READING FOR HOURS
“Reading is offered for hours, interested call tel. 5674432” and my ad read in a sea of lawn mowers, spare parts, Greek virgin flats with wonderful sea views. I closed the newspaper hard and it rests on the bar. I had been pasted to a viscous mass, probably late-day coffee.
It was a cold sun; I went outside, it was still winter, I hit a gust of wind filled with dry powder. I raised the collar of my gray flannel coat and headed down the street. Since the closure of the factory we walked all disoriented, not knowing what to do with our lives. Some walked for hours in the park, not talking to anyone, just meditating for a while, self-absorbed in their own things. Being all in the first years of school, a businessman had managed to bamboozle most mothers to contract as labor.
Our fingers were agile and still tiny; were the perfect weapon to thread a needle. We paid little, and although almost all was from family income, it always left something for us to buy clothes or trinkets.
Working for Demigods
Over the years the factory has been specializing in good clothes, craft and the staff were highly paid; so many left had school without thinking. I kept going because my father forced me to finish school, “Then. Of course, girl, we’ll see,” he said this scratching their heads. And it was thanks to him that I did not have the same bleak future that my colleagues, practically illiterate. We even had made to move to the male section because they had decided that it was not worth to come to the teacher for three of us left.
The bankruptcy of the factory was a blow for all. None had done anything different in life, and suddenly what had not sustained. Some, already desperate, they left with the backpack and the family, to the capital. I preferred to stay. The first week did not call anyone. I saw that others had found work as waitresses or clerks, although in almost subhuman conditions, because of the complete lack of experience. The second week did not call anyone. By the park they remained the same, always ride up and down. I watched them from my window, saying he did not want to finish well.
The third week the same Juana, section hems, joined the Juan Carlos II, suffering from a mental disorder. It was said that he had started to walk along the ledge of his house, shouting loudly that he would kill.
A fourth called a man.
-Yes? Hello good day. Who is?
-My name is Don Miguel.
Don Miguel Castro Estévariz lived in Broad Street, in the 65. At three suited him. I went to three. Estévariz Don Miguel Castro, gaunt face and sparse hair, I opened the huge iron gate without pull back the string. After careful consideration, he decided it was legit.
It was a rumpled man with two gray-blue eyes began to blame galloping waterfalls. The talk is not directed at me, but he looked lost in the infinite. The house smelled closed, as typical old houses that never aired. It was dark, wallpapered with Greek and crammed with a thousand details of ancient traces of life reasons. Light filtered through some blinds in gold thread, which similar to scratches of mountains of dusty books.
We spent the living room, where a portrait of a lady president stayed. I guessed it would be his wife. With a rather brief gesture he invited me to sit on a hard wooden chair as he settled into an overstuffed armchair.
-Take, miss a book.
-Of course, what you want?
-Choose who, please.
I got up and noticed that around me were hundreds, thousands of books. I approached a mountain and I started cleaning the covers to read the titles. There was everything.
-What do you like; fiction, romance, historical fiction?
-What would you like?
-But, you have a preference, right?
-I prefer whichever you prefer.
Let Madame Bovary and grabbed my bag the soap opera melodrama that week.
-withered Jazmines? I’m straightened and I showed it.
Don Miguel raised his eyebrows, surprised, and nodded his head down.
I cleared my throat.
–“Lucia Rosa had; long, black, wavy hair and neat, combing their brush with nacre, a present from his elderly grandmother, who lay sick in the next room. A lack of money had been forced to sell this precious treasure, his hair jet, for a few coins to buy medicines. Luis Miguel did not love her, and that affected him deeply, as if a thorn was stuck in his heart.”
-What is it?, continue, please.
-Yes, of course, forgive. Where was I? Oh yeah. “Luis José was handsome son of a wealthy North. Their romance had lasted long enough for Rosa Lucia to stay in a state of good hope, and now he just left.”
I stopped again, and looked around me: great writers were watching me with his magnificent works, as I read that crap. I almost felt embarrassed.
-Aren’t you who prefer to read something else?
-I told him that I want to read what you normally read.
-But having good writing about him, I do not know.
-I pay to read me, not to judge me.
I kept quiet and kept telling the story of Lucia Rosa and her ex-lover, Luis Jose. We had agreed it would be a one-hour session, so at four o’clock I informed him of the agreement.
None of that, young lady, you stay until the end of Jazmines relater withered even if you pay extra, I guess you will not be as busy as to not be able to stay a while longer, right?
In fact it had nothing to do, not only in the coming hours, but in the coming years. I finished the serial, after three long hours of love affairs, and with a dry tongue, I could read the word END.
-Is that? So Miss Rosa Lucia aborted and you are?
I puzzled, I could not believe. How a man as learned in letters (or so it seemed at that library was like a house), you could be interested in a story of love so empty?
-Yes, it aborts because Jose Luis pays for your image is not tarnished in high society.
-Tremendous Stupidity. She is a woman full of passion, do not understand why the leaves. That man is not worth what a man is worth. You, young lady, what would you do if a man forced him to kill the child she carries inside?
-I, well, I do not know, I guess I would not let him.
-What I say. If today they have lost all values which once had. Now nothing is worth anything. Not even a human life.
I was silent as I clouded serial letters, the sun was beginning to bed and stay remained without light. He looked at me, or tried to do that, and he said it was okay for today.
-You can go, and then the next, at the same time, the same day week.
-You want to bring poetry to read … or maybe theater?
-None of that, Wizened Jazmines is a weekly publication, right? For the next week you bring me the next part.
We managed accounts and I went home, still thinking of Don Miguel. The week passed slowly, until finally arrived on Wednesday again. And with my serial. So week after week, and after each reading Don Miguel arguing with me about the cowardice of an alleged beau named José Luis, and the depth of soul that had Rosa Lucia. I ended up getting used to those talks until a Wednesday no one answered when, at three o’clock, I knocked on the door. I insisted a few times, until a neighbor came in robe and slippers to inform.
He had taken away this morning, you know? Mu had the weakest since the abortion of her daughter, the year passes heart, I think her name was Lucy, the baby died. It was his only family and you know how those things are hard.
Thanked her and left.