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EUNICE BARBARA C. NOVIO

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 6/15/2015 |




It was four o’clock in the afternoon. The sun was still high at this time of the month of June. For her, it was the end of another day and the beginning of another. Soon the kids would be home, bringing with them the whole day in their dusty shoes, torn papers and sometimes pride, assignments and few fights.

As a dutiful mother, she had prepared drinks and cookies or whatever she fancied to prepare for them; to let them know that she cares…really cares than any of their classmates’ mothers. Soon enough, the kids came. She dropped the “Woman with an Alabaster Jar”, a book she was starting to read. She opened the door and greeted them. The six year old girl kissed her on the lips lightly, a sign of affection that she never outgrown. The girl was her spitting image according to their friends and relatives; though she never objected, she denied it secretly. She was prettier than her, except that the latter was more affectionate and confident even at a young age. Her eight year old son was reserved and has the composure of an academic, like his father. Nevertheless, she preferred him to be athletic and a little brusque. The father was both. She wondered if the boy could survive life’s jungle.

As the kids did their assignment while having snacks, she went to the kitchen and prepared dinner. At 7:30 in the evening, the kids were fed and ready to bed. Her husband would be home at 8:00. She would eat supper with him. When her husband came, another fleck of outside world entered her domain. He always had something new to tell; the stupid students, the discussions, they had about economy, the new president, even about God. She listened and made some opinions. Then they discussed the kids’ day at school, but not her day at home. Anyway, what was new to her? The brand new laundry soap or the new recipe she learned from a TV show? Not much of interest.

Their modest bungalow in that quiet neighborhood was the symbol of her domestication. Domesticated, she hated the word. It reminded her of the times she mocked the women who chose families over their careers. Yet she ended like one of them. She secretly envied those women working in the offices. They were dim-witted anyway, never knowing anything beside their monotonous work, she thought, a defense mechanism that she built for herself, knowing that she could be better if she was out there in the world. Well, I chose to stay home because I couldn’t find a job that suited my schedule with the kids. The kids reason again! And besides, the husband provided everything.

At thirty, she felt like a retiree who was always waiting for the afternoon. She fell into a troubled sleep, tired of arguing with her inner self. As she was in the realm of sleep, she felt her husband’s hands feeling her body. She moaned, not of pleasure but of protest, yet she did not admonish him. He kissed her lips, down…Her husband was a great lover she thought before, always asking if he pleased her. She always said yes, feigning pleasure most of the time, afraid that she would disappoint him if she said otherwise. Making love was not appealing to her anymore. Maybe she needed a sex therapist. But she never had the chance to see one.

Many afternoons passed and the kids were all grown-up. The son went to become a geologist and the daughter a biologist. The daughter went to the same university abroad that taught her God was not a man. Then, it was the two of them again, a wife and a husband; doing things she did when the kids were at home. During those times, she buried herself in reading and amused herself once again with the stories of her childhood or dreamed again of a life-long desire of traveling to France to visit the mystical Roslyn Chapel; to see for herself the Holy Grail and ask for miracle.

Occasionally, she and the husband spent vacations. She did not enjoy much anymore. She found it too late to explore the outside world. Domesticity seemed to be in her system that she could not ward it off completely even though the husband urged her to pursue whatever she really wanted to do. But she did not remember anymore what she really wanted. She was very afraid to think of it because she stopped dreaming.
The April afternoon sun was still lingering a little more. The air was festive in the Church. It was the wedding day of the daughter. The daughter was marrying a seemingly perfect man that suits her type, adventurous, intelligent, gentle, and loving. Could such characteristics be fitted into one man? After the wedding the couple would fly to France. The daughter married a Frenchman. Of all countries, why France? Fate mocked her enough. Now, she remembered that everything she really wanted in life happened to her daughter. She was weeping. Not because she envied her daughter. But because everything came back to her; their childhoods, the broken knees and promises, mending hearts and kissing away of tears. She cried because she felt something was lost. Her life? Her dreams? She wept because time passed and she never realized until today.

She felt a strong hand lovingly caressing her back. She turned to her husband. He motioned her to enter the church. She held his arms tightly, afraid that she would be lost in the happiness that pervaded the atmosphere. The ceremony was over. Time for picture-takings, hugs, kisses and best wishes. She wished the young couple all the best in life. Did she ever receive such wonderful wishes on her wedding day? Maybe. She just could not remember anymore. It had been 30 years anyway.
Then she whispered to her daughter, “Will you let me visit you in France?”
“Why, of course, Mother.”
[EUNICE BARBARA C. NOVIO]




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