We’ll read each other soon / Nos leemos pronto

Versión en español, abajo

This has been a very productive recess for me. It was hard for many reason, and won’t bore you with details, all I can say is that we’ll be reading each other soon, very soon. Can’t be a little earlier for lack of internet connection, but that’s only something that can be solve easily with head up preparation. So, as I said we’ll be reading each other soon. Yes, I can’t wait to read your comments and know how have you been doing in my absent. For now, next week is an awesome week for get togethers, read you then!!!



Nos leemos pronto

Éste ha sido un receso muy productivo para mí. Ha sido muy dificil por muchos motivos, y no te aburriré con los detalles, todo lo que puedo decir es que nos leeremos pronto, muy pronto. No puede ser un poco más temprano por la falta de internet, pero eso es algo que se puede resolver fácilmente con un poco de preparación. Así que, como dije nos leeremos pronto. Sí, no puedo esperar leer tus comentarios y saber cómo has estado en mi ausencia. Por ahora, la proxima semana suena como una maravillosa para encuentros, ¡te leo entonces!



"It was large and juicy, almost red in the center, and so fragrant that I didn’t want to eat it because I would lose the smell."

Of guavas and guarapo

"It was large and juicy, almost red in the center, and so fragrant that I didn’t want to eat it because I would lose the smell."

Sweet nectars raised from the ground; vivid memories of an infancy long gone.

There are many flavors that the palate has been denied off for many years, still they’re desired. Living in an island that offers them unconditionally, anyone would think easy to find them. It has been the opposite, maybe the blame should fall on not looking hard enough. It has happen with the guava, of which a tree stood proudly in the backyard of the household where in the past the family lived.

Since then, decades have come and gone, and the guava has eluded me like an undesirable person. There have been random encounters with its tree, either too early where its branches are nude only cover by the green leaves, or when the fruit is still on its way to maturity. Each time left with the desire to satisfy the palate, to put an end to an eternal prelude of a mortal kiss in which a fruit will become part of me.

Ah, Guarapo! A refreshment squeezed out of the sugar cane by brute force, either letting your marble teeth do the crushing and suck its content, or taking a back seat while a machine those the work and a glass awaits patiently for the nectar to fill its void. A few days ago a cooking channel used it to make a drink; I looked with desire wishing my mouth could taste the sugary juicy liquid. Vega Baja has in its soil marks of my infancy and the past scraped in its womb of the sugar refinery. It was there were I first tasted the guarapo, when the #2 road was filled once with delectable local goodies.

On Sunday we traveled the coast line on our way to Arecibo, my husband was on the lookout for some guarapo. “Maybe when we come back we should try the #2 road, we might hit jackpot. It’s the only place I could think of that might have a roadside stall selling it.” On our way back we made our usual stop at a house in Barceloneta that sells local vegetables, were I find good green peppers and my husband enjoys fresh coconut water. I got out of the car while Mr. Hernández stayed with the kids. The owner greeted me with a smile asking me what I wanted. I looked at the green peppers and asked for a pound. Then I noticed a basket that my hands were touching, curious I asked the man what the round green yellow pear shaped fruit was. He said “Guayaba”. An excitement rushed through my body exploding in a smile that expressed itself as a “Oh my God!”. The astonish look on the owners face was priceless, I wanted to tell him, “Yes, I’m surprise to see a guayaba”. Instead, I ask for the price and took away my treasure showing it to my daughter. The car smelled delicious something my daughter did not liked, but truly it was an aroma I enjoyed breath at a time.

The story does not end here, for one more treasure must be found, and found it was. At the moment we turned to exit the #2 road, there it was a big white wooden sign that said in vivid scarlet letters “Guarapo”. A swift u-turn took us back in track and there the line of cars alongside the road stood. A few people waited including my husband, and I stayed in the car explaining my daughter what the big fuzz was about. What was the juice, how it was extracted and how much she would like it. My son nodded in agreement to everything we said.

Once in my hands I could not stop smiling, neither my husband. After the photo was taken, a stir of the ice cubes to make the freshly squeezed juice colder, I tasted it. It was as if I was transported to my childhood again, the sweetness was still vivid in my palate for it had not disappear like others. I turned to my daughter who waited impatiently to have her turned, and as she sipped her expression changed to that of disgust. She hated it and so did my son, who would have thought that sugar based refreshment could not be a delight for children! With disappointment, I turned to my drink and forgot what happened with a sip.

Back home I sliced the guava fruit, this time determined that my daughter will like it, and offered a piece. My heart was pleased to know she had indeed loved it, except for the smell. Then I sat down in my sofa to finally put an end to a prelude so long waited. And as my teeth bit into the soft pinkish pulp, I was once again in the country side of Vega Baja sitting under the guava tree of my infancy.

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I forgot to ask, what are the tastes, flavors, foods that your palete has been denied for a long time?

 



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Sushine award

Sushine Award

My friend Clarisel from Bronx Latino has awarded Mink with the Sushine Award, which I’m proud to accept. This award “is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blogging world.” The Sunshine Award is given by bloggers to bloggers as a way to spread the bloggy love.

Well, I’m spreading that love with fellow bloggers whom I enjoy everyday!

First, this are the rules to follow for The Sunshine Award:

1. Put the award on your blog and/or within your post.

2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.

3. Link to the nominees within your post.

4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.

5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received the award.

This are the blogs I’ve given my bloggy love to:

Here there are, enjoy their blogs and share the love with your comments. Thanks again to my friend Clarisel for this honor.



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Between love and believes

A short story of love and betrayal, enjoy!  

   

 Staring out the large window of her bedroom, Sofia looked down on a beautiful garden with sadness in her heart.  Seventeen eighty-nine was a dangerous time, especially for ‘los hacendados’.  Many months ago, ‘la revolución’ was nothing more than a rumor circulated during conversations at every dining table in every corner of the city, but today it was a reality.  The rebels demanded better ways of living, and they blamed ‘el Presidente’ for not taking care of his people.  While homeless subjects died of starvation, they claimed the hacendados and ‘el Presidente’ draped themselves in custom-made jewelry and exquisite clothes.    

While the reality of the rebels, that were mostly poor people, was not Sofia’s, she suffered for her loved one.  Fernando was his name, and, even though he was not of wealth as she was, he was a captain of ‘La guardia Presidencial’, which was a respectable title for a young man to achieve in the President’s army.  His position meant that she could see him now and then, for he was well respected among the rich families for his bravery in the line of duty.  Sofia met Fernando during a ball held in ‘Casa Blanca’, the luxurious palace of the President of la Republica.  They danced together all night, and it was, as Sofia called it, “love at first sight.”   

That night, Sofia was captivated by his sky blue eyes, which were enchanting and mysterious at the same time.  Of course, she didn’t waste any time to tell him, “You know, some say that a man who has those kinds of eyes has deep secrets inside his heart.”   

            Fernando, enchanted by her beauty, smiled and replied, “Do you think I have secrets?  I know everybody does.”   

            “Yours are different, for they require their secrecy.”   

            Fernando’s expression change immediately, he looked at Sofia seriously as if studying her with his gaze.  Sofia noticed this, and she quickly said, “Please, do not take this the wrong way.  I find your secrecy interesting.”   

            “Why is that?” he asked with curiosity, looking at her with sharp eyes.   

            “I intend to discover those secrets, and afterward I’ll make them my own,” Sofia responded playfully.   

            “You will not like my secrets,” he said seriously.   

            “Of that, I’ll be the judge.  For now, I would like to dance again.”   

            “As you wish,” Fernando said as kissed her hand.   

Seven months passed, since then they had kept seeing each other.  Sadly, two weeks ago, Fernando was called to duty to assist in some matters of ‘la revolución’.  His orders were to infiltrate the revolution as a spy.  He only came to Sofia to say farewell and spend the little time he had left by her side.  Ever since, Sofia had heard or received no news of him.  The revolution had started in the north of the country and was quickly spreading throughout the cities, getting nearer everyday to her home town.  News of death and massacres came to Sofia as she prepared to leave her home that afternoon, accompanied by her closest friends, to stay in her country residence.  The only thing keeping her there was that her father had not yet arrived, and she waited for him before departing.   

Sofia recalled the afternoon Fernando came to her to say his goodbyes.  It was a sunny and beautiful spring afternoon; still his departure was not what Sofia desired.  They talked of many things, even of the rebellion, which was not a preferred topic of Sofia.  But Fernando had brought it up that day.   

“What do you think of ‘la revolución’?” he asked in an odd way.   

 “My love, do not burden me with that.  I really do not wish to talk about it.  Everywhere you go everybody talks of the same thing.  When I go visit my friends, even my father burdens me with the same subject at dinner time.  I did not expect this from you too,” said Sofia with a weary voice.   

“Sofia is a reality of our times.  You should at least care,” Fernando said sounding disappointed.   

“Is not my reality and if you want to know what I think of it, I’ll tell you.  My thoughts on that issue are simple.  Things should stay as they are.  Everybody is happy that way, I know I am.  Still this ‘revolución’ will only bring death and sorrow.”   

“You think everyone is happy as you are, because you have everything a human being could have.  Outside these golden walls you live in, people are dying of starvation.  Their way of life is inhuman, and the president and ‘los hacendados’ do nothing to help them.  None of you care,” said Fernando upset.   

Sofia was confused with his words, as she could not believe what she was hearing from her lover.    

“You are a captain of the guards!  You should not talk in that manner.  Your duty is to the president and not the people.  The people serve their government and the president, who represents our glorious country.”   

Fernando stood up amazed with what Sofia said. He looked at her in an aggravated way and said irritated, “You have no idea of what goes beyond these walls, do you?”   

Perplexed Sofia replied, “Of course I do.  I am not an ignorant woman!  I…”   

But before she could finish, Fernando interrupted her raising his voice, “First, so you know, the people do not serve the president.  He is here to serve the people, and by that I mean he is a servant of this country.  Those poor people are the ones who work the land, who keep this country and its economy flowing.  The people, those who struggle everyday of their lives to survive, are tired and wish a better life.  They’re the ones who deserve my respect, and my duty is to them!  The government and the hacendados only care for their wealth and power.”   

Sofia stood up and began walking away with eyes full of tears.  Fernando closed his eyes realizing what he had done.  He was too harsh with his words; still she needed to understand what was happening.  The world was changing, and if she was to survive in it, Sofia needed to change too. He felted horrible, his heart divided.  She did ask him not to talked about it, but still he wanted to know what her thoughts where.  Fernando walked towards her, grabbed Sofia by her arm and pulled her towards him.  He gave her a hug and cried.   

“I am sorry to upset you.”   

Sofia crying said softly, “You should be.  You’re behaving as if you are not yourself.” Pushing him away from her, in a matter that their eyes met, she continued, “Here in front of me is another man that I know nothing of.  Your expressions, your way of speech, even your eyes where lighted when you were speaking.  Like it was something that was part of you!  This rebellion brings only separation and is affecting everything in its path.  Even us!  Is tearing us apart, we had never argued before.”    

She paused trying to restrain herself then she continued with anger in her voice, “I hate them! I hate everything and everyone that has something to do with it. Look what it has done to us. It has created a void in our relation that was perfect in every sense of the word.” Sofia covered her face with her hands and cried desperately. Fernando looked at her with sadness, but evidently he was upset. He wanted to cry; instead he kissed her forehead and whispered, “I have to go.” With out looking at her, Fernando walked away.

Sofia fell to the ground crying inconsolable. Her heart was being taking away by emotions she could not comprehend. She looked at Fernando one last time as he slowly disappeared in the distant gate. Sofia felt a desire to run to him and kissed his soft lips and begged him not to go. But something inside her kept her from doing that. Maybe it was her pride or that she lacked the strength to do it.

After that episode Sofia cried for days angry with herself, for their departure was not what she wanted. Wishing, many times, she could go back to that day so she might have a chance to say a proper good-bye to her love.

Sofia came out of her room saying good-bye to the garden that had been witness of her growing love and sorrow for Fernando. It was almost three o’clock and Sofia’s friends were waiting for her in the garden gazebo for some afternoon coffee. As Sofia entered the gazebo she smiled to cover the sadness she felt.

“¡Buenas tardes, señoritas!” Sofia said sitting down.

“¡Buenas tardes!” Josefina and Erica answered at the same time.

The ladies ate and drank their coffee in silence; they where too nervous to talk and desperate to live the city for their own well being. Josefina and Erica noticed the sadness in Sofia’s eyes. Erica looked at Josefina and opened her eyes widely making a nod with her head. Josefina understood Erica’s signal and said to Sofia trying to cheer her up, “Please, cheer up. I know what worries you more is that you haven’t heard from Fernando. But believe me you will hear from him soon, you’ll see. Everything is going to work for the best and this rebellion will soon pass.”

“I know. Thank you so much for being here with me,” Sofia replied smiling back at them and holding their hands.

A scream was heard from inside the house and servants came running out towards the garden. Men with guns dressed like rebels came behind them shooting. The three women got up nervously; Sofia stood in front of them. The revolution had reached her home and the rebels were invading it.

One of them had her father, he was bleeding and full of bruises. The rebel threw him at Sofia’s feet. She kneel down to help him, nevertheless the rebel grabbed her by the arm and scream at her telling her to get up. She replied that her father needed a doctor, but he pushed her back.

A tall man came in, dressed in the same fashion. He had a beard and a hat covered his eyes. The rebel called him ‘Capitan’ and asked him what they should do with the women and servants. Josefina and Erica shouted desperately. Sofia grabbed their hands trying to relax them, still they were too scared.

“Take this two and the men and put them standing in front of the wall.”

The women screamed loudly. Sofia tried to help them, but another rebel grabbed her by the shoulders and she was unable to assist her friends. The Capitan approached Sofia and looked at her. As she looked at him she noticed that his gaze was very familiar. Her heart jumped inside as she felt fainted. Sofia knew well those sky blue eyes that looked at her with anger, yet at the same time with love. He looked different with a beard; it made him looked crude, especially in the manner he was dressed. She had never seen him that way before.

The rebel holding Sofia walked away at his command.

“There is no place for mercy or forgiveness for those that believe and are part of this revolution,” the Captain said to her seriously.

“No,” she said breathing deeply. A tear came rolling down her cheek, which she rapidly dried.

“There’s only hate then?”

“Yes,” she whispered with a broken heart.

The Captain opened his mouth as if he was going to say something, but no words came out. He step closer to her and enraged said, “Then I must do what I have to. Know that I only do it, because I love the rebellion more and hate those who are against it.”

With a soft voice, Sofia replied, “You can only hate what you have loved before, for there is no room for hate without love.”

Her words left him speechless. Then he closed his eyes and turned his back on her. He said to one of the rebels, “Put her with the others.”

The rebel pushed Sofia towards the wall placing her between her father that was being held by Josefina, for he could hardly stand, and Erica. Four rebels with guns kneel in front of them. The Capitan stood behind the line of men commanding them to prepare their rifles. Erica began singing and Josefina followed. Her voice was sweet, but full of sadness for she knew her end was near. Sofia gave a last look at the Capitan who looked at her seriously, yet in his eyes there was sadness. He touched the shoulder of one of the rebels and he shot.

Sofia felt the round bullet enter her chest as her body slowly slipped down the wall. Everything gradually became darker, while she heard the singing of her friends fading away.

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Un camino de huellas mojadas

Un Camino de Huellas Mojadas 

Desperté aun soñolienta y deseosa de seguir durmiendo.  Mi cama y almohada se sentían suaves y cómodas como para echar unos cuantos minutos más de sueño, pero al ver la hora recordé al profesor de mi primera clase y sus palabras sarcásticas si cualquiera llegaba tarde.  Con aquella inspiración presente, me senté en la cama y apague el abanico.  Me di una ducha rápidamente y al pasar a mi cuarto sentí frió.  El aire del abanico chocó con mi piel refrescada por la ducha haciéndome sentir escalofríos.  Miré por entre las cortinas verticales los últimos minutos que le quedaban a la noche, que aun se extendía sobre la tierra del Caribe.  “Hoy va hacer calor”- me dije.  Prendí la televisión para escuchar las noticias de la mañana y escuchar el informe del tiempo.  Lloverá un poco, pero solo unas pequeñas lloviznas. 

“Mahones y sandalias son la orden del día,”- dije en voz alta.  Las sandalias de paja que me puse eran muy cómodas, pero lo malo de ellas es que si llueve estas absorben el agua como esponjas y me van a mojar los pies.  No importaba porque siempre que llovía para el área metropolitana, estaba soleado para Cayey.  Me puse mis sandalias de paja, me despedí de mi mamá y me fui para la universidad.

Para los colmos de los colmos mi pronóstico del tiempo no fue muy acertado.  Al salir de la clase el cielo cubría a la tierra de Puerto Rico con un manto gris.  Lloviznas caían al suelo y viajaban por el aire frió que soplaba suavemente.  Yo caminaba muy chistosamente desviando los charquitos para que mis sandalias de paja no se mojaran, pero para nada me sirvió el esfuerzo.  Unos minutos después mis sandalias, al pisar la tierra, creaban un sonido peculiar.  Ese que se escucha cuando las cosas se empapan. 

Mi mayor preocupación era que al entrar al edificio de humanidades dejaría un rastro de huellas mojadas en el piso.  Así fue, estas como otras no se desaparecían al seguir el tramo.  A cada paso que daba aparecía una nueva tal y como la pasada.  Sin mirar atrás, continué caminando imaginando como las personas se quedaban mirándome.  Haciendo comentarios sobre mis sandalias mojadas.  “Pobrecita sus zapatos están enchumbaos.”- me imaginaba a las personas decir.  

Al llegar a la oficina de humanidades no me atreví a moverme mucho, con tal de no dejar el piso manchado con mis huellas.  Al terminar lo que iba a ser allí no mire ni al piso, dí los buenos días y cerré la puerta tras de mí.  Caminé rápidamente y ví una de las huellas dejadas por mis zapatos en el camino de regreso.  Seguí caminando y seguía encontrándome con mis huellas dejadas.  “No todo el mundo tiene la oportunidad de descubrir sus huellas dejadas y de contemplarlas con orgullo,”- pensé. 

Cada vez que pasaba por una de ellas, las contemplaba y pensaba en mi vida.  En las cosas que había hecho y en las cosas que no he terminado de hacer.  Como mis poesías, mis cuentos, mis sueños y mis metas. Me di cuenta de que a la vez que contemplaba mis huellas dejadas estaba dejando otras en el camino.  Huellas distintas hechas en el presente y que pasan a ser parte del pasado. 

Al bajar las escaleras me percate que mis huellas eran acompañadas por otras.  Cada vez que bajaba un escalón mas huellas aparecían.  Hasta que al final ninguna se podía distinguir, ni tan siquiera las mías.  Todas se perdían en un mar de huellas dejadas por otros seres humanos y sus zapatos mojados.  Todos de una forma u otra caminamos, por un momento, el mismo camino.  A veces para ayudarnos, otras para retrasarnos.  Quizás para recordarnos que debemos de alcanzar nuestras metas por más obstáculos que encontremos y llegar al final del camino.  Sonreí y al salir del edificio miré hacia arriba y ví el cielo azul que se aproximaba.

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You say Rosmary, I say Romero

I share with you one of my articles published in Better Homes and Gardens: Outdoor living and ideas. Enjoy!

 As a Puerto Rican, I must have certain herbs in your back yard in order to have an excellent meal.  We boricuas use them almost in everything. For example recao –what you call wild coriander –is good in any beans and a key ingredient in sofrito.  This condiment-a mix of garlic, tomatoes, green and sweet peppers, and onions-has other herbs, too, such as cilantrillo (maidenhair fern) and orégano (wild marjoram).          

Most of the herbs I’ve heard about in the cooking networks, I know them by their English names. Asking about them in the local nurseries was frustrated because must of the people know them by their native names.

When I learned all the names of the ones I wanted to have, I bought some seeds and started planting early in spring.  Now I know what you mean when you say lemon balm-you mean limoncillo; anise, anís; parsley, you’re saying perejil; thyme is tomillo; basil is albahaca; the spearmint is just menta; and lavender, lavanda.    With this in mind, I just relax amongst the aromatic herbs, for I will not be lost in translation.

Blog de Silvia Ochoa

Saludos amig@s,

Comparto con ustedes el blog de Silvia Ochoa, El Rincón Literario de Soadelf, quien tan amablemente me introduce a sus lectores y da a conocer a “El Valle de la Inspiración”. Desen una vueltesita, tomen un café en mano y pierdanse en este rincón literario que les ofrece reseñas, poemas y más.

Hasta luego,

Alexandra Román de Hernández

The Salsa dancer, a short story

salsa dancer 

The salsa dancer

 

 

            It was ten o’clock at night, time for the closing performance to begin at the Café Cantante where Catalina and partner were the stars of the night.  The Café Cantante was a place where salsa lover’s gathered to see great performances by local and international artists, while enjoying a gourmet meal.  After ten years of retirement, in which she pursue a carrier as a theater actress, she made her first appearance.  Sadly for Catalina, her acting dreams turn into nightmares, and with a broken heart she threw herself back in the arms of her first love, la salsa.

Catalina looked at herself in the mirror for the last time and smiled proudly.  She was stunningly beautiful in her red dress.  Time had not been bad to her firm body for it still showed the curves of a Latina dancer.  Her face, on other hand, displayed a more mature version of herself.  To remediate that, she asked for red lighting so her face could look flawless and young. 

A knock on the door startled her, it was Alfonso her dancing partner who came to check on her. 

“Ready,” he asked looking at her straight in the eyes.

She nodded smiling.  Alfonso step closer and gave her a soft hug.  “Is good to have you back,” then he tried to kiss her lips, but Catalina turned away. 

“Let’s not go there,” Catalina said in a soft, but serious tone of voice.

“I’ll wait for you outside,” he answered disappointed.

 As Alfonso walked out of the room, sadness took over Catalina; tears came to her eyes.  Before she went into retirement, Catalina and Alfonso had a romantic relationship. She decided to cut it off knowing that they were not meant for each other.   The truth was she wanted more in her life than just the passion for a dance.  With Alfonso at her love companion, she was going to have just that: a life revolving around salsa.

Her sadness was not based on a broken relationship, but that her husband was not there to see her perform.  Three years before that night, she met him at an opening night party for a play in which she was acting.  Catalina fell in love with a ‘gringo’, that’s what her mother called him, who was full of life, but had no swing.  Strangely, she never told him she was a professional dancer.  Maybe, because he always reminded her she was a disappointing actress and wanted to prove him wrong.  At the end of the tiresome journey, he was right.  So, Edward was not there that night because she wanted to prove to herself she still got it.

Catalina entered the stage holding the hand of her long time partner and everyone applause.  They position themselves in the center of the wooden stage smiling slightly at each other, and looking confident and secure.  Ready to start the show, the announcer presented her,          “Ladies and gentlemen! The Café Cantante is pleased to present two of the greatest salsa dancers, Alfonso Hernández y Catalina Aragon!” 

            Seductive and proud, she walked towards the front of the stage one arm in the air, the other join to Alfonso’s.  They made a vow and the audience applauded cheerfully at them.  Catalina went back to the arms of Alfonso and waited with patience for the music to start. Their eyes connected as those of two lovers in a prelude to a kiss; bodies firm and elegant. Then a trumpet sounded and the song began. 

Every inch of their anatomy moved at the rhythm of ‘la salsa gorda’, as the Puerto Rican call the old fashion salsa.  Alfonso and Catalina danced like two teenage lovebirds seducing one another.  Catalina felt the music rushing threw her veins as she loosened more in every toss and turn.  Her hand caressed the outline of her body; her shoulders gave a small, but rapid shake.  A smile followed as she felt her old self once again.  In one of those turns Catalina’s gaze met the deep black eyes of a man who watch her astonished.          A second pass slowly as she looked at him perplexed.  Closing her eyes, she went back to the dance forcing a smile in her face.  Alfonso noticed her change and murmured, “Concentrate.”

She took a deep breath and did as her partner told her.  Catalina block the man that still looked at her with a hunting stare.  Nevertheless, the dance had to go on and she was not about to let that night be the end of her career.  Her heart pumped harder as she surrendered to the music; Catalina moved like a Caribbean goddess. 

The man could not take his eyes away from her; following every danced move.  Mesmerized, nothing else mattered for him at that moment.  Not the people that surrounded him and their joyful screams, nor the woman at his side holding his hand.  Only Catalina deserved his attention.

            Catalina kept dancing passionately looking, now and then, at the man.  She knew he was looking at her the whole time, for she could feel his gaze in her skin like a sweet caress. 

            When the song was over the audience in the café stood up and applauded cheerfully.   Alfonso and Catalina saluted them with a vow; Alfonso turned to Catalina and kissed her chick.  Perplexed, she blushed, smile and exit the stage.  The man quickly stood up and went after her backstage, ignoring his companion that looked at him confused and worried.  She called to him, “Edward! Where are you going?” not answering, he kept walking.

He opened the door and saw Catalina walking fast, Alfonso in front of her.  He speeded up making his way through the narrow corridor.  When he finally reached her, he grab her by the arm and pulled her towards him so she could see his face.  Catalina, exhausted, looked at him surprised.  She pulled back, getting loose from his grip and stared at him in a daring way.  For a few seconds none of them said a word, only stared at each other.  Edward got closer to Catalina -being a few inches taller than her- she had to elevate her face. 

            “I didn’t know my wife was a salsa dancer and one of the greatest.” He said ironically.  “For almost three years you have lied to me.  You were supposed to be in a trip with your mother!” 

            Catalina looked down and laughed softly as she remembered the wish she made before the performance.  She loved him deeply, but was tire of his despotic attitude towards her and the things she was passionate about.  What she saw that night was enough for her; it was the begging of new things and the end of others.  With a new found strength, she looked at him straight in the eyes and said, “Ironic isn’t it?  You swore you were never going to see her again, and here you are by her side.”

            Before Edward had a chance to answer, a woman came from the corridor and took his hand.  She smiled unaware of what was happening between them.

            “My love!” she exclaimed getting closer to him.  “It seems the performance made quite an impact on you.”

            Alfonso, who witnessed everything, took Catalina’s hand.  She went with him, and before entering her dressing room she turned and said smiling dignified, “Good bye my darling husband!” Catalina blew him a kiss, and left her gringo husband and companion in the middle of the corridor in awe.

El Amante de Marta

El Amante de Marta

 

Él se enamoró de ella desde el primer día en que la vio, cautivado por sus ojos negros llenos de compasión y ternura. Marta era su nombre, una mujer de piel sedosa que gustaba de cambiar de color de pelo, aunque ella prefería teñirlo de rubio.

Marta se había percatado de la existencia de él, pero nunca se detenía a conversar. Le veía rondar de vez en cuando por los alrededores de su casa, caminando por el balcón, mirando a través de las ventanas de cristal. Marta nunca le mencionó nada a nadie, se guardaba a aquel hombre como un secreto. Hasta que una noche fría de enero le vio al final del largo y angosto pasillo de su casa. Estaba parado allí inmóvil esperando por ella, por una palabra de su boca. Si ella no quería hablarle, él prefería que rosara su piel al pasar a su lado como hacía a veces. Él se conformaba con ellos, pues eran la prueba de que Marta conocía de su existencia, que sentía su presencia.

Lo diferente de ese día a otro, fue que Marta se detuvo al otro lado del pasillo; le miraba fijamente, estudiando su mirada. Ella, al igual que él, estaba inmóvil y esperaba impaciente que él le hablara, pues deseaba escuchar su voz. Esa voz a la cual ella se había negado a escuchar par tantos años, pero él se mantenía quieto y callado ni tan siquiera su respirar se podía escuchar retumbar por el angosto y largo pasillo.

Fue entonces, que Marta no pudo más y desesperadamente dijo, “No tengo tiempo para ti hoy.”

“Nunca lo tienes,” contesto él. Su voz era rara, nunca había escuchado una voz tan dulce y serena como la de él.

Entonces Marta le contestó, “Aceptarte a ti seria aceptar mi propia ruina.”

“No, sino tu verdad, la que vives día a día en esta casa. Por la cual tantas veces has llorado en mi regazo.”

“Nunca he llorado en tu regazo,” contestó Marta indignada.

“Por favor, no te molestes,” le dijo el hombre con ternura. “Han sido tantos años de sufrimiento. No recuerdas las tardes que pasamos juntos en el balcón mirando a lo lejos sin decir palabra alguna, como de costumbre. Deseando por otra oportunidad, otro tiempo, otra vida, un final diferente para los que amas y no dejas ir de tu corazón.”

“Sabes que son sangre de mi sangre y los guardaré en mi corazón,” expresó Marta tocando su pecho.

Marta comenzó a caminar hacia el hombre sin dejar de mirarle a los ojos, los cuales eran distintos a los de una persona normal, pues al mirarlos era como si te transportaran a un mundo diferente. Su mirada era profunda y misteriosa. Todo él era un misterio cautivador, una atracción que iba más allá del placer: era una escapatoria. Fue entonces, que Marta cerró sus ojos y de ellos se escapó una lágrima y se detuvo en medio del pasillo a llorar.

EI hombre se acercó a Marta y secando sus lágrimas le dijo, “Me gusta cuando lloras, porque me das la oportunidad de consolarte. Me gusta cuando a mi te entregas y dejas que te acaricie la espalda. No me niegues tu corazón, sabes que ya me pertenece.”

Él sonrió, ella se marchó y se encerró en su cuarto. Se tiró en su cama y lloró hasta quedarse dormida. Al despertar notó que aún vestía la ropa del día anterior, y estaba sola en su cama. Tomó un baño y se dirigió a la cocina para tomar una taza de café. Se sentó a la mesa a disfrutar de su desayuno cuando su mirada se perdió en el paisaje que se podía disfrutar desde la gran ventana de su comedor. Percibió la presencia de alguien, al mirar a la sala vio al hombre parado frente a la puerta de cristal, quien le miraba con ternura desde el otro lado. Sintió deseos de gritarle que se marchara y la dejara en paz, pero antes de que pudiera hacerlo un carro subía por la cuesta de su casa. Se levantó rápidamente y se asomó por la ventana. Era Ramón, su marido, que llegaba a su casa.

Marta de un brinco se asomó a la sala para ver si el hombre aún permanecía en el balcón, pero había desaparecido. Se asomó a las escaleras para ver si permanecía allí, pero no encontró a nadie. Entró rápidamente a la casa y recogió los platos de la mesa para lavarlos. Ramón entró y escuchando ruido en la cocina se dirigió a ella. Saludo a Marta y la besó, ella le preguntó un poco nerviosa, “¿Deseas que te prepare el desayuno?”

“Sí,” contestó Ramón. “Voy a tomar una ducha y me voy a cambiar que voy a salir de nuevo. Te voy a dejar una camisa para que me la planches.”

Ramón se dio cuenta que había algo extraño en Marta. “¿Estás bien? Te noto un poco nerviosa.”

En un corto silencio Marta pensó en lo que iba a contestar, como si ella tuviera algo que ocultar. Continúo lavando los platos y finalmente dijo mas calmada, “Nada, estoy bien.”

Luego le miró y sonrió como si la pregunta nunca hubiese sido hecha. Ramón se retiró para ducharse y cambiarse. Marta preparo el desayuno, lo sirvió y fue a su cuarto a buscar la camisa que iba a planchar. Su esposo comenzó a hablarle del trabajo y la política. Marta contestaba asintiendo la cabeza o haciendo la pregunta común para continuar con la conversación. Al terminar Ramón de vestirse, desayunó y dándole un beso a su esposa se marchó dejándola sola, nuevamente.

Encima de la cama estaban tirados la camisa y el pantalón de Ramón. Marta cogió la camisa y se dio cuenta de un aroma particular. Perfume de mujer emanaba de la camisa azul de su marido, Marta se sentó en el borde de la cama y suspiró. Sabía de donde provenía el perfume, su esposo había pasado la noche con su otra mujer. Marta notó que rastros de la cabellera rubia de la otra quedaban en la camisa. Un cabello largo de color rubio, no era uno de sus cabellos porque, aunque era rubia, su cabellera era corta. Tomo el pantalón crema junto con la camisa y los puso en la cesta de la ropa sucia.

Ya no valía la pena gritar o molestarse, estaba acostumbrada y a veces ni le importaba. Aún lo amaba. No como al principio de su relación, pero lo amaba a su manera como Ramón le amaba a ella. Una vez pensó en divorciarse, pero todo quedo en nada. Palabras fuertes se escucharon por toda la blanca casa. Moretones quedaron marcados en su piel por la forma en que Ramón le sujeto los brazos. El tiempo se encargó en borrar los moretones en su piel y de enviar al olvido los pensamientos de divorcio.

Al salir de la recamara notó que al final del pasillo estaba nuevamente el hombre. Marta bajó su rostro y comenzó a caminar como si no le hubiera visto. El hombre dijo, “Ahora recurres por ignorarme. Sabes que eso ya no funciona entre los dos. ¿Por qué no me hablas como lo hiciste ayer?” Le preguntó a Marta tiernamente.

Marta se detuvo, le miró a los ojos y contestó fríamente, “No tengo nada que decir hoy.”

“¿Vas a mantenerte en silencio todo el día? Estarás sola hasta el anochecer, nadie vendrá a verte. Por lo menos no hoy y no es hasta mañana que irás a visitar a tus hermanos y a tu madre.”

“¡Calla!” Exclamó enojada. “Para eso vienes, a mortificar mi pobre existencia.”

“No,” contestó él, luego sonrió y dijo. “Para consolar tus penas y amarte más.”

El rostro de Marta cambió y sus labios se entreabrieron. No sabía que decir, estaba vulnerable a tal declaración. El hombre continúo, “No te preocupes por contestar. Mis palabras son fuertes para ti, pero de algo estoy seguro.”

Hubo un corto silencio entre ambos. Él se fue acercando lentamente a Marta, tomó su mano y comenzaron a caminar hacia el balcón. Marta temblorosa le miraba confundida sin saber que decir o pensar. Deseaba saber que quería él con ella. Finalmente, él dijo, “Estaba seguro que sabías que te amo. Lo se por tus miradas, por tus roces en el pasillo y por la forma en que te enojas y lloras cuando estas a mi lado. Lo haces para que te consuele. Deseas en lo más íntimo de tu alma atormentada, que te lleve lejos de este lugar.”

Frente a ella estaba un barranco, un abismo profundo, y junto a él descansaba la blanca casa de Marta. Aquella con la cual soñó toda su vida. El risco era profundo y terminaba al pie de un verdoso valle lleno de frondosos árboles. Flamboyanes de flores anaranjadas que pintaban pintorescamente el valle. Marta entonces preguntó, sin dejar de contemplar el profundo abismo, “¿A dónde me llevarías? ¿Que lugar en este mundo me puede hacer olvidar mi pena?”

“Mi hogar,” contestó el hombre lleno de orgullo.

“¿En tu hogar puedo olvidar la muerte de mis hijos? ¿La forma en que su sangre bañaba el negro pavimento? ¿Puedo yo olvidar en tu hogar la forma en que sus cuerpos yacían fríos sin yo poder recogerles y ponerles a descansar en sus camas?”

Mirándole continúo, “Mi angustia de no poder abrazarles por qué no me permitían tocarles. ¿Tú me harás olvidar mi pena? ¿Sacarás de mi corazón estas dos espadas que tengo clavadas? No.

“Mas me ofreces tu amor para que yo pueda olvidar. No hay amor en este mundo que me haga olvidar mi pena. Solo el de ver a mis hijos vivos, llenos de vida y con un final feliz. Ese es el amor que espero. El de mis hijos a mi lado.”

“Ya no puedes dar marcha atrás. No puedes borrar o rehacer lo que ya está hecho,” contestó él. “Más yo te ofrezco una vida sin penas llena de mi amor. Sin recuerdos, ni torturas al alma. ¿Por qué ahora que te ofrezco todo no lo deseas? Si me lo pediste tantas veces.”

“Nunca te pedí nada. No fue hasta ayer que te dirigí la palabra por vez primera,” contestó Marta.

“He estado contigo toda la vida.”

Marta estaba confundida con esas palabras, no entendía lo quería decir.

“De Ramón. El día en que lo conociste yo estaba frente a ti admirando la belleza de tus negros ojos,” al decir esto rozó el rostro de Marta. Una lágrima bajó por la mejilla de ella.

“¡Eran tus ojos los que yo miraba!” contestó Marta desconcertada. Comenzaba a comprender tantas cosas en su vida. Aquel día ella se sentía sola con una angustia en su corazón. Marta no había comprendido el porqué de ese sentimiento que la consumió por tanto días, hasta que conoció a Ramón. Cuando le conoció sus sentimientos de soledad cambiaron, y pensó que Ramón era la persona que la acompañaría el resto de su vida. El tiempo le enseñó lo equivocada que estaba. Cuando sus hijos nacieron perdió todo sentimiento de soledad, estaba completa. Hasta que les perdió y esos sentimientos resurgieron y fue cuando se dio cuenta de la presencia de ese hombre en su vida.

“Por eso te ame desde ese día, pero tus sentimientos se vieron confundidos y amaste a Ramón y no a mi. Más me veías pasar a tu lado, perderme en tu mirada y me ignorabas. Sabía que tu vida con Ramón no sería un cuento de hadas. Su familia te escondió tantas cosas que al final las aceptaste, y te conformaste con tu destino. Es contigo y para ti que vivo. Es en tu soledad que existo y en ella me apasiono por ti.”

Marta le miro estupefacta, comenzaba a comprender por vez primera su destino, su vida. Un abismo profundo en su ser inundaba su alma, y una angustia que no podía contener explotaba dentro de ella.

“Quédate conmigo por el resto de tus días. Seré tu consuelo, nos perderemos en el paisaje que siempre admiramos juntos desde este balcón,” le propuso el hombre mientras tomaba sus manos entre las suyas.

Marta imaginó su vida sentada junto a él en el balcón de su blanca casa. Ella recostando su cabeza en su hombro, viendo pasar los años y con ellos cómo cambia su cabello y su cutis. Deleitándose en el silencio del campo y la brisa matutina sin que ninguna tuviera un significado para ella. Unos ojos negros perdidos en el olvido. Sin decir palabra. sin vida. Comprendió su destino y sonrió. Se acercó a él y acarició su rostro, le beso tiernamente y le abrazo con amor.

“Iba a preguntarte tu nombre, pero ya no tiene sentido. Te dan tantos. Eres el amante perfecto para una mujer en soledad. Me amas porque conseguiste en mí una compañera. Somos tal para cual, tú y yo. Un par de solitarios buscando compañía en un mundo sin compasión, en especial, de los seres que uno le ha entregado tanto amor. Te agradezco tanto amor hacia mí, pero no puedo quedarme contigo.”

El hombre anonadado esperaba otra contestación, pero antes de que pudiera decir palabra alguna Marta le interrumpió, y dijo, “No digas nada, será más difícil para ti que para mi decir adiós, pero te voy a pedir algo.”

“Lo que sea,” le contesto él acercándose a ella.

“Un beso.”

Él sonrió tiernamente, sus rostros se acercaron y la beso apasionadamente.

Marta le miró tiernamente y se perdió en sus ojos. Él no dejaba de mirar los suyos, que estaban llenos de lágrimas. A un gesto de Marta, él la ayudó a sentarse en la baranda del balcón y le beso la mano.

“¿Estás segura que esto es lo que deseas hacer?” le preguntó a Marta.

“Si,” contestó ella con una sonrisa. “Es mejor, que vivir muerta.”

El hombre gritando fuertemente cerró sus ojos, y lo único que vio fue oscuridad al llenarse nuevamente su existencia de soledad. Marta encontró su paz en el verdoso valle al final del profundo abismo, entre los brazos de los pintorescos flamboyanes anaranjados.

Historias

Black Shadow, a poem

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No body, no face, nor tears;

only a distant moaning in the desert.

Muted words lost in the sandy winds.

Prison robe, eternal damnation.

Hands scratch it, no marks.

Through minuscule holes, curious

black eyes gaze upon the male scenery.

Living dead cloaked in shadow.

Thinks, believes, hopes,

                                            and dreams of a distant horizon

that will deliver them to the light.