Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 102

justice, he was sure. The silence, however, seemed to have no opinion. ​ e blew out the candles and the small room filled with their smoke’s scent. He H touched the gold crucifix as, five years ago, he had touched Olga’s cold hand, once, before they closed the casket. He found himself thinking about their marriage. He wasn’t a perfect husband: his temper sometimes got the best of him. And she could be a difficult woman. All those fits of depression, sitting in the drab kitchen of the lower Manhattan tenement flat they had lived in. Why had she come here, she’d say, she lived in a fine house in Santander, and her father was a rising government official. Why had she followed this Gallego peasant across the ocean to live in this place not fit for pigs? That’s when his anger would flare, he would shout at her and sometimes march out of the building into the crowded streets. 102 ​ he grew calmer and happier once they moved out here—the bluffs and ocean S reminded them of home, and they both had room to breathe and to be apart from one another. It was a long commute to his job, as a building superintendent in Manhattan, but for years and years he made the trip every day. At least it had given him time to read, hungrily, in English. Olga devoted herself to raising the two children, who had come late in their lives. She gardened, and worked part-time at a local doctor’s office. But she was never much involved in the life of the community; part of her always remained aloof from the others here. The old-world Spanish ways! She would not let them go. But in spite of this growing separateness, he always knew she was there, and he relied on her—until one day, just like that, a heart attack made the separation total. He mourned her for a long time, but the mourning gradually turned to something stranger: this feeling that the silence in the house was somehow listening, waiting. ​ ow, for his rounds, Gil put on a pair of inexpensive khakis he’d bought recently N at a thrift shop. Beatriz had disapproved, shunning the shop as “trashy.” ​ e stepped carefully down the three warped steps to his front walk, cane in one H hand and protest flyers in the other. He inhaled the brisk sea air. It made him feel for a moment like everything was ahead of him, as it felt all those years ago when he’d looked at this ocean from the other side. Now he liked to think about Spain way out there, a better Spain.​