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Mud Statues

by Margarita 

Posted: 22 May 2012
Word Count: 1144
Summary: Modified

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- Mud statues

- “Yes, I saw them together” I said, my voice sounding distant and unnatural like it never belonged to me.

For a moment the room became so quiet I could hear my own breath.

-“Did you really see them together?”

-“Yes” I answered. This short answer of three letters absorbed all the air I had in my lungs, so I moved closer to an open window besides me.

If a mute person saw these people from some distance he would have thought that the issue discussed was a matter of life and death. But it wasn`t. All this fuss and all this chaos was about a rumor of a married woman having an affair. There have been talks about this for weeks, and in fact talks about this woman have recently replaced all the dull talks about the weather; at least for some time. It was Saturday - the chess day as I call it. All the men in the neighborhood usually gather on Saturdays at one of the local cafes to play chess and of course to gossip. Sadly most of them aren`t even nearly good at chess. I come here because of my father- he`s a great chess player; and it`s almost impossible to beat him. Though today I had other mission that observing my father playing chess, today my mission was really disgusting. I had to confirm that I saw the woman everybody is talking about with some man. I did see her with someone, but first of all I never bothered enough to see his face and honestly I have no evidence of her being involved with him in any kind of relationship, but as my father always said " People don`t talk without a reason". I know they do. I also know that these people gathered around me were more like a pack of angry sharks gathered at the smell of blood rather than human beings. All they needed is to get some kind of justification for what they did to that woman, or at least they wanted to make sure that this betrayal really took place. They`ve burnt her house, she was dismissed from work, and very very rarely people talked to her.

The air outside was fresh and cold; moisturized by the rain, on the table there was a mud statue- my father’s `gift to the owner of the cafe. It was made a long time ago. It was a statue of a young well built man with a provocative smile. It’s been more than thirty years that my father makes these little statues, and I`ve became accustomed to their competitive silent presence almost everywhere. It`s been more than thirty years since they steal what should be mine.

Sitting there surrounded by men of all ages I started to remember my childhood, maybe the rain brought up some warm memories maybe it was my desire to escape the whole situation. So I remember my friends who then for some reason disappeared like ghosts, I remember spending all summer days playing in the back yard, I remember my favorite red polished bicycle , I remember my birthday celebrations , I remember my grandmother, the taste of her homemade bread, I remember my dog.

I remember clearly that on one of these rainy days I got sick. I was about seven years old. My fever went over 38 and my mother began to panic, but strangely, at that time I had no problems with being sick, I can say that I even liked it- it always meant an extra proportion of attention from my father. I loved him more than anyone or anything, more than life itself. He used to bring me tones of chocolate when I got sick. On that day, as usually he came home late.

-"He`s been sick all day" my mother said once he entered the house.

-“How come?"

- "I don`t know. His fever is alarming. He`s been waiting for you all day."

He came and talked to me.

-“Hello young man! Feeling unwell?" My father asked.

-“Yeah, a little bit"

-“Oh that`s bad. Would you like me to get you some chocolate?"

-“No dad! Can`t you see the weather! It`s scary outside!"

And it really was, but not for my father. It was like for some reason the sky got furious, even looking outside the window felt risky, but like a mad man, he walked a great deal of distance just to buy me some chocolate during that storm. I remember my mother tried to prevent him from going, blocking the door, but convincing my father was never an easy thing. He came home after 40 minutes, smiling, all soaked in water; wet and melted chocolate on his hands, but that was the best chocolate I ever ate.

I remember lots of things, bright memories, and then there was a gap, an empty space. I remember nothing, nothing at all it`s even weird. After that gap, suddenly my father’s mud statues appeared to never leave my life again.

He used to spend long restless hours making these statues, sacrificing all his time to work on each single detail. His miniature statues are accurate and frightening in their perfection. They proudly stand in the most viewable places at hour home, but the ones that he failed to design exactly as he planned were destined to go directly to trash. “You could make anything out of mud” – my father once told me; and I guess this was the only reason he enjoyed it so much, and it was the main reason why I hated these little thieves so much.

So that ‘anything’ was around me all the time. That little mud man on the table was watching me unblinkingly; I guess he was the only one who knew what`s coming next.

Another bright memory, but not of the childhood but later on, when these statues had became part of our lives.

-“Dad what is diplomatic immunity? “

- “You`re 17 and you don`t know what diplomatic immunity is? When I was your age I could write books about that. What`s the crap you`re reading? Ha? Wasting your time like a fool! You`ll never become like me not in a thousand years! Never! You ignorant fool!”.

Before coming here my dad and I had a huge fight. Few weeks ago that woman everybody`s talking about was seen with a man near my book shop. I saw her too, and of course everybody was curious about that. I wasn`t, so when asked about it I unusually shifted to another subject. My father didn`t like it at all. “How come you defend her? You bastard! I`m sick and tired of you!"

I was sick and tired as well. So when they asked me who was that man I simply answered: “It was my father”.

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Comments by other Members

Becca at 17:49 on 22 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Margarita,
this story has got some very interesting images and elements in it but structurally it's wobbling about like jelly. I think perhaps a bit like your other story about the whore and the dog, there is something here that triggers off a thought, in this case a woman who is with a man she shouldn't be with, but the story seems to be about a boy's father and their relationship. So I just ask... could you write the story of the boy and his father, which is my opinion is interesting enough in it's own right/write.
Having said that, I couldn't quite understand what it was that you were getting at and I felt that you were rather writing something out of your system, if you follow me. I mean that perhaps the real story here is deeper down and you haven't quite arrived at it yet? Is that possible? There is maybe more to explore/dig out here.
I love the idea of the mud statues and I want to know more about the boy and his father, but as reader I don't think I care about the first scene and where that is taking place, although I think your work and the way you write is very original and I admire it for that.

Margarita at 18:37 on 22 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Becca,

Thank you for reading it. Well the main theme of course is the boy and his relationship with his father, and how it was completely ruined by the statues that are perfect in fathers opinion unlike the kid( who is now a grown man). The main theme is that the fathers` dissatisfaction with the boy was the reason for his revenge.

Can you please advice me on how to start the story without this introduction? I think I have some problems with the beginnings. How would I end the story if I don`t have a sub-story? Do you think I should re-write it from the scratch or just leave some parts? Would you advise any specific techniques?

Thank you

Becca at 09:03 on 23 May 2012  Report this post
Well there could be a great many different stories involved in this relationship. If I were you, I'd keep this story as a starting point story and then write a couple more stories involving those same two characters, the boy and the man and just see what happens. The characters have the feeling of being strong and could get stronger, and here's a thought... the mud characters themselves could, at least in the mind of the boy, be 'real' characters too. That would make an interesting angle.
I wouldn't advise you on any particular techniques, I would only say to keep writing stories. The only real way to get good at writing is to keep doing it and to allow yourself, in fact give yourself permission, to write freely. So in this case, think of a couple of incidents between the boy and the man to do with the father's dissatisfaction with him and simply write those directly as stories without any remembering back to childhood involved. That means you have to go back and become the boy character.

Catkin at 14:06 on 23 May 2012  Report this post
I like your writing style, Margarita. It’s poetic and interesting. You are also trying here to deal with some serious and worthwhile issues and themes. This is an ambitious story, and your ambition is commendable. I love the mud statues: they are wonderful – weird (in a good way) original and memorable.

I agree with everything that Becca says.

My own thoughts are these:

As I see it, what you wanted this story to say is as follows:

When the narrator was a child, his father loved him very much. His father loved him so much that he would do anything for him – even going out in a violent storm to buy chocolate for him when he was ill.

But his father loves perfection. This love of perfection is shown by the mud statues: the perfect ones are kept but any statue which is imperfect is thrown away.

The boy does not grow up to fulfil his father’s expectations. As an adult, he is disappointing to his father, in exactly the same way that an imperfect mud statue is disappointing. His father then treats him in the same way as he treats an imperfect mud statue.

As an adult, the narrator takes revenge on his father for treating him in this way.

That’s how I read this story.

As I said, I agree with Becca’s points, and I also think that it would be worth writing other stories about these characters.

In this story, I think the main problem is the way you handle the actual revenge. It’s not really clear what happens. Is his father really the man who is seeing this woman, or does the narrator just say he is, although he knows it is untrue? What will the consequences of the revenge actually be? You say that it’s not a matter of life or death. Will the consequence of the revenge be only that his father is gossiped about? Is that a sufficiently hurtful revenge, considering the amount of pain that the narrator’s father has caused him? What I mean by “sufficiently” is sufficiently in dramatic terms – for the story to have a real punch, the reader needs to know that the narrator has caused some serious trouble for his father.

In the opening you have a greasy, dirty man. As far as I can see, he has nothing to do with the actual story, unless I’m missing something. I think you could more or less get rid of him. Because you spend so much time describing him, it makes the reader think that he is important, but he isn’t at all. The amount of time you give to this character sets the story off in the wrong direction. It makes it difficult to get into the story and work out what it is really about.

Margarita at 11:43 on 24 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Catkin,

Thank you for reading my story, and for the complement.

As for how you see the story, this was exactly what I was trying to say.

As for the revenge, I thought of the more severe one, but the thing is that the kid loves his father so I guess he couldn`t be very harsh on him, thought I could consider much more powerful revenge. Sure he lied about the father, he says that he saw him with someone which means that he didn`t exactly recognized the man.

I agree with you regarding the man that I described in the introduction- I think I`ll remove him. I agree with everything Becca said as well.

Anyway, I am rewriting the story,i`ll appreciate it if you would read it once i`m done.

Catkin at 18:50 on 28 May 2012  Report this post
Anyway, I am rewriting the story,i`ll appreciate it if you would read it once i`m done

I'll be happy to, Rita.

Margarita at 07:19 on 29 May 2012  Report this post
Hi Catkin,

Well I did rewrite the story this is the modified version.

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