WE MUST MAKE A LIVING FROM SOMETHING (short story)

Posted: 10 May, 2019 in 2012, 2019
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A noise from the ground floor of the house woke me up. The old wooden planks of the steps, warned me with their creaks that someone was coming up. My husband was next to me, my five and seven year old children never went down to the first floor during the night.

–Mathias –I whispered to my husband touching his shoulder –. Mathias, I think a thief is in the house.

Suddenly my husband jumped up, got out of bed and grabbed the baseball bat hidden in the closet. I would have loved that Mathias would wake up with so much interest when I asked him for something, but it was not the right time to start up with women demands. The truth is that, for a long time, the relationship with my husband was quite cold.

The door of our room was suddenly thrown opened and three men, gun in hand, showed us the way downstairs. We perfectly knew the way, but preferred not to comment. While going down someone took the bat away from Mathias. My mind and heart were with Gabriela and Sebastián, our children. I thought it was better not to mention them. Our surprise was huge, when we found them sitting in the armchair of the living room. They were not crying, but as soon as they saw us ran to hug us tightly.

The thieves ordered us to sit down.

And there we were, the four of us, sitting on the armchair, seeing how three armed men, dressed in black, brought down things from Mathias’s library, from the bedrooms and finally our children toys.

They came down so loaded that one of them dropped a doll.

–May I help you? –asked Gabriela, reaching towards Pepita–. It is my favorite doll –she said.

–Thank you –replied the thieve, putting Pepita in his bag –. Your children are very well educated, congratulations –he added.

I wasn’t sure what to answer thus, I thanked the comment with a half-smile. Meanwhile another of the thieves ordered my husband, pointing his pistol at him, that they would like to have something to drink, preferably beer.

While the men continued to carry televisions, computers, decorations and whatever they found in their path and put them into my SUV that was in the garage, my husband served them lemonade.

–We ran out of beer –he told them.

One of the men, the tallest one, sweaty and fat, took the juice in one gulp and then told us: Thank you. Congratulations, you have a nice family. I hope your children continue like this. That’s why it’s important that they do not listen to reggaeton, so that they do not end up like us.

–Yes, of course, don’t worry –I answered holding tightly my children’s hands, which were frozen, and without understanding how they could blame their criminal behavior to the Caribbean music.

–We like you all very much –said another thieve coming back into the house and pointing the gun at us–. Don´t worry about the SUV, isn’t it nice? As good as the lady –he added.

I didn´t know whether to say thanks or to keep quiet, but finally I opted for a smart silence.

–Maybe we´ll leave it this afternoon close by, near the Sauzal gas station. If  not, it’s because we took her away –I listened and hoped that they meant the SUV.

–My wife? –asked Mathias. I´m sure he was hoping they were referring to me.

They did not respond.

At that moment, one of the men took the keys of my SUV from the entrance hall, nice hat he said and put on my husband’s fishing cap, then approaching us, shook our hands and said goodbye to us, who were still sitting, almost static, in the armchair of the room.

–In other circumstances, I’m sure that by this time we would be having a great barbeque and drinking a cold beer together, but we must make a living from something. I hope you understand –were the last words we heard as the door closed.

 

(English version of “De algo hay que vivir, señores”)

Rossana Sala

 

Comments
  1. Nelson Zuluaica says:

    Espero que no nos olvides a los que amamos el español… ¡y tus cuentos!

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