M turned her yellow-purple stained cheek away from Rodrigo Gonçalves, her husband of twenty miserable years. Lowering her eyes, she kept them focussed on his boots. Think! Think! Don’t allow him any incentive to lash out! Desperately, she needed money for Maria, the daughter he had cruelly thrown away. M concentrated on his leather boots. Their shine stung her teary eyes. His boots were immaculately stitched, finely crafted, expensive and brand new. Out of the corner of her eye, there was a swift movement. A flit of fabric followed by cheap perfume. Another young girl had been lured into his tarantula’s burrow! It was then M saw the open bottle of Palm Wine on the stained table. Her Mother had always polished the table -despite having numerous servants – to a warm rich gold. The table, handcrafted by her Father and given to her Mother as a wedding present, was now like herself disfigured by stains and filth. If only her loving parents were still alive. If only her husband had not turned toxic because of money. If only she had seen the self-indulgent demon behind the veneer. 

How had she not noticed the angry rhythmic tap of his boot? Ask now, now before ire explodes. Quietly, tentatively, M asked, but knew her timing was terrible.

Scrambling for the few escudos he had jeeringly tossed at her, she expelled her breath in relief. Rodrigo’s verbal abuse clashed off the walls as she fled. 

Stifled sobs stung her ears long before she reached the shelter. M pressed the money into a loyal servant’s hands. Limping with age and arthritis, the old servant hurried towards the doctor’s office.

Kneeling against the broken bed, M pressed a wet rag against Maria’s lovely brow. Animal smells of sweat and blood drenched her daughter. Fever consumed her beautiful Maria,  the delicate Porcelain Rose, the official flower of Sao Tome. As more pain surged through Maria, she clenched ringless hands around her Mother. Sadly, her daughter died like a discarded smashed doll. M wept, prayed for Maria’s soul, then cursed her husband’s barbaric cruelty.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

I had to go back and re-read the first part of your story, Margarida, and I’m glad you let us in on some more details. It’s a sad and strange fate that your grandmother, M in your story, lived through. Who could have thought that the strong, handsome, and hardworking… Read more »

Thompson Emate
Thompson Emate(@thompson-emate)
1 month ago

Margarita, this is a lovely sad tale. I indeed sympathise with M. Please, can you shed more light on the clause, “she clenched ringless hands around her Mother.”

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
11 days ago

A very sad tale. For me, verbal abuse is something that we need to avoid. It can damage and ruin life through emotional pain. Sad to say, I do hate my husband too, for the same reason. I don’t have the courage yet to talk to him about it. Sometimes,… Read more »

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Margarida Brei
10 days ago

Thank you always for lifting up my spirit, Margarida.

Last edited 10 days ago by Lotchie Carmelo

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