Posted: 22 May 2012
Word Count: 1144
- 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.
- "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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