Spilled Milk, Broken Vases… continues “The Day of Reckoning”
In the dark, Canela walked to the little kitchen, searching for something…and eyed her only kitchen knife on the table, reflecting back from what little moon light came in through the window. The knife—long, wide, and sturdy—was inviting, though the tip was bent because Oracio had previously misused it to stab the table over and over…saying, “You see Canela? This is what I will do to your pretty face if you ever try to leave me. “No men will ever look at you, not scarred,” he promised.
Tonight, the knife and deep holes on the wooden table, served as a reminder of the threats and fear she continually lived in. And yes, the shiny blade, though old and scuffed and, too, abused, but still a perfectly useful tool. It would do. It would get the job done.
She took it in her hands and held it, felt its weight, its size, its power—a power that gave her strength. Suddenly she felt the hot tears uncontrollably pouring down her cheeks, and half crazed she began to laugh.
With the blade in her hands, she turned to leave the kitchen, but then she froze in her spot because a thought had come to mind. She couldn’t use the knife; the children would see the mess, see the blood… There had to be another way, she thought with desperation.
Wild eyed, she looked around, and then saw it. She saw a long and heavy kitchen towel, used for cleaning; it was draped across a chair, drying, and it gave her a better idea—and there’d be no bloody mess to clean up.
In a hurry she snatched the piece of rag and at a fast pace made her way back to the living room. And with each step that she took, she took with designed determination—there was no turning back from here.
She came to stand over his disgusting, corpulent body, now crumpled on the floor, face down. She watched and listened to his uneven breathing, and quietly began to laugh with nervous hysterics. She dropped to her knees beside him, lifted his head, and trembling with rage wrapped the cloth around his neck and began to twist the rag, twisting and twisting, tighter and tighter, and tighter still, until his face had begun to turn blue and he was gasping for breath.
But then Canela’s laughter began to fade, as she felt her enormous strength suddenly leave her, and she just stopped. She was spent.
As if she’d stepped outside her body, she was able to see what she was doing: really looking at his rotund and lifeless body, his life fading-way before her. And just in time she realized the deed that was taking place. She gasped in horror and loosened the hold she had on the rag, and let out a strangled cry, mortified at her actions that she could now easily take this beast’s life, because he didn’t deserve to live. Roughly she yanked the cloth from around his neck, and his head dropped to the floor with a heavy thump. She threw the cloth across the room, got up and stood. Now frustrated and weary, she stood and for a moment stared at his cruel and unfaithful face, and felt no love—and certainly not pity. Her only worry and concern now was for her children.
For a few short moments she’d held his life—his death—in her hands. What a quenching satisfaction it would have been, if she’d been the one to have taken his last breath with her very own hands.
What was she to do now? This was not living; but this life was no longer an option either. And suddenly Canela knew what she had to do.
“Little girl sitting high upon a tree,
Seeking shade… Seeking refuge…
Looking to fly or looking to cry?
Let not your little heart be troubled,
Give a smile today, and the laughter will tomorrow follow.”
Canela, determined, put her thoughts into a working plan. Soon she would have her freedom, though a heartbreaking decision it would be; a one-way ticket out, with a promise never to look back, never to regret. Her heart was breaking, at having to leave her two boys, Mayo and Little Fredo, behind, though temporarily.
On the day of leaving—a day she longed for, counting the minutes to the moment of freedom—waiting for the bus, Canela sat very still, breathing shallow, praying that she would not pass out from the dizzying fear that Oracio could at any moment discover they’ve gone. Only God knew what that would mean for Canela, if she were now to be discovered running. She was more nervous than she could afford to be; so frightened that she felt practically paralyzed, feeling the off-and-on tightening in her bruised heart. She tightly held Dulcenia’s little hand, finding some comfort there, and knowing that there was simply no turning back now. She was most anxious to be on her way.
To be continued…
Spilled Milk, Broken Vases and Misplaced Treasures
All Rights Reserved Copyright 2003 by V. Kahler-Anderson