This is the End of a two part story. For the first part go HERE
Desipio continued ..
“Have you seen how he throws the salt over his shoulder after he spills it?” asks Rosa.
Carmelita continues looking at the garden while she answers.
“He goes back to that garden over and over. He pays no attention to me. Salt? Oh sure, Abuela always did that too. She said it kept the witches from coming.”
“Do you think there really are witches Carmelita?”
“No Rosa. That’s silly.”
“Abuela always blamed her bad luck in the Lotería game on the witches,” says Rosa. She finishes the decorations for the pie.
“Abuela never played the lottery,” says Carmelita.
“No, I mean the card game. You know, the one she played with her friends at the club,” says Rosa.
“Oh, that game, the one with all those picture cards and the beans.”
Desipio walks into the kitchen from the garden.
“I do not pee on the flowers! I pee on the witches!”
He turns and shuffles back to his room.
“It’s getting worse, Carmelita.”
“The doctor says the infection will go away within a week if he takes the medications,” says Carmelita.
“No, I mean his attitude,” says Rosa.
“Oh, he’s just angry at me for hounding him. That pie is so pretty, Rosa, a true piece of art.”
“You know, Carmelita, I often think, why do we put so much effort into food. It’s just food. We chew it and swallow it and poop it out. That’s all it amounts to after all this work.”
“Life is art, Rosa. Living is creating art. It is what we do. We can’t help ourselves.”
Jorge returns from work.
“I saw Conception down town and she says hello.”
Carmelita turns red. She has a secret crush on Renato and hates that Conception plays with him like he is her toy.
“I hate that bitch!” Carmelita returns to the salt cod for the bacalao. There isn’t enough time to soak it properly but she has her tricks.
“Desipio told us he doesn’t pee on the flowers but on the witches,” laughs Rosa.
Jorge gives her an odd look.
“Jorge, what’s wrong? Do you believe in witches?”
“Well, you see, it’s what your Abuela told Desipio. You know her views on sex, it’s only permissible to make children. This drove poor Desipio nuts especially after they no longer wanted more children. He begged and begged but she would not relent. ‘Go out in the garden and fuck the flowers if that’s what you want,’ she told him.”
“Well,” says Rosa blushing, “I will not send you to the garden.”
Carmelita laughs and begins to prepare the rest of the ingredients for the stew. Azore snores in the corner. Rosa and Jorge go to their room.
Desipio watches his wife sit on the bed. She is reciting the rosary. When she is done she speaks to him.
“You spoke Chinese again in your sleep. I don’t understand any of it but you always end with a loud ‘Kowput!’ or some such thing.
“I don’t know where it comes from,” says Desipio. “Carmelita keeps pestering me about peeing in the garden. What can I do?”
He throws up his hands.
“Come to me, Querida,” she says to him. She puts her arms around him and pulls him down to the bed.
Carmelita finishes the preparations for the bacalao. Dinner will be ready when the time comes. She sits down to drink a cup of tea. Suddenly she hears a loud “Kowput!” from Desipio’s room. A few minutes later Desipio emerges in a fuddle.
“Carmelita, I’m walking your grandmother to work at the library.”
Carmelita watches as Desipio goes out the door holding his hand at the side as if to guide his wife along. Azore scurries out to join them. Carmelita shakes her head.
It’s a beautiful day.
At the library, Desipio is among his friends, the books. He spent many a day reading while his wife did her job and he reads now, and dozes, and reads, and dozes and waits for her shift to end.
“It’s time for dinner. Shall I send Jorge to look for him,” says Rosa.
“He’ll be back in time,” says Carmelita. “He always returns when the library closes.”
And she’s right.
Here he comes with Azore.
Rosa decides to have some fun.
“Desipio, your back just in time for dinner. But where is grandma?”
Desipio sits at his place at the table.
“Grandma’s place at the table is not set.”
He has her. She quickly sets a place for her Abuela but it’s obvious that she knew grandma was not coming.
“There,” says Rosa. “All set.”
“And so it is,” says Desipio. “We will wait for you, Querida, to fill our memories with your presence. After all, recordar es vivir. (To remember is to live)”
Jorge and Rosa take there places and Carmelita serves.
I like the hallucinatory quality of this story. A glimpse of senility from the inside out!