.

Laura wore very poor, and Marcy understand that lack of vanity as the main fault of a woman. This was not the case of Elizabeth that made an impressive appearance in the café. First hours in the morning and already looked like a model: trousers and jacket adjusted, marking his excellent figure, a discrete and effective makeup, high boots with pants bass inside, beautiful bag and the blonde mane, ironed to perfection. Heads focused in her while she advanced safely to the table of her friends. She came wrapped in a cloud of expensive perfume.

Elisabeth took a seat beside Marcy and removed with elegance her scarf, her leather gloves, and dropped them on the table with parsimony, slipped a hand inside the bag, and took a cigarette. Even the smooth movement of her fingers using the package and her gold cigarette lighter, they produced an aura of magnetism. It was fortunate, thought Marcy.

-Hello, girls! How are we? -He questioned the newly arrived.

They began to talk about some platitudes of the time, the price of the shopping, as they used to when they were assembled.

-Has been cooled much - said Marcy-, I will buy today a coat, maybe I threw and I buy one fur.

-This is wonderful, you do very well! So are taught men what is one women worth. Elizabeth was tremendous with your partner, or at least that is deduced by his way of speaking.

-Girls, you know, we should bind them short, spend their money and give them a scare from time to time, unless they accustomed. It is what works. If you're a saint, you become a miserable.

Elisabeth, always provocative, enjoyed of scandal.

-Please, Ely, what things do you say, think like the grandmothers, have heard talk of liberation of women? -Laura replied.

It was the only one who, in addition to the care of her house and her daughters worked as administrative at a Social Center.

-Think what you want, friend! And you, Marcy, don´t pay attention, this girl goes the way to be sanctified.

 

 

 

5

 

The theme of men was recurring among friends.

Rare was the opportunity on which they met that she doesn´t speak about any problems with them. All well known to the respective couples, some time ago, also had shared work and friendship; but later they only had casual encounters at the Mall or on the streets of Mazello.

Matches that Manele remarked, when they were with Elizabeth, with: "that friend of yours is very pretty" and so, which he nailed to Marcy, like a bolt in the middle of the heart. Elizabeth already maintained a long coexistence with his partner, a beautiful and successful, mature and she was happy to be maintained, had neither children nor thought to have them, ha¬d good clothes and beauty and hair salon sessions. Nothing to do with the fat clerk Laura´s husband, the antithesis of seduction, but a sure husband.

For her part she sought to speak little of his intimate life, and if she did explained short and above, by making them see a routine, a boring existence. She would have never dared to tell them her secret. To confess them what was happening, her fault for not being quite pretty, or rather intelligent, had not been able stay in love with her husband with the passage of the years. It would have been an unbearable humiliation.

"It was not always thus, we lived a dream of honeymoon”. But soon, the disappointments appeared in their marriage. She was abstracted, pensive.

-But Marcy, what distracted you are!, tell me what you're thinking of, please.

-Nothing, Ely, anything, I thought in the coat.

-Yes, Yes, girl, today you will buy it.

After finishing the coffees, Elisabeth proposed them take a stroll through the city to visit the most exclusive shops. Despite the resistance of Laura, the three took a taxi heading towards the Centre of Greda.

The city, close to one million inhabitants, wore spectacular that tomorrow, with the group of skyscrapers in the financial centre, trimmed in the azure, surrounded by blocks of buildings in beautiful architecture and, more to the outside, modern neighbourhoods that grew in direction to the small rural populations, whose houses are scattered here and there as if they had been deposited randomly from the sky.

Mazello was one of those towns of outskirts where, to its original configuration of old peasant houses, it had been adding urbanization of residential buildings and villas of new construction for young families who were fleeing from the bustle and high prices of the city. It had become the further expansion of the city.

The vehicle headed to good speed one of the major avenues of access to the city to the area of the Boulevard, where were the most exclusive fashion shops. They entered a fur shop, whose owner was known of Elizabeth and reviewed all models. On the counter lay small objects desktop design, luxury, and the credit card machine. Inside gold metal and glass furniture were the complements, sheltered from the greed of the clients. It sounded like a piano jazz music.

She stayed as hypnotised, looking at those so exclusive articles.

-Take it! It´s beautiful… -Laura showed her a coat of shaved mink colour cinnamon buckled with a belt. Marcy deployed the garment, put it on and adjusted the belt. He noticed that it smell a wonderful perfume. The girls looked to her.

-Girl, take it, dare once! Some time ago that you wanted -said Isabel.

Laura remained neutral, the coat´s prices was very heigth. Marcy thought for a moment, in impress Manele, with the coat over a white linen. A weapon of seduction guaranteed. Perhaps they give facilities to pay for it. Soon after, they was leaving the establishment, Marcy carried a huge bag with her purchase.

They were as happy as schoolgirls coming to an innocent prank.

 

 

 

6

 

-Marcy! Marcy! He turned to see who called and recognized Nacho, former teammate of the faculty. Nothing had changed; he had the same facade of university, restless, likeable, which she had shared many hours of classes, exams, life opening ahead. Since that time she had not seen him. Because, once finished the studies, life took different paths. They were updated in minutes, talking to the speed of those who have to recover much in a short time.

-Now you can see, Nacho, after so many years of suffering in the faculty, I got to housewife and mother, end of story! What do you think? I am a conventional woman. Manele works and travel a lot and I have to be aware of the children.

It passed by her mind an image of those times: the first time she saw Manele entering class, the first course, so handsome that all the girls began to whisper. He became the most prominent, the most popular, he got good grades without effort and he had a bright future. He drove car to the faculty, when most students arrived on the bus, and he wore designer clothes and glasses of latest model. A good boy of a good family. Manele unleashed passions and he knew it, she was in love with the first day that saw him. Nothing to compare to Nacho, just a student, just a friend. The newly found looked at Marcy with enthusiasm and took out from her memory.

-By you don´t pass the time, hey, a homemaker, as you say, but very, very attractive! The compliment of a friend, is the best to be overlooked.

-You, how about? Do you work?

-At work I was okay, I work with the north americans in a multinational company, I can not complain. But recently I separated, I had to leave my chalet of married and bought a flat in the outskirts, near here, in Mazello, I have a son... is hard to getting used to…

He explained to Marcy that he worked recently in Lank Corporate, a mega company dedicated to the production of technology, although his specific position was in the Finance Department, one of the most powerful of the company.

-Then you'll know that Manele is working on the Duxa Limited, also in finance, right?

-Of course, Marcy, they are our main competitors. We are like the dog and the cat, to see which brings the most advanced technological component. Business is business, but fair play, huh?, fair competition.

Marcy not remembered that Manele had spoken of Nacho, perhaps he did not know yet that he had gotten into Lank Corporate, intractable rival of the Duxa.

-Enjoy your single life. I am your neighbour in Mazello!

-Very good, great!

Always so cheerful Nacho, he was an optimistic.

The two were concentrated in his particular talk, when friends, waiting a few steps from them, began to be impatient.

-Marcy! –claim to her Elizabeth -we're being late... we are going to miss the bus!

He dismissed Nacho with so much to say, they were eager to further conversation.

-Hey, we live so close we will find again… see you soon!

-Goodbye, Nacho! was great to meet you again.

The two friends parted with the kisses of rigour and a hasty flutter of hands and looks backwards, while they were wrapped by the crowd of the rush hour, walking through the Boulevard looking for lunch.

 

 

 

7

 

He stayed in the city to visit her parents, after leaving Elizabeth and Laura at the Mazello´s bus stop. Marcy was attempting to visit them often, well alone, well accompanied by children, and occasionally, also with Manele. The elderly was living alone and she was the only daughter, since she married always had felt the responsibility not to miss her.

-Marcelina, daughter! What a joy seeing you here!

Parents never got used to use the nickname, and Marcy never accustomed to his first name, Maria Marcelina.

-Hi, mom! I came shopping and it occurred to me to pass by here to visit you, today I had time. Dad is not at home?

-Yes, daughter, have you had your lunch already?

-I took a sandwich and a soda before coming, but I would like a cup of coffee. She had taken the precaution to let the bag, with the coat, to Elizabeth, a bright, black bag with the word fur in golden letters, which did not pass unnoticed. He was afraid of his mother, if she saw the bag and coat.

They entered in the room when the father was seated at the round table, taking a steamy and black coffee. His mother always used some precious Chinese porcelain, their wedding gift, and preserved in a glass showcase.

-Daughter, what a surprise! how are my grandsons?

In his past life he had never been so affectionate with her, her own daughter.

-At school, my father. This is the first year that they stay there to eat, and now I have more free time, I will come to see you more often.

-And Manele, daughter?, where is?, from travel? -asked the mother while she served coffee.

Marcy put into the coffee some saccharin.

-Yes, travel, this time will be out a week, at Brexals, will be back next Thursday, it seems to me very long, mom.

-I am not surprised, Manele is so worker..., a jewel of husband. What luck you have had to catch him. And so handsome! -said the mother while she drunks the coffee, holding the cup with the little finger straight.

Amelia always advocated him. For a time Marcy had hinted the violent character of Manele, but the mother avoided put against his son-in-law. Told her: "there are to endure, daughter, life is tough, what would you do alone, without him, with two small children?" "You have affectionate, his character will eventually softening, you know that he loves you too much". Father always had been more cautious, more neutral and when he heard them speak thus, waning without giving his opinion. They were ancient, the men and women together with their children, at all costs. But Amelia well knew from experience her daughter´s spoke.

To avoid problems, Marcy left to talk about what was happening in the intimacy of your partner. Coffee from her mother was delicious, nobody knew to do it as good as her.

-Why do you take saccharin, daughter? –by the tone of voice of her father she realized that he didn't like it.

-I said her, Arthur, but she is always in the idea that she is fat.

-Come! Let me quiet drinking my coffee.

Those things were even funny but his parents, at times, become tiresome for any reason. "These are the classic topics of parents when you visit them, the same as always".

Parents claimed her by children and she promised an upcoming visit bringing them. She left her parents in the small room and get out the house. She pulled the door on the outside, taking the outer knob until was heard the characteristic snap, that indicates it was tightly closed. He released a sigh thinking of her past life, spent with them, and that would never more. Although in this life, not everything was good.

 

 

 

8

 

Arthur, his father, a metal industry worker, had become very bad periods in their working live. Retirement and the arrival of the grandchildren had changed a lot, and even more, stop drinking alcohol as told his doctor. But his daughter remembered well when he was returning from the bar, tired of the work, and with many glasses of wine over.

Unknown to her why, when Marcy was a teenager, the father became an alcoholic. Although Marcy and his mother were already lying, he arrived willing to organize a scene. Lifting the mother to give him dinner, and any insignificant thing was the cause of a quarrel. She scared much with the discussions of the parents and covered the ears with all his strength to attenuate the screams. Once the father ended in the quarter of Marcy and took her out of bed to continue the discussion.

-Watch your daughter! I don´t believe that she is mine. She doesn´t seems to me!

When he pulled out this topic, it wanted to say that he was coming but very angry, and Marcy died of fear that could paste it.

-Look at her! the only child, the spoiled child.

He sometimes picked and gave her a few slaps on the face, depending on how he had the day. The efforts of the mother by defend Marcy did not serve too much. Ever, she had piss above while his father tracked every feature of her face, in search of the ultimate test. When he was jealousy attack there was nothing to do. After that the parents were going to continue the discussion, and Marcy stayed in her room, lying face-down on the bed, crying hours and hours, not understanding what was happening, thinking that if she were best or prettier or more intelligent, or if she had been a child, her father would love her.

Even for a time, she insisted on carrying almost shaved hair and always dresses pants and said she wanted to be a metallurgical worker. The father, the next day of those scandals, was returning very sad from work. He sat his daughter on his knee and pressed her very hard. Marcy felt that his father was sorry.

-Let's see, love, tell me what you are going to be.

And she said many, many times, "metallurgical worker, as you", and he laughed and cried at the same time. And Marcy was so happy at that time that she could not stop saying "metal worker" to brighten up his father and could come to love her one day. He remembered that every day of his life and even more when he visited the parents.

Luckily, everything had changed so much that the past appeared to be a crazy nightmare. Only remained, as silent witnesses of everything, the same plush dolls, already old, on the same bed, but its owner had grown and was gone.

 

 

 

9

 

It was late when she appeared at the school yard gate and noted that her sons were playing football to spend time. Not had meant the same the birth of the oldest one, when even the couple was at its best that the arrival of the small one, that Marcy seemed to be a clone of Manele. She noticed in their feelings and their treatment towards children, those differences, but she didn't matter.

-Paul, it is now there mom! -shouted the child.

She expected sitting at the wheel, while the children were hasty and accommodated their backpacks. He returned to give the baby a slap in the face.

-How many times I have to tell you that you do not shout?

The oldest one looked to his mother in the eyes, inquisitive.

-Do you are happy, mom?

"How much he seems to me". Paul and his mother are communicated at the speed of lightning. She had little time to get home and wait for the call from her husband, as he always did when he was away.

-You come, go to the shower that is ringing the phone -she told to the children when they arrived at home. She was sure that they had already sounded many bells before the first she heard.

-It's about time! -Claimed him on the other side-. I have little time and above make me wait, where were you?

-Love, I was visiting my parent´s house and made me late, how are you?

-The day of meetings. And you, can I know what do you do all day outside home?

Manele had banned her to have mobile telephone, said that to save, an apology without foundation, but she knew that it was a way to control her. While travelling he called by the landline to know the time she spent outside the home.

-Well, today also took the opportunity to have coffee with friends, I did some shopping and now come with the children.

"Manu, this set looks good?" It was a voice of a woman that was next to her husband, a very sensual voice. A prick of angst left her without breath, without voice. He used to call her from his room, while he was on trip to the back of the work. But that day, in his room, was also a woman, insurance. The worst ideas crossed her mind; perhaps one of his pretty workmates maintained an affair with him. Manele was always delighted to have trips. She heard on the other side a sneeze of her husband, faked, believed Marcy, intending to cover the sentence of the girl.

-What is the weather out there? here raining non-stop -he said, evasive. Marcy could barely articulate a word.

-It is too cold, love, and I miss you a lot.

When they finished the conversation, she felt so blocked that she could only say a farewell phrase. "It could be a crossing of lines, in a long distance call may occur, there was much noise".

-Does daddy already hung? -asked the young child, in his pyjamas since.

-Yes, he has much work - she said distracted-. Put you right now to do the job! The little one started playing while Paul, a nine years old boy, two more than his brother, entered the kitchen to help her, always responsible, her preferred. He saw in the face of the child a gesture of concern, a certainty that some trouble was between the parents. She tried to camouflage, as he could, his displeasure.

-Good little boys! Go eating! I have prepared some delicious burgers; you are going to suck your fingers.

While dined his sons, Marcy was launched to review your purchases and your wallet full of apprehension. The last few days she had played the machine too much. She started winning 500 euros and was hoping and betting more and more, until she lost twice. Each new day she thought it would be the recovery. A recovery that never arrived, and every day losses were accumulating. She knew some places where Manele kept money extra, and already desperate, unable to do the purchase the next day, she took his pocket money. While there was money to feed the machine, there was no problem, if not, she was in a mood of a thousand demons.

 

 

 

10

 

Care for their children at bedtime, directing their preparations rituals, kiss and embrace them once they were lying in his bunk and give them good night, was what more fulfilled her life.

-Mom, don't worry about anything, when I grow up I will defend the wicked! They began to play with two plastic swords to medieval knights. But Marcy was not spirit of tolerating theirs excitement and sent them to sleep. There were silent protests but Marcy with little patience, turned off the light and waited to hear their breaths matching, announcing the dream. She dined a light snack and turned on the TV in his room, to distract from their confused thoughts, more black doubts; the female voice had recorded in his brain, was installed in his heart as a slab. Again, in a jacket she had found the ticket of an expensive perfume, which was not for her. And so, was more often. He had another woman; she did not want to deceive, no doubt, for more time that she suspected. There was always another.

Manele accused her of jealous and he had reason. She could not stand the looks that threw him the companions of the faculty when they were dating and walked hand in hand and, even worse, when the first visits to the wine-growing property of in-laws met the neighbour, so feminine that did not seem a women's field, wearing great guy and outfit and appearing there, as soon as they put the foot on the farm.

Marcy acknowledged something sickly in her jealousy. She recalled the words of his mother: "At night always looks everything worse than it is". She was exaggerating, there was nothing to fear. When he was on his journey was that other women could like him, but he was a family man, despite being so attractive, why was going to be unfaithful and jeopardize his home? He was too smart to get involved in problems... She admired so much that she always was a justification. She got up from bed and pulled out the contents of the bag had left, arriving, abandoned at the entrance. She collected his hair in a high bun and is amused testing her clothes more sexy, with the new coat on top. She would complement the outfit with boots and discrete jewels of design that had purchased recently. She was powerful, secure of their femininity. If she remained strong, nothing and no one could break their love. She picked the phone, searched for the key's last call and, instinctively, she struck. It was only one o´clock in the morning, Manele picked his phone on the other side.

-Marcy, I am asleep, I'm exhausted -he said, while she recorded any suspicious sound. She not heard anything more than the sticky voice of her husband.

-Sorry, honey, I just call to wish you good night.

She had heard what she wanted to hear, and hung up. Once more his unfounded panic had played a dirty trick. Their fears were transformed into a sweet placidity, which took her to sleep as soon as she fell out in bed.

 

 

 

11

 

Eventually she acknowledged her mistake by the devious way that got her first pregnancy. Just married, Manele did not want to become a father. Just settled in Mazello, the company offered him a transfer to a distant country which name Marcy never had heard. She didn't want to leave in any way.

In addition, already completed her studies, and still living with her parents, she had taken the habit of the game. One day, no more reason, she entered a game room next to her house and consumed on a machine slot all the money that was to make the purchase. Just when she got inside the last coin that she had, thinking about the excuse that she was going to give to his mother, for example that she had stolen the wallet on the bus, the machine awarded the prize most, jumping coins with such violence and speed which exceeded over the box falling some of it to the ground. She collected all and entered a bank, to exchange them for paper money, and then entered into a boutique of fashionable, the most exclusive of Greda, and bought underwear firm. Since then, she was hooked. Every time she wanted more luxury clothes and had to play to get it. She went out, every morning, to seek employment, with her curriculum under the arm, but that work was never founded. It was the excuse to throw time playing. He pulled their parents money, with the apology from enrolling in courses of languages or similar things, but that money was transformed into coins, which ended inside the game machines. She came to deceive her parents, and even to Manele, when they were singles, saying she was taking the accounts of a community of neighbours. All lie, and she has remorse. And finally began to be jealous of Manele, professional jealousy and jealousy by any women who were with him. Out of that impasse, she decided to become pregnant, against the will of her husband. She would leave his fictional work to take care of the child and avoid leaving abroad. There was no other solution.

 

 

 

12

 

Manele returned from his journey past a week of his departure, so late, that Marcy and his sons were already in bed. She, contrary to her wish, remained motionless, almost containing breathing, pretending to sleep. She noted as he was introduced in the bed, stealthy, without turning on the light, and slept in a few seconds. When he woke up the next day, he already was gone. She dressed a discreet model of skirt and tight sweater, with boots to the knee, made up his eyes and lips slightly and left her hair loose, rolling on their backs. That morning felt well, plethoric. "I'm going to take the reins of the situation." She took the kids to school after she made the purchase, with the intention of preparing a dinner surprise for two. She acquired special dishes, a small container of caviar, extra medallions of sirloin and exotic berries, as well as a bottle of rosé wine. She was later to play a few coins, resulting in a good profit of fifty euro. "Today I planted here". That day she was in a good shape. She returned home to have the purchase in the refrigerator and prepared a light sauce to accompany meat. He planned to go to the work of her husband at the time of departure to give him a surprise, knowing that Friday he was leaving his work at three. He placed the new fur coat on his clothes and adjusted the belt with a double knot. Long above the knee, the same long of the skirt, gave her a look both youthful and exclusive. She adapted so well that it seemed made to measure. She passed in front of the mirror stopped admiring the result. She took a light snack and went to the Centre in the bus, stopping in the vicinity of the work of him. She was approached at the time of departure from the Zeol Center, arresting metres from the main gate, when they began to leave employees. A marvellous business woman, platinum blonde, appeared at that time, joking fun with someone that accompanied and appearing behind her with glowing face. Despite the distance and the tumult, she recognized that who escorted the blonde was her husband. Marcy, instinctively, hosted by the side of a street to be unseen by the couple and be able to dominate his courage. She watched them marching, happy-go-lucky, by the sidewalk, back to her, stopping a stretch further, while they were continuing their animated conversation. "I have to face it". She was not going to scare by the blonde platinum woman. Determined, he began to walk behind the couple, said the name of her husband and he became.

-Marcy, what do you do here?

His expression let suggest a poorly disguised anger.

-Sorry Sonia - said to his colleague, expected a few steps away- we will try in detail this subject next Monday Ciao!

Just when his work mate took a taxi, Manele began to download their rage against Marcy.

-I had tell you not come here to make me look ridiculous in front of people? You know that I do not like-. He was beginning to exalt himself.

-Love, wanted to give you a surprise. Today is the anniversary of our first time.

He brought thought that justification, but not with the erotic, convincing point that she had prepared.

-And.., this coat? Where do you have taken it? you've don´t bought it, don´t you? We are not for such luxuries.

-Well..., my friends encouraged me to buy it, I thought that you would like. -Although a monkey dresses of silk...

Marcy felt absurd, disguise, silly. She was not right.

 

 

 

13

 

They entered the parking lot, without looking or crossing a word. They went into the car as automata, they closed the doors of the powerful sport car, and a roar of the engine, announced the departure of the vehicle. As they advanced towards her house, Manele remained silent; she noted, for the expression of their eyes and led his jaw, his furious mood. They arrived to their building´s garage and came out, toward the elevator, Marcy behind him. Just cross the door of the house, Manele shouted.

-But you believe you can go out there that way? at the door of my work! You are putting me in evidence in my company, you don't understand? -He said, speaking to her, holding her with force by arms.

She subsided, thinking that it was the best, but he began to antagonize with force and then stripped her of her coat.

-Expending my money like that…! You are going and return it, but already! You must ask to me!

He directed towards the bedroom, where he threw down the garment and then threw it to her, of face to face, on the bed. He lifted her skirt with rudeness and fell, collapsing on it, with all his weight.

-You're going to find out who's here the boss, Maria Marcelina!

He forced her unless she could do nothing to contain it, only perceive the wheezes from him and expect to finalize as soon as possible. As if he wants to seize up her soul.

-Get up! -He was already standing and was heading to the bathroom-. We will have to call the nanny, today we have dinner in the company. Get the green wool suit and pick your hair up.

Marcy entered into the bathroom of the children and left to run the shower on his bruised body, several red thinly in his arms noticed the traces of Manele´s fingers. What a rare form of love was it. "Daughter, it´s his nature, but acts so because he loves too much," so said his mother and so it should be, that phrase resonated in her head. "He acts so because he wants to so much."

They soon reach children, riding fun for the reunion with his father.

-Daddy, daddy, daddy! -shouted the smallest.

-Here I am, champion -replied Manele, while leaving the bathroom, equipped with his bathrobe. The little one was released to his arms.

-What you have brought me, daddy?

Manele deployed, without delay, the many gifts which had bought them at the airport, just the preferred by the children. Marcy opened the closet to select clothes and took the green suit. The long skirt below the knee, and jacket, closed by a row of buttons, up to the neck, made it oldest. In addition the type of cloth, thick and deformable made she seem more fat, so never wore it. He smelled something rancid, took a perfume and smashed it on the suit. She made up her face with a thick layer of foundation and painted her lips in red. He approached Manele to tell him that she was ready. He had dressed with a magnificent dark suit, cutting modern, adjusted to his body, and a white silk shirt. "He cannot be more handsome". At one point, she already had forgotten everything that happened.

-Bye bye, children, be good!

Marcy observed an air of sadness in the face of Paul, as if the child had understood that it was something bad between his parents.

-Until morning, kids! -She said.

And went to his eldest son a sweet looking, wishing with all his being than anything, ever, could hurt him.

 

 

 

14

 

Dinner at the famous CityCent restaurant promised.

Marcy already had attended in the past events of the Duxa Limited, but that night was going to be special, was expected to the staff of the company. A long and upbeat table, prepared with luxury, awaited the distinguished guests. The table was ware with first class linen, and in front of each dish, a set of very fine crystal glasses. The group was gathering in the bar, then went to the dining room and took seat each in the place indicated on their respective card, employees at one end of the table and accompanying persons to the other.

Marcy had quite far from Manele and in his same side of the table, so that only saw him from time to time, according to the movement of heads they separated them. She noted that, in front of him, Sonia had been sitting.

The ladies spoke banal conversations that Marcy just heard while she was monitoring the evolutions of her husband. Children and the house were the topics preferences in that class of events; ladies, as dizzy parrots, spoke all at the same time. Marcy said something, from time to time.

-Marcy - told the wife of one of the executives -he looks Manele fascinated with Sonia.

Marcy warned in his eyes a curiosity morbid to see the reaction to her words. The others paid attention.

-They are so workers! They do not speak more than the company -Marcy answered with little faith in have managed to erase the effect of the lady´s words. "Old witch, old cockatoo". Willingly she had emptied design water pitcher, above his terrible hairstyle, old-fashioned. She looked, as soon as she could, in direction to her husband, noting, with dissimulation, that Sonia, seemed ready to use its weapons of women. The executive paid attention to his teammates as if they were supermen, but, above all, was attentive to Manele. She went to the bathroom, showing, in view of all, its minimum black suit, that let it see her beautiful legs. Returning, while she accommodated her handbag, she discovered among the jacket flaps, two portions of chest lush. There was no movement of the blonde platinum Marcy not observed, in a dance that was studied to perfection to conquer her husband. The divine blonde platinum was at the peak of her seduction. Marcy had to make use of all its cold blood to control her, while talking with her partners, almost without knowing what she said. The delicacies, presented in enormous plates, which seemed more works of art that foods were available. In other circumstances, Marcy would have appreciated much those foods, but at that time everything seemed to be strange, as part of a function of theatre in which she was barely helper.

 

 

 

15

 

They were at dessert when the director-general stood up and rang his cup as if it were a bell, hitting it with the blade of a knife.

-Ladies and gentlemen... attention, please! I am pleased to announce the new International Plan of expansion of the company Duxa Limited.

The assistant director, the twelve executives and his companions, remained in an expectant silence.

-Date two of January of the next year 2006, three of our executives will be earmarked for the new international unit in the city of Brexals.

The eyes of attendees crossed between. Marcy noted that Manele remained quiet, as if he knew the outcome in advance.

-Employees that will be part of the Brexals unit will be: Miss Sonia, our chief cxecutive, Manuel, and the assistant director of the company - the general director looked at each one of them, as he was mentioning.

Marcy couldn’t believe what she had heard, the name of her husband. "To Brexals, is two thousand kilometres from here, on the other side of the continent". This was not possible. She knew that the assistant director was a single life and that his parents had just died, he kept nothing back; and Sonia was foreign, from a Nordic country, living single, for her was the same to be on one site or another. But Manele would have to leave his family. The above three were exclaiming gratitude to his boss, but the assistant director was which released a short speech.

-We will be happy to serve as the company require, Raul, I thus summarize the overall feel of all my colleagues and myself. You did not disappoint. Marcy was dazed for the rest of the night.

After dinner, came to have a last drink in a nearby bar. Later, already on the street, those elected received the more or less sincere congratulations from the rest of the employees and spouses. Ladies also congratulated Marcy, and she seemed to see in their faces a deliberate malignancy, as if they were telling her that Sonia were stealing her husband in her same face, as if they enjoyed with their grief. "I'm getting me paranoid".

She was at the centre of a coven.

That meeting in the cold night, when the city was deserted, only lit by rows of ominous lampposts, was in her memory as the picture of desolation. Returning to his home, Marcy made a great effort to contain her sadness. Ask him to not leave, say him that she could not live without him, to request a transfer or change of employment, would not be anything. She thought about it, but she knew that it would not be useful at all, the pleas and tears would make no more result that make things worse. When she slept in the bed, at his side, she stood stiff as a table, so that he not realized her desperation, until that she was surrendered to the dream.

 

 

 

16

 

Little known Marcy about the assistant director of Duxa Limited, except that he lived alone, had no family and that he was destined to lead the international unit of Brexals, where it would be the boss of her husband and Sonia. He was thin, dark skinned and he had a long, black, hair slicked, always combed backwards. To Marcy seemed the kind of people who are always hiding something. Marcy came to think that he liked the guys; by the way in which he looked at the official handsome of the company, but who had predilection was for Manele. He was a recalcitrant single, one of Greda gold singles. She ended up imagining all sorts of nonsense about the reasons why the international unit had been created. She was almost as jealous for the assistant director as for Sonia, the divine blonde platinum, a true agony for any woman, housewife, who begins to see his position in jeopardy. Manele not saved comments on one and the other women, paying the fears of Marcy. It was candidate for development, capable of reaching the top with the support of the assistant director, a man of influence, who was his godfather, according to Manele. And Marcy had to hear everything without blinking, and saving all inside, as in a pressure cooker. All for the good of the family, as Manele said.

Her jealousy and the desire for possession were going to get her crazy. There were days by days spent hours, distracted, while domestic tasks, torturing her with those thoughts. Her husband was going to leave her, and she will become an embittered housewife, whose only consolation would be to go to mourn the penalties to their friends, to then get into bed in solitude. Be one unsuccessful woman.

 

 

 

17

 

A few days before that dinner was announced the transfer of Manele, as they watched a little television, before going to bed, he had begun to put her into background. She realized this time after.

He was eyeing the newspaper, sitting on the sofa with their feet high, as it had.

-Do you know that I am a candidate for development? Not refers to anything else in the company.

-Candidate to development? -Marcy did not understand the jargon.

-That I'm in the tiny group of which we are going for managers... do understand? He spoke carefree, turning the leaves of the diary as if he were reading.

-The worst is that the company charged you a toll, is not so easy. Maybe a time abroad.

He was still talking as if it were for himself.

-So it's not a country at war I agree! -He closed the newspaper.

He took the remote control and set to jump from channel to channel. He stopped at one that put a comic series and laughed loudly.

Marcy was uneasy by what he had heard, but strove to smile.

-Everything depends on the Assistant Director. Manele lit a cigarette, the latter used to smoke before going to bed.

-What a man!. Today we were finishing a meeting and started to joke with me, what most beautiful shirt and how well I sat, what so well coordinated tie. He said that whith me he was at the end of the world.

He smoked slowly, recreating in spirals that drew the smoke in front of him.

-He said that in a meeting?

-Of course, joking...

Manele already laughed without stopping.

-What I was missing! Have a partner with a man, who is also my boss.

Marcy thought that, ultimately, Manele felt flattered by the jokes of the Assistant Director. He feared that the joke, as sometimes happens, had a background of truth.

But she hid her fears and accompanied him on his good humor and laughs. Threw a pillow to his face.

-Stop, I gonna burn! -answered him turning off the cigarette.

-Come on, Mr Chief Executive, do you accompanied me to the bedroom?

 

 

 

18

 

When she was alone she shunned in cleaning the house, and his head worked without stopping, so twisted thoughts, that would have shaken anyone.

Marcy knew that she wasn't well received from Manele´s family from the beginning, they see her with suspicion, as if she had stolen them their son, and Marcy never knew to be forgiving enough. In fact, she had recorded that they scrutinized her adventures through the streets of Greda in order to catch her in a bad step. One day he found them out of a game room that she frequented, and they greeted with coldness and thereafter, Marcy had the impression that they were following her.

And it is that the in-laws were the perfect candidate for your child. Already the first visits to their wine property, Marcy found the existence of that girl, heiress of the property of the side, which was in love with Manele, and who Marcy had to accept resignedly. Marcy believed in-laws supporting the girl well, for future merge properties, as when, in historical times, joined the kingdoms on the basis of concluded marriages.

So, now that Manele moved to work outside the country, she even perceived in the in-laws a perfidious satisfaction. And what more tortured her anything, was thinking that her own mother made friendship with the winemakers. She agreed with them in everything and not believed to Marcy in their objections to his political family. It seemed to her that her mother wanted to place his daughter, at the expense of what was.

She watched herself alone, escorted by their poor children. A Mrs. nobody. But your in-laws better were careful, because she also knew a dirty secret of the cave. There were hidden secrets in the production of wine, which could make them too much damage if someone knew them. In-laws should appear that she knew and Marcy understood that this was her strength in that house, they would not dare to go against her. "Let us not hurt us, if you think". A child thought, a nonsense.

She needed something more solid, maybe a stroke of luck.

 

 

 

 

19

 

They were already late December, and approached the time of the dreaded separation. Manele, which not even considered the possibility of the transfer of his family, was preparing his departure, to take place in the early days of the new year.

She would stay in Mazello, with the children. He felt that her husband was more distant from her than ever before, that she was losing him. Christmas were arriving and it was the last event of the year, with her friends, in the Corner Café. Already they had, by telephone, the news of the transfer of Manele, the next day of the dinner of the company. And they had been impacted, especially Elisabeth, who didn´t could believe it.

-Take it easy, girl, we have us -the consolation of Laura did not raise her mood.

Elizabeth, even though she looked perfect, as it was customary, was distracted, absorbed, smoking a cigarette.

-She is right, Marcy -added without conviction.

The meeting was not, on that occasion, the sparkling grace of other times. They took their coffee, each one in their silence, when Laura was claimed to Marcy for something he had seen under her sweater sleeve.

-It is nothing, Lau…, I am going to the bathroom.

She locked herself in the toilet and took a small amount of permanent make-up, which always carried in the bag, and masked as she could the signals. She had the intuition that she had to wait a while, to avoid meeting someone.

Upon leaving, was Laura in the area of toilets.

-It wasn´t nothing, Marcy? Let me see... show me your arms!

She was going to be discovered, Marcy came down with force the cuffs of her jersey.

-Laura the perfect! Put yourself in your happy family life and leave me alone!

Her friend stayed standing, puzzled, and whispered some bewildered words of apology. At the time, both of them leaved the bathroom, with Marcy ahead. Marcy knew she had no right to treat Laura as well, that she had been reason to request explanations.

Shortly thereafter, the three friends were leaving the bar and said goodbye, wishing happy holidays with a class of forced enthusiasm.

 

 

 

20

 

The news of the departure of Manele came to aggravate the sadness that Marcy felt always, since childhood, when approached Christmas.

Every year, at that time, she felt that absurd and infant sorrow, but that year with much more reason, as if they were producing a hopeless end of something that nobody can define, as a catastrophe.

That year in particular she had no mood for anything.

Since she was married, once arrived December, she decorated her house until the last detail, with objects that she renewed each time, new colours and always different motifs, and she placed on a large tray Christmas sweets of all kinds, cut and ready for a snack. When Manele came, he went straight to the tray, and her accused her, joking, be developing a belly that he had not.

But that year in particular she did not put the tray and then repeated the ornaments of the previous year. She placed them anywhere, no sense. She didn´t cook special dishes, nor sent the greeting cards of her own handwriting, as it was her custom. She only expected to spend the holidays as soon as possible.

Family celebrations were made, even more, unbearable for her.

They joined, as every year, in the house of Marcy´s parents, to celebrate the Christmas meal. That year, as usual, also accompanied them her uncles. Since the children were born, that time of the year had acquired a very particular sense. Marcy understood, since she had them, how could there be a Christmas of truth, without. And that happiness was greater as were with their grandparents, together the three generations, sharing food, the roof and gifts.

But that whole year was very different and the illusion of her sons, unaware that it was happening, it did not reach her heart.

Arriving at the house of their grandparents of Greda, children were to the corner of the room, where they were deposited gifts, while Marcy, Manele and others went to the dining room. Her mother and her aunt had set the table as always: a set of dishes and glasses, which was only used on that day, with a napkin, next to each dish, which bore the name of each one embroidered on one corner. They sat in their appropriate place and took a few appetizers. It was the first time in many years, that Manele apologized and left food, after a few bites, saying that he had work backlogs.

Her mother then brought the roast and put him in the middle of the table and she served them.

-Daughter, lucky that you've had with him. While working out, you will not miss anything. I'm right, Mery?

-You are absolutely right -replied his aunt.

Her father and her uncle remained more cautious.

-Ahem! It is normal for her be a little nervous because her husband will leave –said Gerardo.

Her mother had prepared a roast pig very appetizing, but Marcy was eating without wanting to, without notice almost the taste.

On hearing the words of her uncle, he was afraid to cry in front of everyone. She took the jug of water and went towards the kitchen, with the excuse of filling it in order to control. When she returned, they were silent; children, on the room´s carpet, were still unwrapping toys.

-Will have to get used -said her father-. There is no other choice.

 

 

 

21

 

They spent New Year’s Day, as it was the custom, with Manele´s parents, owners of one of the finest vineyards of La Vitia. In that property, parties were very different to those of her parent’s house in Greda.

New Yea on the farm was a very notable date. Manele´s mother liked to make ostentation, and that year in particular, she really pushed the boat out. She released her best dishes and her best glassware of the showcase of the dining room, a carved wood, and dark furniture. The maid and the chef had set the large table to the smallest detail.

They often invited family and even some selected employees, who were, according to her mother-in-law, "like family", so it thus repeated to every little, remarking the difference. The owners of the estate were placed at the ends, and sat on both sides of the owner of the house, escorting her, her son and daughter-in-law. The children ate in the kitchen, with the employees, for they not have disturbing noises.

The cook brought a turkey roast stuffed, raised on the estate, in a huge, white source, surrounded by small round potatoes, and vegetables and carved it with skill. It served a reserve wine.

-To my son, serve the breast -said the head.

Josefa handed out the roast between all the guests. Then, the almond cake and Christmas sweets came on a golden platter.

-Do everything good, Miss? -the cook asked to Marcy, when she went to clear the table.

Her mother-in-law, who heard the question, anticipated response.

-Everything was very well Josefa, move out.

The owner of the house, to the desserts, on foot, had more proud than ever.

-I toast to my son, who has just been promoted to international director -she said, fraught with vanity. It was the version that she had understood and Manele not corrected her. Her husband, on the other side, lifted his cup, complacent.

But Marcy knew that there was something theatre at the party, cause her mother-in-law, a dominant mother, didn’t like her son to break, even more ties, with the family business.

It has had always been her greatest ambition that Manele worked full time in the wine property, perhaps with another woman other than Marcy, to be able to leave that mess.

 

 

 

22

 

Her mother-in-law was who wore wine business, and did so with authority, although Marcy never saw her doing physical work with vines. She didn´t appear on industrial premises never. The laborers, and especially the winemaker, had the responsibility.

When she was young, was the heiress of possession and her husband, a simple villager, went there without acquiring the greatest importance, as if he were a guest. With an employee and the cook at her disposal twenty four hours per day, she conducted domestic life to the smallest detail. And in the afternoons she sat in the room or on the front porch to make crochet until dinner time, monitoring time in time over his glasses, the progress of her home.

Marcy never enjoyed the sympathy of his mother-in-law. When they were traveling on family to spend holidays on the farm, she maintained a so rigorous control of the house that the daughter-in-law was barely allowed fry an egg.

But she had to admit that her mother-in-law cooked great snacks, sweet omelets and chocolate, which are shared around the table in the dining room to everyone, every day of the summer, even more during the harvest, when they set long tables, with banks, on the porch, to all employees, the seasonal workers, owners and their family. Marcy remembered always those moments, the joy of taste those delicious sweets among all the people.

Their children adored that farm, and they had good reason. Since they stopped being babies spent free time playing with other children or mingled with employees, bathing in the pool and walking on a bike. But Marcy felt that her mother-in-law, had build a high barrier that she could not move, indicating that she didn´t belong to that world, to making a difference, especially in domestic life.

Such was the cause that Marcy had love even more with vineyards. She spent her time in the field, next to the workers, and knew perfectly the progress of vines, according to the station of the year, as well as the production process of the wine, the racking, fermentation, bottling.

She helped in the work with her own hands.

But Marcy not passed unnoticed that, without a clear reason, the winery achieved disproportionate profits, which were used to purchase machinery, new land and start planting. Nobody could explain that prosperity.

Marcy couldn´t explain why a small family vineyard had experienced that exorbitant growth.

Of course her mother-in-law, like his son, had a great ability to make money.

Almost every day the young couple left the farm, to the nearby village, to make purchases and they went on errands of all kinds. A town where, in the evenings, after the worst hours of sun in summer, the only fun for people was sitting on the banks, that lined the main street, for watching everyone and criticize. And where in the winter did not see anyone day after day. In that town and its region, the time passed so slowly that it was always the same boring town and seemed not change ever.

The winemaker, a chemical engineer, was former employee of the Duxa Limited. Manele had transplanted him into property, and he lived in the village with his family and was responsible for the purchase of materials and products for the estate.

The young marriage used to accompany him and, after errands had done, they sat drinking some beers in a bar in town, before returning to the property to eat. At that time winemaker placed them abreast of everything that happened on the farm so that the couple, despite living and working out of there, was aware of every detail.

But Marcy was noting that the relationship was spacing with the passage of time, to the extent that winemaker avoided old meetings, and they were abandoning them. The winemaker became a nervous, elusive man. It seemed a person struggling to hide something dirty.

Even he got to tell Marcy, in an aside with her on the farm, words that did not allowed coming to no conclusion.

The man was suffering; Marcy had a sixth sense to that kind of things.

 

 

 

23

 

The only occasion that her mother-in-law allowed herself some affection with Marcy was during the celebration of the golden anniversary from the owners of the winery. It was held in the best restaurant in the town coinciding with the celebrations of the harvest, in an underground room, carved into the stone.

Her mother-in-law had got ready more than normal; a heavy gold bracelet, with some medals, also in gold, had been placed on her wrist and she went to the hairdresser, where she had made a highest backcomb than normal. She had put on her lips more red lipstick than she used to, leaving a few red striations on their upper teeth, which are visible in every smile. She had dressed her husband with a suit too big for him, and also had indicated to Marcy the clothes that they had to dress herself, Manele and the children.

Even they were the parents of Marcy. The winery´s owners also invited some family members, the winemaker and some older employees, who took there a silver tray engraved with the number fifty and two intersecting wedding rings.

She was really worked up. She had dressed a tight, large flowered, dress that looked great when she stood up, along with her husband, and they drank a toast to everyone with one of the best winery´s wine.

The young marriage had been placed escorting the eldest, Marcy next to his father-in-law and Manele next to his mother, in the center of a long table.

-Clean your teeth, please. You had stained with the lipstick - told Marcy, quietly, when her mother-in-law sat down with her tray in hand. The mother-in-law lifted her upper lip and spent a napkin by her teeth.

-Is okay, daughter?

Marcy nodded. She never called her daughter, she even called her by name.

-I'm so nervous that I don't know what I do! You know the temper that I have.

Marcy thought that it was a very good remark.

After, Marcy sat a while next to her parents.

-Do you see it? don´t you? You are in a very good position in this family - said Amelia.

The father nodded, and took a time complaining of his stomach ache, he did not know why, perhaps because his damned nerves.

 

 

24

 

Zeol Center, the most spectacular building of Greda´s Golden Mile, was a show of the construction in height, twenty years ago, and kept its hegemony among the group of skyscrapers that had been built in their environment.

Far from competitiveness, the new giants were surrendered to the wonderful Zeol, the boss of concrete and steel, formed by three huge cylinders, which were ended at different heights, the highest of all, crowned by a laser.

The greatest fan of the Zeol was Duxa´s assistant director. Marcy found out this a night in that Manele invited him to dinner at home, shortly before they moved to Brexals

The assistant director was that kind of employee obsessed with work. Hyperactive, consumed inside his loose costume, he arrived at nine in the evening, accelerated, with the briefcase of work in hand. The two colleagues had dinner. Marcy had already taken a sandwich and a cup of coffee and devoted herself to care for them, trying to hide and overcome the disgust to see them, so euphoric, making their plans for the new international unit.

A brand new universe in which she didn´t have room. An universe that, for more derision, already had its own princess, who was not her.

She felt the silly girl in the company, while they spoke their things. They were already taking a drink of whisky, while Marcy picked up the table. The officer spoke softly, as in secret, excited.

-We have to open business with high risk, Manele, we are going to success.

-Yes, Yes, man; the market is hot, hot, we have to give a good blow from the beginning -responded Manele-, and we put Sonia to control the network.

-You aren´t going to complicate your life, aren´t you?

Marcy threw a glimpse of sideways to the assistant director, while picking up the empty wine cups. It seemed that he looked at Manele slyly. "So they are joking about me in my own home". And she became such nervous that she left fall to the ground one of the cups.

-How clumsy you are -said Manele without paying greater attention to the mishap.

When she returned with the collector and the broom, they had already changed the item. They had sitting back to the dining room table and had deployed a plain architecture.

The assistant director was giving explanations and Manele listened to him. Marcy sat on the couch and she put the TV with low volume.

-Only it makes me sad have to leave this prodigy of architecture.

-A man in love with a skyscraper -said Manele with derision.

-See it, man, isn't it beautiful? It is like my son. Román and I we created it, what those times!

Guest began to describe the plane open in front of him, the sections, and the structure. He knew each and every one of the parts of the building, elevators, and security systems.

-When I'm bored, I pick the plane and I review it, so that I remember all, ever. This is the best kept secret of Greda, one would kill to know it - said the assistant director.

He had even a large magnifying glass to check the minimal details.

-The director will also have it, right? -asked Manele

-Oh, yes, and Román too -responded.

He began to fold the plane, with the ability to have done so many times, knowing the order of all the paper folding, until it was of a size that entered its portfolio. In the cover had been the name of the building in large letters, below the name of the architect, Roman, and at the bottom, in smaller letters, the name of the owner of that plane.

He got it into his briefcase.

- By Raul, this is unforgivable.

Raul was the name of Duxa Limited´s director.

-Don´t you forgive him? He had promoted you! -said incredulous Manele.

-You are an innocent man, kid.

They sat in chairs in the dining table smoking cigarettes. Marcy was still watching TV, but also listening to they were speaking. The assistant director extended his arms on the table paying the surface, the ice cream clashed into the vessels.

-That what he wants is to get rid of me... and you also, man.

-You are a grouch old man - said Manele, joking.

-Save you banter, kid, I know Raul, I know how he rid of those who can make him shadow.

-No problem. We will have a smash hit. Look what I say!

They had no more conversation and they finished their drinks. Manele volunteered to accompany his colleague to the portal of the building, to take a taxi.

-Bye, Marcy! Dinner was very good.

 

 

 

25

 

Manele already had an apartment hired in Brexals, in charge of the company and very close to his colleagues and the central business district, where would be the international unity´s office.

They came from spend the first days of the year in the house of in-laws, a calamity, an eternity, until arrived the day of Manele´s departure. She drove the car to take him to the airport.

He was giving her the latest indications, while Marcy drove to any gas. Her husband was going to catch a plane to going away for months, perhaps for years. He would come to see them once in a while and on holidays, but nothing would be as before.

-Go slower, girl, we are going to have an accident.

She don´t looked at traffic signals. Luckily, it was Sunday morning and there were almost cars. He saw as Manele watched, amazed, but already he didn´t say more on how to lead it.

-Well, take care for children.

-I´ll do it, don't worry.

-Especially the little one, that you know he is a naughty boy.

-Yes -she replied.

-You in your home, that anybody could say nothing about you.

-I only go with friends to coffee once a week, you know.

-So good. You know I like that you pick up the phone to the first - he said like reciting a litany.

Marcy answered to the litany as an obedient housewife

-I dislike women who, when the husband is away, they put on the miniskirt and are going to the street.

-A my nor I like - replied she feel a thing.

-I don´t like that people speak anything from you.

-You can rest assured - she said.

But Marcy don´t gave her recommendations on how it should be the behavior of him on Brexals.

She spoke as giving a lesson well learned, without knowing what she said. The entered the parking lot. To make a turn was opened not long enough and gave him a good blow to the rear wheel against the kerb

-You're not attentive, look a bit! -He said, already irritated.

She helped her husband to take the big wheeled suitcase, the same that they used to lead to their travels, years ago, when had not yet born children. They entered the hall of the airport and went to check luggage. They past a few tenses minutes, silent, waiting for the announcement of the departure gate. Marcy was afraid to lose control and break crying.

He dismissed her with two chaste kisses on the cheeks.

-See you soon, I will call you. Ciao.

And he turned to the direction to his new life. When he passed control of police and he lost among the crowd, she sat on a bench and began to cry in silence.

-Excuse me, Madam, are you fine? -said an agent.

-Yes, thanks, now I was going - she replied, putting on her sunglasses. He stood up and walked with step hesitant to get into his vehicle, where returned crying harder still. She started and drove in direction to her house, without hardly distinguish traffic signals, the lanes and traffic lights, through her eyes devastated in tears.

 

 

 

 

26

 

The Three Wise Man eve was cold, below zero. The snow had begun to fall in North´s mountains and threw a cold wind toward Greda´s town.

Marcy and children wore warm clothes and they took the car in the direction to an Inn of the suburb where her parents, as every year, had invited them to eat. The Inn, located on the outskirts of the city, was a typical, ideal place for winter´s meals, where it served cooked and meat stews, accompanied with simple wines of the country. Marcy loved this place, known since childhood.

They entered hurry because it snowed tiny snowflakes, they shook their clothes in the rustic lobby and a waiter helped them to accommodate the anoraks and other accessories in the cloakroom. Children´s glasses were cloudy by the heat.

-We don´t see anything mum! –they said.

She was gone without illusion, sensing the terrible absence of her husband on her side, but the tenderness of the children, with their cloudy glasses, encouraged her. She had a look at the Inn; in the background, sitting at a large table, close to the fireplace, her parents were waiting.

-Follow me, boys! I will lead you in the mist!

Shortly after they were seated, children began talk about Three Wise Man arrival. At the time came the food, soup steamy, served by the waiter gliding between people; then the main dish, a tasty dish of venison with potatoes.

When they began to enjoy the selection of desserts, Marcy, sitting in the centre of the local, came to distinguish a familiar face, Nacho, who shared table with a small child.

Without hesitation she got up and went to them. Nacho; nothing more to see her, he changed his face.

-Marcy! So nice to meet you!

She felt even more animated by the reunion with his friend.

-And this one is your child?

The little boy, of the same age as Manu, was eating a chocolate ice cream with fruition.

-Are you my son, Miguelito? -The small boy smiled, stained of chocolate-.I present you to an old friend of the faculty, which is not the same as an old woman!

He laughed, amused.

-Come, old joker, you come with us.

They sat together around a big table, next to the fireplace, the most welcoming table across the room.

Outside was snowing heavily, isolating the Inn from the rest of the world.

 

 

 

27

 

They had finished eating and the grandparents were playing with the children, when Marcy and Nacho reviewed their college days, completely abstracted, absorbed in their conversation.

He was enjoying an excellent job in Lank Corporate, a multinational enterprise of technology.

-They have a high growth finance department, Marcy. I'm happy with them.

-What an envy you're giving to me, Nacho.

-At least I've tried to compensate for the failure of my marriage...

His son was far enough away not to hear.

-I'll tell you the truth ... with Mary, my wife, everything worked perfectly and without explanation, she left me for another man... I think we were happy and she goes and confesses to me, suddenly, that something was wrong with me, that she had known the true passion of the hand of a big man of another company...

Nacho took one drink of liquor and Marcy saw sadness in his eyes.

He wanted to talk.

-Whatever you think cannot happen, it can happen. At first, I plunged into misery, but I ended up by assimilating it. I decided to overcome it.

He looked at her again with her face of boy.

-My wife threw a rich boyfriend, what can I do? ... Hey, I am digesting it. Now here is the prince of my house -he said, pointing to his son-. I see him on weekends only, the rest of the time I try to have fun, friends and refuge back in my work.

-Nacho, I'm sorry, you should feel so bad…, but you get used to your new life, you'll see.

Marcy well understood what the tribulations of love are.

He nodded, playing with his glass of liquor. Then, he stared at Marcy.

-What about you, Marcy? Have you parked your career? I cannot understand.

-The kids took me a lot of time, Manele and I decided that I devote myself entirely to them.

-What an idea! The modern woman reconciles various roles in life. In my own business, every month, comes a young new development candidate. And all of them together are worth less than you.

Nacho attacked her with the same issue.

-Marcy, it has spent many years and you should make a master to upgrade. In my company they want to create a department of development aid, you could have a chance, why don´t you try?

She was involved in the enthusiasm of his friend, facing his thousand projects, displaying his contagious energy, opening infinite paths with breathtaking ease, as he did when he was in the university.

-It's not so easy, Nacho, I have little free time.

She put this and many other justifications increasingly misguided, which were ringing hollow, artificial, even to herself.

 

 

 

28

 

On a place like that was customary, after the food and spirits, that some client, sometimes a group, began to sing old songs. In the table of the side, an old man, attacked a simple, repetitive rhythm, setting the pace with slaps on the table. The rest remained in silence, until the man table mates followed him. Later, more people were joining to that impromptu chorus.

Nacho put his arm above the shoulders of his friend and began to sing, she followed him and noticed that her voice flowed strong; she knew the lyrics to memory.

She saw a gesture of disapproval in the face of her mother.

Outside, the snow was falling, steady, painting the landscape in white. The wind had ceased. Marcy was relaxed, as floating, felt so happy and carefree it seemed as if she had removed 20 years off. "I see that it does not mention Manele for nothing". She neither wanted to talk about her husband, to which she devoted only a very short thought. However, her mother was brought it to memory again.

-Manele, is he fine? Is he calling by phone?

-Yes, mom, every two or three days; he has permission to come to see us once a month, all in charge of the company. He is happy with his new job.

They were already more than seven o'clock in the afternoon and people went toward the exit of the local, the storm had already ceased. While she was putting on her coat clothes, Marcy believed to see in the tumult to an employee of the Duxa Limited.

She was not wrong. Man came up to greet her, and tell her a kind of things that barely could hear.

-…. congrats to Manele… and you, don´t enclose in house, you must go out and enjoy… - he addressed to her a mischievous look before leaving the place, followed by his family.

Behind them the rest of the customers were leaving.

After hugs and congratulations of rigor by the New Year, they had gone outside the Inn towards their vehicles, but not before putting Nacho, in a pocket of her anorak, a piece of paper with his phone. "If you need it", he told to her.

A thin layer of new snow crunched under their shoes delighting children. Marcy accommodated the kids in the rear of the vehicle and was placed behind the wheel.

She led in last farewell to his parents, Miguelito and Nacho.

-I promise to think about everything you've told me. I promise to you – she told, before closing the door of the car.

She drove slowly paying attention to the sliding road, while in his mind she remembered her friend´s words over and over again.

When she arrived to her garage, she realized that she hardly had thought anything about her husband in all day.

 

 

 

 

29

 

They were spent the days of that January all equal as boring drops of water, with the only amenity of encounters with her friends at the cafe. Elizabeth, before assiduous, she came only in rare times to their morning meetings.

-She called me by phone saying that she had a trip, a cruise of luxury for the South Seas, she said. Accompanied by her boyfriend -reported Laura stressing the last words with comic affectation.

-Someone who knows how to live life - Marcy thought aloud.

-Do not you believe it, Marcy, not everything is what it seems, and nobody knows what happens in each couple.

-Please, Lau, Román is the owner of a construction company, he has Elisabeth covered with jewels and furs, has led her to alternate with the highest society, and leads a life of luxury…

"Nothing to do with your husband, darling". Marcy was fed up with the rant of the prudish of Laura. The explanations of her friend always sounded her to moralizing old-fashioned.

Laura remained silent a few seconds while she was shaking her infusion. She began to explain the feats of their small daughters to the last detail, their meals, homework, their games. Marcy was in her own thoughts when she heard Laura's incisive question.

-A penny for your thoughts.

Marcy explained the encounter with Nacho and the conversation held in the Inn.

-I am glad, Nacho made well talk to you like that; come on, take your time, now that you can.

-Lau, look, I since I'm very outdated, perhaps it´s too late. Marcy wanted to end as soon as possible. She threw a furtive look, marking a distance.

They finished their drink and they went out in opposite directions.

After meeting with Laura, she wandered without direction through the streets, suffering an attack by nostalgia for a life of love and luxury that was not theirs. She entered a bar, called for a glass of wine and accepted a cigarette who offered him a strange, sitting by his side. She took a stool, taking in hand, as she could, the drink, the cigarette and the hung shoulder bag; she sought some coins inside the bag and started to put them in the machine.

She slapped on the keys of colors as an automaton and searched more and more coins by all the pockets of the clothes she was wearing. The machine had to be hot, about to give a prize, because a customer he had filled belly. But the metal box devoured one hundred coins without flinching.

-You can give me change, please -she had that phrase recorded in his mind, so that she dreamed up with her.

The waiter had no more change to give her.

-Lady would like to ask you a taxi?

-No thanks - she answered.

She left the premises and returned to his home in the middle of a feeling of absolute failure. "You parked your career", the words of Nacho they rumbled in her memory. "Don´t care if I parked my career". But, despite another glass full of wine, which she took at a stretch, she did not forget that words in all day.

 

 

 

30

 

She had a lousy day; always it was like that when luck turned its back to her.

That afternoon she needed the highest concentration for the job, even the most simple and routine things. She was with the children, but her head wandered, thousands of miles away. The kids were going to bed and she collapsed on the living room couch when the phone rang. It was his mother.

-Marcelina -the tone of the voice warned her -, you must come soon, your father is admitted to the Central Hospital.

She called the baby sitter and once she went through the doorway, Marcy went out in the direction to the health center, in a taxi.

It had just produced one of her chronic fears.

Many nights, before going to sleep she thought that her parents would be older and would lose them. In fact, when she visited them, she had watched them the signs announcing the disease and the old age and that had caused panic to her. But his father was the most prone. After a lifetime as a metal industry worker, working under the most difficult conditions imaginable, his health was in the razor's edge. Everyone knew it, his company doctor had said so many times. The future after retirement would be the disease and they would have to face it.

Myocardial infarction, that´s what Amelia said to her upon arrival at the door of the intensive care unit.

-Daughter, almost he dies! Amelia cried on her shoulder, reviving the panic. She explained that the father had fallen to the floor, at home, which she called the ambulance and they managed to revive him.

But he still was debating at the edge of the final collapse.

They feared the worst when approached them the specialist.

They had managed to dissolve the clot, but the next hours would be crucial. They allowed them to see him only a few seconds through a glass. Under the effect of the strong medication, Arturo only responded with a weak gesture amid a tangle of wires and tubes of colors.

-I love you, dad -she was surprised by her voice, as if it were not her own. Her father could perhaps understand it by the movement of her lips.

They forced them to leave and they stayed all night at the gate of the intensive unit, sitting in a terrible plastic chairs.

When Marcy returned to her home she had traces of tiredness marked on her face. She found that children had already left to the school with the baby sitter and collapsed on her bed.

"I love you dad, I hate you, I hate you dad".

She was horrified to feel a so cold hate, as a dirty satisfaction, an accomplished revenge. She mixed those thoughts with the sounds of slot machines, which were so well recorded in her brain.

It was an incomprehensible jumble.

But she was so exhausted that she fell defeated by sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

31

 

She was panic-stricken by the arrival of a letter from the bank. It was a bank balance that ended with a result in the red.

She had many years with those damn bumps, dragging her habit, lying. And since the departure of her husband had gotten so thoroughly that would soon be exposed. She preferred not to think about it.

"You can´t go on like this, Marcy". Each time she did it swore it would be the last, until she fell again, and each time the drop was worse and she needed more lies to achieve hide losses.

But this time would have to sell something really good to plug the hole. She was done yet with some jewels and valuables in her home, then to said she had lost it or had broken and thrown it away.

She thought of her parents' home, in the living room, a room that was rarely used, that her mother had to exposure to the most exclusive visits, booksellers and preachers. In the lounge there was a display case, the same as it was since she remembered; which contained wedding gifts, old liquor bottles, decorated plates, colored glass cups and the like. All that Amelia considered her most valuable treasures. Among them was a metal figurine depicting a young runner with wings on his feet.

She passed by her parents´s house with the task of taking spare clothes to the hospital and took the statuette weighing as hell and put it in the bag. She moved a little the other objects to hide the gap.

Her mother, in the hospital, concentrated as she was in the care of the sick, she wouldn´t realize that the statue was missing. Marcy was ashamed by thinking such a thing and she recalled childhood times when she has took advantage of her mother´s absences to play pranks.

And on top do that.

The metal object was so heavy that her bag looked deformed, weird, if she would hang it over her shoulder, so she took it with the two hands, a strange way to carry a bag. She gave his loot in a pawnshop, where she was given enough to fix the debt.

Leaving that office she was feeling like a real thief, worse than a thief. "I'm a crook, a fraud."

It would be better to become a bitch by a few days and issue resolved. Some girls, during the university, turned to that ancient job to earn extra income, for a holiday or to buy some clothes.

But she was stealing her parents, that it was the last straw, the red light announcing her definitive failure.

 

 

 

32

 

She went to the bank to pay off the debt.

No one should find out, nor their parents, nor Manele. The employee of the bank known her and her husband very well, he was the financial controller.

Marcy thought that he suspected something because he looked stunned.

-In red again, Marcelina?

He didn´t know her enough to call her by her nickname.

-I had some payments, invoices, charges; you know…, everything at the same time.

He took a look at the computer.

-Rare, here only I see provisions in cash.

He looked above the glasses, those that take people with eyestrain.

-It must be a mistake -continued the banker

The situation was complicated. She had already given him the money, but the banker continued.

-You know that when there are red numbers, interest is paid; you have two hundred euros of interest.

-Yes, I know -she wanted to finish as soon as possible.

-You have to be careful. Talk to Manele, maybe it is his cause.

-Yes, Yes, I speak with him. Thank you.

She was tired from the banker. It had not happened so many times.

It is known that in the Bank when you pay you are a Lady, if not you go to tremble. And she had given him their filthy money. It seemed that he was giving her therapy. He was still not entirely satisfied.

-If it occurs again, I have to call Manele.

She was stunned, and she invented an excuse as she went along. She threw a hand to her head as if she had forgotten something.

-Uhmm! I had forgotten -she said smiling, trying to believe it herself a little.

A compulsive gambling gives much for inventiveness. You become a professional of the lies.

-Look that I bought to Manele a very expensive watch, to give him a surprise, and I had to pay in installments. I had forgotten. Where shall I have my head!

-It must have been expensive -he said, irritated.

-Yes, very expensive. Don´t tell him, please, is a surprise.

The banker moved his head, on both sides, skeptical. She thought and thought new tricks.

-His father is very seriously ill, okay? What I want is to give him an expensive fad, to encourage him.

-Oh! Still he has father, to take care of him. My father already died.

Luckily the guy changed the issue.

-I am really sorry so much

-A month ago, Marcelina, I can´t believe it.

She spread the hand above the desk to comfort him.

-It must be hard, but, that is life!

It seemed that the banker had red eyes.

-I pay attention to you, I'm going to monitor the bank balance daily, don't worry -she said.

-Yes, you know, already cannot be overlooked, do you understand?

Another customer came and cut off the conversation. Marcy said goodbye and she went out fast, fleeing away from the office.

 

 

 

33

 

That day her father looked better, quiet, the color of his skin was pink and free of the chest tightness. He was seated in a comfortable chair, with mountain views, and soon they shared a tropical juice that Marcy had brought, already with permission to the doctors. And he was eager to talk.

He began to talk about anything, but Marcy knew when his father wanted to say something important.

-Are you going ever work at what you had studied? I never dare to ask.

Just the same thing it was pounding in her brain for some time. She was silent.

-I want you to make something of yourself -the father spoke slowly, as if thinking aloud.

-Do not worry; I'll do a master´s degree at Greda University, to have a retrain, Dad, to work in my studies, as you say.

Such a string of ideas went out of her mouth, by surprise, that seemed coherent projects, delivered by her own lips, almost without thinking.

-See if then I'll have less time to indulge with you! -She said, provocatively.

-That would be the least; you're the best I've ever done in my life -Arthur confessed-. And best of what is best, for my little girl.

-Shut up, Daddy! I do not like to worry about me, you know.

But her father's face reflected a deep pain.

-Daughter, I come to tell you one thing. I am so sorry for having behaved so badly with you and with your mother!

-Never mind, Dad, that´s forgotten many years ago.

-Forgive me, honey, forgive me.

They had never spoken with such sincerity.

Marcy restrained her emotion with difficulty. He drew attention to the window, to avoid her father from seeing some few tears in her face.

-Look, Daddy, the mountains, look how beautiful snow!

-Marcelina, you know you have the name of my mother? You didn´t knew her, but ... I loved my mother the much as I love my wife. You look like her, honey. How three perfect women I had, I have not deserved! -Marcy saw tears rolling down his cheeks, ending to fall on the pillow.

She had wished for death many times to his father, so to see him prostrated almost caused her an unmentionable satisfaction. "I turned into a monster”. It was a thought that horrified her.

-You must only think of improving your health, Dad, you know how we need you!

 

 

 

34

 

Her in-laws had calling her to keep up appearances, to go with the children to spend a weekend at the farm and she agreed to do so. She knew that her mother-in-law had rejected her ever, but she was the type of woman that did not accept a no for answer, and the children loved to be on the property.

It was midwinter and the farm workers were pruning and doing maintenance work in the vineyards, and soon Marcy went with them, to make those works, the same as any laborer.

While the children were enjoying themselves, and inside, the house went by in their routines, some employees were busy, that Saturday morning, in removing the stemmer machine, because the following Monday they would have a new one.

The rickety metal scraps went to the old warehouse, which Marcy knew well and where she used to go to spend time alone, to smoke a cigarette.

She noticed that there were a lot of plastic tanks with a liquid product, whose label was torn.

She decided to ask to the winemaker, a man who inspired confidence to her.

He was the right person, in charge of monitoring the plants, the timing of the harvest, and the control parameters of the wines.

When she asked about those bottles, he seemed undecided.

-Marcy, I say nothing, I'm just following orders.

-Are those additives? - She had imagined long time ago, and he had hinted the same to her.

-Here is done what the boss says, I don´t know if you understand -he didn’t want to talk any more.

She admired him and the feeling was mutual.

-Moving on, how about you, how are you doing? – He said, referring to the transfer of Manele.

He knew how much she loved her husband.

-Not very well, you know -said Marcy on the verge of tears.

Suddenly she overcame herself and smiled mischievously.

-And the spoiled girl, does she come over here as usual?

He giggled.

-Sure! Every day she comes to suck up to your mother-in-low.

-Look at the hypocrite girl.

-Do not be afraid, Marcy, that little lady is a witch, she has no force to tread a grape, Manele dislike a girl like that.

The winemaker always had the facility to make her smile.

Marcy felt sorry for him.

-Be careful with these people. You are the specialist, and they have to listen to you, not vice versa, -she said, firmly.

-It should be so, but this has changed much, Marcy, and now, in order to sell, everything is good. You know the temper of your mother-in-low.

He was thoughtful.

-I speak to you with confidence -he said-. They are things that I couldn´t never tell to Manele. I cannot speak to him about his mother, don´t you understand?

 

 

 

35

 

Before they were married and when they spent their holidays in the ownership of their future in-laws, Manele, overnight, did appear, as a cat in heat, knocking on her room´s door to depart to see the moon and make love among the vineyards.

Once married, she had her husband in her bed every night, but still Manele, went out as a stealthy, to see the moon on his own.

Marcy suspected it, she knew it, like a bloodhound when sniffing the trail of a dam, because, when he returned, he fell exhausted into bed, and his body exuded an expensive perfume of woman, which he could not conceal. Despite the fact that, as a precaution, he spent some time in the bathroom, before getting into bed with her, and washed and put on male cologne to hide the perfume. But Marcy had noticed the mixture and that penetrating smell kept her from sleeping, mingling with her worst thoughts.

The last of the Manele nightly skirmishes came a night when the marriage was in bed. Marcy was then very active in sex, to erase from her husband's head the attraction to other women. When they were making love, uncovered, naked and with the light on, she saw between his pubic hairs, a black hair, straight, so indiscreet that seemed to carry the signature of the owner. She feigned not to realize.

That it was the last straw.

She had to find out what was happening, and she would ask explanations.

The next night, when Manele had left the bed, she waited a minute and down the hall, she looked through a window and looked out, and saw her husband taking a woman by the hand and then they entered into the old warehouse.

She went out the side door, the same as he had used, and went near a window of the warehouse that had a small broken glass and some not.

Her eyes had become accustomed to the darkness and could see inside, full of cobwebs and junk lying around. In one corners he seemed to see the couple. They had put an old blanket on a cage of chickens and the woman was on all fours and Manele stood behind her, panting like two animals.

He almost ran to the house and got into bed like a thief. She curled up, dying of cold. Manele returned, he spent a while in the bathroom and got into bed. Soon he was snoring.

She would give a good lesson.

In the morning, she got up and had breakfast before him and went to the old warehouse. The dogs were still loose on the farm, and they escorted her one on each side.

The warehouse was always open, full of tools and disused pieces of junk of all kinds. She looked toward the back corner and saw the blanket over the cage.

She folded it and carried into the house. Manele was having breakfast with his parents.

-Look, mother, my favorite blanket, laying on the old warehouse.

She never said "mother" to her mother-in-law, and she didn´t like the blanket at all.

She fixed her eyes on Manele.

-I think that someone comes at night and goes through the farm -continued Marcy-. I do not understand why the dogs did not bark.

Manele said not a word.

The father ate in silence. The mother jumped like a panther.

-That´s I thought! We need to take urgent measures –she said with determination.

-I can look for alarm systems, if you will, of course.

-Good thing you worry, daughter -said the lady watching her husband and son, upset-. Yes, please, look those security systems.

The mother remained calm and continued having breakfast.

-Ask someone to wash the blanket, and put it in your bed, if you like it -she told to Marcy, complacent.

"I have made a dirty trick to you, bastard". She looked at her husband, victorious, while he appeared not hear and did not even look up from his plate.

 

 

 

36

 

She never thought, when she was young, which Manele, the man who she loved, he was to be a “don Juan”.

Although, a summer, before they were married, he asked her to fulfill the greatest dream of his life, to have sex with two women at once.

He asked her on a camping beach, where they had gone to spend a weekend with some university peers.

He started to say half-jokingly, when they were drunk and drugged. He said that was fashionable at the university, that she would like it, he said that he only loves a woman: she. But he wanted to have that experience.

They were tucked into their tent.

-Honey, there are things you better not try.

She offered resistance, at first.

-It's only once, baby; you are not a nun...

-But is that to me ... I'm too embarrassed, I would not know what to do.

-Come on. I am in the middle of the two. Let yourself go.

Among the peers who had been camping together, there was two girls that shared a tent; he had already spoken with one of them.

He made a phone call and soon they heard the voice of a woman.

-I can spend?

-Go ahead -he said, enthusiastically-. There she is!

Marcy was surprised when she saw the girl and her friend. There were two girls.

Manele was still more excited, threw to the first a stare, and then to the other. The three smiled from ear to ear.

-Come, let's smoke a joint.

The tent was quite large. It had a seating area, and a separate bedroom.

They were all four sitting on the floor, in a circle, on a blanket, and they had smoked for a while.

They soon broke out laughing.

-I am so hungry! -Marcy said.

-That is good. Manele, let´s see the sausage! -said one of the two girls.

And they broke out laughing and laughing.

Manele took some snacks and a bottle of whiskey and sat back down.

Marcy ate a roll, hungry, and took a swig from the bottle. She lay back helplessly, and closed her eyes.

When she awoke, the girls hands snaked down her legs up, her touch was warm, pure velvet, smelling like the sea. She opened her eyes and saw the face of the two, smiling. One of the girls kissed her on the mouth. The other girl kept stroking more and more until she experienced a great pleasure.

Then, almost in a dream, she saw Manele stroking each girl, and it seemed to her the most natural thing in the world.

When they awoke the next day, the girls were gone and, if Manele would not spoken, she would have thought she had had an erotic dream.

-How are you? What did you think?

At that moment she seemed that it was a thing that better had not happened.

-Bah! It's not that great -she said.

For several days she had a strange feeling to have felt what she had felt with those girls. She turned a little crazy with the thought.

“This does not happen never more”.

Although he returned to insist for a while with the same thing, she pretended not to hear him.

She thought he was a young active experimenter, who would stop those interests with the passage of time, and that he would settle down.

 

 

 

37

 

After leaving the hospital, when she had spent a few hours with her father, she entered the library, to take a look at a magazine when, suddenly, she sat at a computer and searched the University of Greda as Nacho had suggested. At home, Manele only had allowed to use a computer with internet, which controlled with his private key.

She reviewed postgraduate courses and master's degrees, and that sounded so strange as if she would have not a degree in Business Science and as if she knew the university only by photography.

She could not blame only Manele of that delay, because she had wasted her time, had spent the money, and she was hiding behind their children.

She glanced at his watch she found that the time had flown. She took her car and hurried to pick up the kids to school without paying attention. She had a fixed determination in her head.

She went home and entered in the kitchen, took a strong scissors, reached into her purse her credit cards and, one by one, cut them into pieces and threw them away.

As stealthy hunter, the next day, she went to the college where she had graduated, to learn, in person, about the master´s degree. She entered the main hall; she turned all around, until she saw at the information desk, an old acquaintance. He was the same janitor of her student days, blond, blue eyes, a slightly lower age than hers. He had the same look, just like then, as if he was preserved in formalin. She addressed him.

- Well, Rafa! Don´t you have finished your studies yet? –She told, joking.

- Marcy? Do you, Miss? Yes, undoubtedly, of course I recognize you. You are the kind girl that asked me for photocopies. The students, today, are not the same -he answered, smiling, while wearing a hand to his head repeatedly.

"He is a boy full of quirks, but a perfect gentleman."

He directed her to the secretariat, of which she barely remembered its location, and she came out a while later, carrying a multitude of papers and forms to cover.

-Whatever you need, you know where I am, miss.

And she left him there at his post, toiling at their tasks, with his blond head sticking out just above the information desk.

Despite the short time she had been that morning in the academic center, she left with a feeling of familiarity as if they had not spent the last fifteen years since she left one day with her title in her pocket.

 

 

 

38

 

Since Manele announced his visit, in late January, Marcy was infected by the anxiety of their children and spent sleepless nights, like when they were dating; she forgave him everything, and fantasized about a new event full of romanticism.

She wanted to shout her love of the phone, when he called home, to talk to her and the children, she wanted to become one of those weeping women, desperate, a beggar of love. Therefore, she tried not to talk so much, feigning detachment, to see if he walked right into it.

And she had imagined intimacies between Manele and Sonia, full of jealousy.

She was accustomed to women wandering her husband; but now, they really were disputing him.

She had to prepare a full-scale counterattack.

And the visit would be unforgettable; she would plan everything to the smallest detail.

The desired date of arrival of Manele had come, and she went to pick him up at the airport, accompanied by children, which was equipped with lively sportswear. They took the car and after ten minutes they reached the parking.

She struggled to contain the euphoria of the boys to cross the street with due caution, and upon entering the large building, they were towards the glass, from which they could see the aircrafts, with his mother marched slowly behind them. The children gave slaps on the transparent surface, discussing between them about which one would bring their father.

-Daddy! Look, Mommy! They are leaving the plane -Manu cried enthusiastically.

She would have slapped her son heartily, but the image of her husband drew her attention.

She looked him, walking forward, with his usual panache, deploying its sex appeal in the most casual, so characteristic of him.

Marcy had prepared the meeting as well as possible. The night before had been immersed in a bubble bath and treated her body giving a fine perfumed cream. She paid special attention to the perfection of her skin, noticing that, unintentionally, had lost some weight, perhaps caused by the activity of recent days. Her waist had shrunk and her hip bones were left gently noted. She was happy with the change.

The morning which Manele returned, she was dressed very simply, with long dark skirt and jacket point, collecting hair in a ponytail tight. She just put on a mild makeup, only a soft lip gloss, and scented with simple cologne. She didn’t use fine jewels, except for earrings, and wearing her gold wedding ring every day. Her husband did not like her too dressed up.

She had cooked several dishes, prepared with utmost care and had put them in freeze, to have free time to spend with her husband, nor forgot to take the wine bottles, the best of the hold of her in-laws, who left in the fridge cooling.

She wanted to get a perfect family union, making him feel the delights of home, good food and lively company of children and a caring wife. He should feel calm and confident. Moreover, shortly after his move, her husband had sent a bouquet of flowers, to her surprise; she loved those gifts, especially after some of their fights in love. Remembering the gift, she saw Manele crossing the arrivals door.

While the children ran in his direction, she stood at a distance, waiting for him.

He greeted her formal, almost touching his face to hers while children were jumping around.

-Guys, take it easy! When we get home it will unveil the mystery!

His funny expression went into a sudden change when he looked at her. Marcy felt that her whole body was cool, like steel.

"It's normal; we have been a time without seeing us".

They took the vehicle which was driven by Manele, after depositing the luggage in the trunk. Along the way, the boys were talking about their gifts with their father. Meanwhile, Manele just crossed with his wife two complimentary words.

-Your father, how is he?

-He is Improving, darling, still in the hospital, but he is improving.

 

 

 

39

 

It took a great effort to silence the protests of children, to have dinner and go to bed, after having shown the games console that father had brought as gifts. The boys went to bed, and Manele cared for them, like the happiest father. Then he went to the kitchen, where Marcy was finalizing dinner and faced her in bad ways.

-You tell me where have you gone lately, like a whore, shameless ...

-But darling, what are you saying? I was hoping to see you, honey.

Marcy realized at once that, surely, the companion of Manele had spoken with her husband.

- Wanting to see you, honey! -He mimicked, sarcastically-. As soon as I turned around, you are looking for a romance. Do you think I'm going to agree to this? Do you take me for a fool?

The protests were growing it in tone and Marcy noticed the proximity of a new storm.

It was no use, trying to say she had met by chance Nacho, the college buddy, who also knew Manele.

She whispered a brief apology and went to the next room. Manele followed, lit a cigarette and exhaled a puff of smoke as he came to the drinks cabinet. A new puff and he put out his cigarette; then poured a glass of liquor, which was swallowed in two gulps. He left the glass, crashing against the glass surface of the cabinet. The noise startled Marcy. She went to her and slapped on the left side of his face.

She realized that things had reached a point of no return. He staggered under the impact of the blow, and fell on a chair, which moved back by the same force, and came to rest against the wall. She sat motionless, terrified. He walked over and, grabbing her hair, began to shake her head as he continued shouting.

-You know, long time ago I had to have given to you a good beating, for your learn. But we are still on time.

He grabbed her by the hair, lifted her, and he gave her several slaps in the face.

- The children...! Please!-. She muttered.

But Manele seemed not to hear. A wave of new blows fell any part of her body, while she used her arms as a shield, as then, when she was a little girl, trying to avoid whatever possible. A trickle of blood began to flow from her lips.

In order to satiate his anger, he held her arms, to immobilize her, and threw her down on the living room carpet.

-If you do it again, I'll kill you!

-Coward! Coward, bastard! -She growled between her teeth, without fear.

He looked down from his height, coldly.

She extended her right arm toward the large bookcase cabinet, where they had their best books and ornaments, souvenirs of their travels.

She took a stiletto that they used as letter openers.

-Come, if you are male, and kill me if you can. Or else I'll kill you.

She was sitting on the floor, every muscle tensed, ready for anything. He flew into a rage, turned and went towards the kitchen, he opened and closed, suddenly, the refrigerator door, then locked herself in the master bedroom.

 

 

 

40

 

She dropped her head back and stood still, long time, until she felt behind her opening the door.

The stiletto had slipped from her hand and was on the carpet.

-What happened, Mom? -Paul looked worried.

She jumped up, her back to the boy, and went to the other door of the room.

-Nothing, honey! Mom is stupid and tripped with the carpet.

She went to the bathroom. The boy followed her.

-Here you are. It has been dropped.

She took the stiletto without turning her face.

-Go to bed, come on!, Dad is already slept . I see you in the morning, honey.

The metal object left a red mark on her hand, caused by the strong that she has grabbed it.

She heard the boy's footsteps away down the hall; she sat on the toilet and began to mourn in silence. The marble stiffness seized her, moments later. Just felt her body bruised, but the face, however, was pure fire. She approached the mirror and, with trembling hands, she took a piece of paper and put it in the wound which bled a little.

She took a sleeping pill and lay down in the living room couch, in the darkness lit by night lights, red, yellow, ghostly, coming from the street. She felt a sense of emptiness and she covered herself with a blanket, lying on the sofa arm, that same blanket that they used together, watching TV, when they were happy.

She threw in the fetal position; she closed her eyes, waiting for the drug's effect.

With the first light of day he woke up, alert to signs of movement in the house. All was quiet.

She got up and went into the bathroom, looked into the mirror and saw the face of a poor wretch. She took a makeup, and carefully covered her skin signs, placing a layer on top of another until it was converted into a theater mask. She pulled the piece of paper, still pinned to his lower lip, and put on makeup her mouth in natural color. She combed her hair and took a robe that was behind the door, putting on above the clothes she had slept with. She put on some colony and went to make breakfast.

The children woke up excited and drank milk and cookies in a hurry, and then they went to their games without paying attention to something else.

At midmornings she heard the door close and shortly afterwards rang the elevator down to the gate of the property. "He should to feel bad".

It no stopped raining all day and the kids were entertained with their new machine, and she spent the time immersed in the dry and cold desert of disappointment.

 

 

 

41

 

-But what of your life, Marcy? I have left in the cafeteria! -It was the reproach of Laura, the Thursday following the departure of Manele.

Marcy had not seen her husband since he left home that morning.

He was back to Brexals, and all she knew about him was by phone calls asking about the children. Marcy was limited to passing the device to children, but the parents did not cross another word to each other.

-Sorry, Lau, but I am sick for a few days, with fever -she justified on the phone-. As I improve I call, okay?

-Get well! Manele ... came last weekend?

-Yes, but he´s back. I'll call you soon.

And she hung up, to not allow further progress in the conversation.

She spent those days stuck at home, in bed, getting up only to eat and go to the bathroom. She was upset, without strength for anything. She had warned his mother not to call her for a few days and the baby sitter, who was in charge of the children, remained daily.

"Mommy is sick, you have to let her rest to heal soon," Marcy heard she has telling to the children, and she did so good job that Marcy barely perceived the activity of the children in the house.

She did not think anything; she only felt her body beaten, and a cruel and poignant empty. Sometimes she got up again and again, restless, aimless, walked down the aisle, in the terrible solitude of her apartment, while the children were at school, took some food and again returned to the bed or the sofa, covering herself with the blanket, like a sheltering womb.

Thus spent a week.

"I have to do something; I cannot continue this way or I am going crazy". She suspended the sleeping pills, and the Saturday following the departure of her husband, she decided to draw strength and stand up. While the babysitter took the kids to the park, she took a shower like a robot and had a hearty breakfast. Dressed in sports clothes came to the library to read the paper, glanced without any concentration.

She had temptations to go to get money to play, to escape, but the banks were closed and she had no credit cards. She dared not ask for money from his mother, with any apology, as she did before.

"Marcy,if you play slot machines, you will be even worse".

When she left the library she felt a tremendous strangeness from the streets and the people that walked. She took a sidewalk leading into a square contoured by banks, with a playground in the center.

It was Saturday morning, and the young parents was walking with their children, there was some adults enjoying the sunshine in winter and here and there a pair of lovers who delighted in each other's company. The place did not seem real. She felt such helplessness as if, suddenly, she did not knew walking. She was depressed.

An icy wind hit her face and began to fall a thin rain. She started to run toward her house, like a retreating warrior, feeling only shake her body, the movement of her hair and wheezing of her breathing. When she came to her house, clothes and hair wet, her face cold and numb, she noticed that children still had not returned.

Shortly afterwards, they came also, with the babysitter, and after changing clothes and shoes, they ate together the meal cooked by the employee. Despite her poor appetite, Marcy ate a delicious cake that she seemed very tasty. Just then the doorbell rang.

-Marcy, is for you -the babysitter said.

She approached the door and in the hall, a messenger gave to her a bouquet of flowers.

There was a card, where it was written: "of Manele". Instinctively, she returned the card to the boy.

-I do not like it. You return it to the sender.

She returned to the kitchen to eat with her children. After a while of rest took a strong coffee with sugar and went to visit her father to the hospital, feeling some kind of recovery.

 

 

 

42

 

The social center where Laura worked was located in the city hall, in the Mazello center, Marcy knew it well. Marcy walked forward and backward, several times, in the way to the door.

Behind the reception desk was her friend, doing her administrative tasks, and Marcy came up to talk to her. Laura was delighted to see Marcy, which never visited her in the office.

-It´s wonderful to see you, Marcy! How are you?

-Lau, I am sorry to bother you in your work, but if you have a moment, I have to tell you something.

They looked briefly at each other.

Laura, without delay, asked a companion to occupy the position in her absence. They entered in an empty office, closing the door behind them. The decor of the place was poor, except for a mysterious picture, painted in dark stripes, hanging of a wall.

-What is happening to you, Marcy? You've a face like a mask. Someone has stuck to you.

He leaned on the edge of the table while Marcy occupied a chair with his head down.

-Some time ago my husband when he gets nervous...

-Not a thing!. He´s an abuser, that´s all!. And you're consenting, Marcy. This is not the first time.

Laura knew, for his kind of work, was well aware of that kind of problems. She has talked about cases like that, in their coffee meetings. Marcy explained everything that had happened.

-There are professionals who can help you, Marcy.

Marcy continued staring at the floor of the office, in silence, after a while got up, hesitant, her face was serious, but without tears.

-I just do not want that to be known, Lau. After all, he is hard working and is the father of my children. That would do much harm to children.

-And the damage it does to you is that not count?

Laura countered firmly, placed in the middle of the room.

-All women say the same. You are suffering a meaningless torment. I cannot believe this of you!

-Well, I'm not ready to become a case of those who walk by the courts to be the talk of the people. That's no way! -Marcy said, decisively.

Laura wanted to persuade her.

-Listen, woman. You are threatened and sometimes threats are met. You must have information, Marcy, you need help.

-Manele is good, Lau, only the pressure of work. You know his bad character. But he is a good person and a good father.

-Good?, What are you saying? -Laura replied, angry again-. He´s not the only man on earth!

Marcy rose from his seat, and faced with Laura.

-Not as easy as you think!, Of course you, as you have an ideal family, work, and everything is going well to you ..., you do not know what it is.

-Listen, Marcy! You're the reason to keep things as they are. You had studied; you are a woman capable, intelligent. Move, work, and look after yourself!

Laura's rant just echoed in Marcy´s brain. "Laura is giving me a lecture". And she turned out, heading for the door.

-All right, Lau, I promise that I will think of all this.

-You're the only one who can change things, Marcy, is your responsibility.

-I really appreciate your help -Marcy lied-. By the way, how is Elisabeth?

-She phoned me recently. She is thrilled. She explained that she was traveling on business of her partner.

-You see, she does know how to handle men -Marcy said, crestfallen.

-Do not go thinking. Do not trust appearances.

Laura was silent a moment, as lost in thought.

-Goodbye, Lau!, See you soon! See you next Thursday!

Marcy said goodbye, feigning animation in front of her friend, and gave to her friend two kisses of commitment and left the center with a firm step.

 

 

 

 

 

43

 

In her mind a silent rage seethed against Laura.

Marcy thought that Laura was jealous, because Manele was much better looking than her husband, an overweight, balding office man which carried a tattered old wallet.

He was a worthy husband of a woman like Laura.

You could tell who had class and who not.

Laura, the all-knowing girl. Marcy regretted having given confidences to Laura, putting her like a couple counselor.

She roamed the streets aimlessly; not knowing where directed her steps, while she despised Laura's words like annoying pebbles obstructing her path.

Without thinking took a bus to the center of Greda and arrived near her old school.

-Another time around, Miss Marcy! -The janitor said.

-Yes, Rafa, I come to sign up the master degree; if I spend more time, it'll be out of time.

She entered the secretariat and took back the list of postgraduate courses and masters. "Creation of micro enterprises in developing countries", this title seemed to her made to order. It lasted nine months and was very, very expensive.

"Now or never" had to determine once.

He came at that very moment the nearest bank branch, freeing the amount required for payment.

After completing enrollment in the master degree, it was almost lunchtime and decided to stay and take a snack in the faculty cafeteria.

She bought a sandwich and a bottle of water, when she saw Rafa, who was sitting alone at a table near the window overlooking the park.

-Can I sit here? -She asked, and put the briefcase with the documents in an empty chair.

-Of course, Miss! I see you are enrolled. From now on, you will coincide with your former colleagues. It will be extraordinary.

He seemed to her an old-fashioned gentleman, out of the customs of his age.

They had their lunch without speaking and ended up with a coffee.

He rose to the waiter to pay the bill and she followed him to leave.

-Thank you, very friendly, I start the course next Monday.

She observed him, impeccably dressed, dark pants, white shirt and gray waistcoat knitted argyle motif bicolor, his hair blond cut, except the top slightly longer, and shaved to perfection.

Marcy realized that the boy's eyes sparkled as he looked her to say goodbye.

-Good-bye, Miss -he said, turning to his post-. Is nice to see you! Then, she went to the hospital to visit her father. The room of her father was already so familiar to her as a home. It was painted in white, furnished with a bed, table and cabinet, and a black chair for the companion.

Arthur was sleeping. The color of his face was sallow; his head was between the pillows, damp with sweat.

Her mother put on his face a cloth soaked in alcohol for relief him.

-He has fever every afternoon. As long so, they do not want to discharge him.

Amelia spoke out loud, hasty, eager to share her burdens.

-It must to find out the cause ... -said Marcy.

The mother looked her up and down.

-My daughter, I see you very thin, you're eating enough, is not it?

Her mother, with or without cause, always scolded for something, she had that hobby.

-It has not been bad to lose a few kilos, mom, I was a little fat.

Amelia was one of the mothers who wanted their daughters to eat more than they should, suspecting to be thin like a disease.

She did not realize that a girl who had no good figure was not going anywhere.

-Go to spend the afternoon with the kids, Mom, will come in handy. You’ve been many days shut up in this hospital.

Marcy went to bed and bent to the ear of her father, talking about the course she would start in college.

Arthur looked up and smiled to hear. Even he seemed to be recovered. The medication had acted.

-Congratulations, honey! There's my girl!

And they resumed the little intimacies between the two, reading the newspaper, doing hobbies, watching gossip magazines on television, to ward off boredom, the entire evening.

While, they were waiting for an improvement that had not just arrived.

 

 

 

44

 

On Thursday following nobody missed the meeting in the Corner Coffee.

When she arrived, Elizabeth was waiting already, and Laura joined soon.

- Long time no see you!

The reproach of Laura sounded friendly. But Marcy was able to glimpse in her eyes, while they greeting, a slight tension.

The latest purchases, the wanderings of the children, they reviewed their lives as usual, to break the ice.

They had not told anything to Elisabeth about their meeting at the social center.

The blonde turned to the waiter with authority, by surprise.

-A bottle of champagne, please.

After an expectant silence, the employee opened the bottle and poured three glasses. The blonde got up, Marcy noticed a new glow in her eyes.

-Friends, I have to communicate the great news: I'm pregnant!

The others drank a toste with Elizabeth, smiling, without really knowing what to say.

-But... You did not want to have children! -said Laura, stunned-. Roman, had not made a vasectomy?

-Who says that is Roman the father? -questioned the protagonist.

The audacity of Elisabeth left the others gaping.

-No problem, I have everything planned.

Isabel began to explain the details openly.

-If Roman accept, well; if not, I have a good legal agreement. If we get divorced, I will have a great compensation, enough to live on my son and I, maintaining the same lifestyle I have now.

The friends listened attentively without daring to ask for the father of the child.

-Or it could be that the father, finally, would get separated, and we were married. He has a very good position; his marriage don´t go very well...

The last comment, she did it quietly, as if to herself.

Marcy was fascinated by Elisabeth, but this comment seemed to her the height of impudence.

The blonde, oblivious to everything, was exultant, wearing a new and valuable jewel around her neck.

-He gave it to me, my new boy!-she said aloud, playful, as she held the pendant in her fingers.

They sat the three to admire the jewelry and end up consuming the drink.

Before saying goodbye, Marcy decided to address to Laura.

-Forgive me Lau, I behave badly with you the other day.

-It's nothing, girl, I ask you to think of this.

And they went each to her own way, as if the ad would had marked a before and after, a turning point, a broken friendship.

Marcy went to the mall to buy some new clothes, suitable for college. She could wear every day the same jeans and gray jersey it seemed her uniform that season. She found that the clothes fit her perfectly; he had followed the diet inadvertently and had paid off.

Back home rummaged in the pockets of her anorak Nacho´s phone number.

-Hello! -Marcy said, briskly. -I'm calling to tell you that I signed up in the master degree.

-But what a joy you give me, beautiful! Hey, when you can, stop by my office in the Golden Mile, in Trass Building, in the morning I'm always there. So I explain in detail, okay? Let me know the day before, in order to wait for you.

When she hung up the phone felt certain uneasiness, a bittersweet, as apprehension about an uncertain future.

 

 

 

45

 

After they had arranged the visit by phone, she went one morning to meet Nacho in his office at Trass Building. Her friend asked her a certificate that can vouch for that she was enrolled in the master degree. Nacho was already waiting, eager to show her the dependencies of the company, so dynamic as he´s used to. She followed him through the different departments, coming in and out of elevators, crowded of people. She ended up in his office, exhausted, collapsed into an comfortable and modern armchair, upholstered in black leather.

He asked Marcy the certificate and left her in the office. The designer furniture and abstract paintings gave a modernity style to the stay. Marcy was suddenly immersed in a promising future that had long been looking for

Nacho came back soon, excited.

-You see, Marcy! I told you! I consulted in human resources and with your college degree and to be in this master degree, you could go to work in my company with a contract for three-month trial, to continue later if all goes well.

The amount offered to Marcy seemed to her exorbitant.

-The Department of Development Aid is growing fast. It is the ultimate bet my company. This is your chance. Hey, they were captivated by your academic record.

She fell silent, unable to speak, like a housewife forced to give a lecture on nuclear physics. Nacho charged again.

-Come, Marcy! You will have my full support.

Nacho, newly separated, assured her that he had plenty of time to help in whatever was needed.

-I have nothing better to do, I assure you.

-The problem is my children, and my father..., he is hospitalized.

-Hey, if you wait for everything going on well, you will not do anything ever.

"What a man more dynamic". He was a kind of man who could take on the world. The challenger looked at her, challenging her with a sympathy that disarmed.

-You had a dream, I remember very well.

Marcy felt almost ashamed remembering her youthful illusions.

-Come on, Nacho, the illusions of an ignorant. My life now is not for dreams. -She spoke as if her friend would give her the opposition.

-Stop! You are too bad ! Now you look like an old woman. You wanted to improve this world working for those who have nothing. But yes, you're too old, poor thing! -He made gibes, lighthearted.

-Not even I can improve my little world.

-Yeah, yeah, look at your navel, it´s so nice.-He was devastating, cheeky, daring. He was hitting his good humor.

-Do not promise anything –she said apologetically.

But his friend, with his talk, he had changed her ideas. He made her feel important. She left the office as floating, seemed to have grown a few inches tall, feeling her body had been lightened, like a new power had germinated in her brain.

-I´ll think about it Nacho, I'll call you.

-Overcome your fear, girl!

He went down to the front door of the building, to say goodbye. Marcy went her way and a few seconds after turned her head toward Nacho, who looked at her, forming a vee with the index and middle fingers of his right hand.

 

 

 

46

 

Marcy had her time occupied from morning to night and had to leave the meetings with her friends and visits to the hospital. And this was the worst of her new life as a student.

As soon as she could, she gave a relief to her mother so she could go home a few hours to rest. The woman was there, one day after another, locked in the sanatorium.

When Marcy went, one of those afternoons, after enrolling in the master degree, her mother was giving air to the patient with a fan, speaking of things he could not even hear.

Amelia stopped what she was doing and went to his daughter, appart of the patient's bed.

-Dad has not yet recovered, daughter. Every evening he suffers a slight fever and he cough a lot.

Amelia was nervous, with traces of weariness on his face.

The last thing Marcy would think was to upset her mother with the problems in her marriage. Even more, Marcy expected that her mother would not noticed the lack of the statue of the showcase of her living room.

Marcy was saddened by this memory.

-And Manele, how is he? When is he back, to visit you?

Her mother was glad she had resumed his studies, but always pointed out the first thing for her was care for a husband.

-All right, Mom. You know that he will come once a month. All is well. You already have enough for you.

-I do think that your father is not going well. The doctor says one thing each day, sometimes I put him to death, and if I start to mourn he tells me that he can get better.

Amelia placed the tip of your index finger to his temple with a gesture of screw.

-That no one can understand. And how are you, dear? You are all skin and bone!

It came to Marcy´s mind her body bruised. The bruises, at first red, had been changing color to purple and then to yellow-green, were slow to disappear. She had to wear pants and sleeves to the wrist to hide them.

-Mom, come on! Stop, please.

-Only I tell you to care for your husband, there is no other like him, and your children. A woman is nothing without family. And you have to take care of you.

She had said the whole string.

But Marcy did not want to argue with her.

-Go home, okay? Take a shower and rest.

-I will obey you. But I'll buy you a big sandwich and a pot of vitamins.

After her mother left her, she sat next to Arthur, and when she gave up to get answers to her words, she pulled out a magazine to distract and began to read without understanding anything.

Her thoughts returned again and again the same: to her husband, when he phoned, he spoke at length with her children and just a short conversation with her. He never made mention of the flowers she had returned. They never talked about what happened at the last visit.

Had warned that he would come to see them for the Holly week and Marcy wanted to cling to an illusion, even if it were vague, futile.

He would change and soften his temper, would again be the loving couple as they had been at first, with two children who had crowned their happiness.

She was exaggerating what they were just lover’s quarrels, minor fights that had all the people in their homes, sometimes the ones who most loved themselves.

Nothing that it could not to make it up with a warm and passionate reconciliation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

47

 

The next time, who Manele visited them, Marcy was not to pick it up at the airport. He came home by taxi.

It was late afternoon and the children had their dinner and they were preparing before going to bed.

-You look beautiful, Mar. I brought a gift to you.

He called her by the nickname he used during their courtship.

He handed to Marcy a small package, beautifully prepared. He did it like delivering a treasure to a very dear girlfriend.

She soon realized the purpose of this, to erase from her mind the past, for having reconciliation.

She undid the wrapper, opened the little box and found a wonderful white gold ring with a row of five bright good sized, closed it and moved toward him, who was embracing the children.

-It´s very nice, thank you.

She wrapped it again and placed it on the piece of furniture in the hall. He did not seem offended, and he took it and put it in one of the top drawers of the cabinet.

At home, between the couple, it breathed a tense calm.

Marcy heated some foods of those who remain lost in the fridge.

As if it were two strangers, they shared a sad dinner, sitting opposite each other, without speaking, with only the sound of the voices of children telling everything that happened since the last visit of the father.

Marcy don´t said nothing of the master degree she was studying.

He had been careful to hide all notes in a locked cabinet, along with a laptop and a mobile phone that had just acquired.

They had finished dessert when the younger son, Manu, the most restless, rushed into the arms of his father.

-Mom is studying! Mom is studying!

-One book from the library, I took it cause I am so bored!.

Marcy got up to pick up the dishes, to distract attention.

After dinner it was time to bed for the boys, a growing uneasiness took hold of her. She took discreetly the phone and turned it on in silent mode, then she put it in the pocket of his robe.

-Manele, I´m going to sleep with children. Paul last night had a fever and I have to care for him.

She devised that excuse to avoid being alone with her husband.

She walked purposefully to the small room and opened the bed.

She slept all night and she dreamed with a tender man, but strong and virile, the hero who appeared in the novels she read when she was a young girl; a man who fell in love with her and only her, forever.

The next day, first get up, Manele left home alone with his suitcase in his hand and took a taxi.

He said that he would go to visit his in-laws, and then would go to La Vitia to see their parents and from there return to Brexals on Sunday, back to work.

All on his own, like a independent man. Better that way.

Marcy recognized that kind of behavior. After a storm, he tried to calm her for a while to forget it all, until the next time come.

She knew his way of being.

She knew that he would expect enough so she would forget, and then she would throw at his feet, as the drug addict clings to his drug, without reason, without condition, so he would love her a little more and he would forget his lovers.

 

 

48

 

Marcy had to admit that Manele had arrived to her life at the right time. She met him in the first year, but it was in the middle of their university studies, when they formalized the relationship, during the study trip.

Marcy had previously had bad luck with the boys.

She had friends, to walk hand in hand through Greda´s Central Park crossing romantic looks for hours. After, she had had friends for romantic adventures.

But it was sixteen when she lived the first long-term relationship with the first skirmishes of sex in the back of the car from him.

That relationship had lasted a year, long enough for her to believe that the boy, who worked in a supermarket near her home, was to be the man in her life. She began to speak with him in a coffee shop she frequented with her friends, but she knew him a while back because he had delivered groceries to her house.

Since their eyes were crossed, Marcy knew that she was going to have something with him.

He was a kid agile, unwrapped, brown hair, curly, somewhat tangled; he was thin to a fault, evasive eyes and full lips. He was a sexy boy.

Sometimes, when he looked at Marcy, perhaps because of nerves, he nibbled her lower lip until it was red.

They went to the movies several times where they sat in the back rows in the darkest, to touching each other; then they spent many afternoons in his car, in places outside Greda, where they tried all the sexual positions that was possible to test in such small dimensions.

The boy was quite skilled and Marcy learned very well.

But soon things began to go wrong. He became reluctant to come out together to walk around town and just wanted to pick her up when it was dark in the corner closest to her house, to doing always as usua