“My mom may not be home yet. I have the key. Would you like to come inside and wait for her?” the eldest, a boy of fifteen, said in agitated confidence as he unlocked the front door.
The officer said he wouldn’t wait for Audrey, and didn’t want to see them hanging at the cemetery again or he’d have to take them to detention. “I’m leaving a note for Audrey to come and talk to me at the precinct tomorrow at ten. She is always a pleasure to see,” he concluded and smiled, his dark green eyes indecipherable.
A responsible neighbor man came to see the order of the confusion but left disappointed when he learned the kids’ ludicrous crime was to be with a group of ten more like them loitering in the cemetery. He brought the news back and spoke his thoughts to the others. “How many of us never loitered in the cemetery once in a while in our lives?” They agreed, and a woman told them her story: “Once when I was twelve, I skipped class to be in the cemetery and I saw a body unburied after twenty years. I ran when I saw a dark skull with a few strings of hair and the skeleton rib bone cage dirty and dark of Earth. An image of cows’ ribs we eat came in my head. I wanted to throw up and never eat anything anymore, but when I got home, for my horror, mom cooked ribs for dinner, and I had to eat in fear she’d notice I missed class and was in the cemetery.”
“You said the officer left notification to Audrey to go to the precinct tomorrow? What for? It isn’t against the law to be in the cemetery,” another woman said and the tiny mob dispersed.
Audrey Oliveira, the mother, played harp in the Boomville Orchestra and was a music professor at the campus. Bo Oliveira, her husband, was also a musician, a dedicated trumpeter of high talent who passed most time on the road between Boomville and Rio de Janeiro on gigs. The old story of man, they generate kids and leave the woman to educate them. Bo wasn’t different.
Audrey’s amber eyes and Bo’s pale blues eyes diced their kids’ eyes green like algae from a turquoise ocean, and as huge, now their eyes seemed even bigger and more mysterious. When the officer left, the kids quivered a little bit sitting on the sofa like they would have stayed until their mother came back home had they not realized they were starving, and the oldest led his two siblings to move on, eat, have fun on the computer, whatever; they were free at home and there was nothing to hide from Mom or Dad. They were dedicated kids. The little brother, thirteen, played piano like a genius; the oldest was a dancer and waited badly for his eighteenth birthday to go abroad to fulfill his wish to dance. Gisela enjoyed reading and writing.
Audrey arrived at eight. First she went crazy saying she had class to give on campus tomorrow at ten but instead had to go the police station; then she asked what they did wrong. “I tell you, you have to be responsible for yourselves, don’t I? Why do I have to go to the police station because you loitered in the cemetery? Were you smoking marijuana or something like this with your friends?” she asked angrily though her words came smooth and in a low tone.
The kids said no and she went on thinking ill: Bo, won’t be home by tomorrow. Wait! What if I don’t go to the police?
Audrey and Bo had to work to pay for raising their three kids who were exclusively their decision to raise. Gisela felt lonely, uncomfortable, cold. Nobody ever asked her if she wanted to be in this confusion of life. She was fourteen and very offended to hear that she was lower priority than her mother’s class next day.
It’s possible that Audrey went crazy with her kids because she was confused at the time with the recent loss of her dearest father and she couldn’t get hold of her wholeness since. The loss of her father made her lose her mind to strange canals of superstition, and she took anti-depressants her psychiatrist prescribed to recover from her melancholic feelings about death. She just could not see she neglected her still alive kids, who were wasting for her attention and adoration; but the woman worked, worked all the time, and in her time off she worked to contact her father in another dimension of space time.
Next day Audrey ate very little at breakfast; coffee, a toast and cottage cheese fed her. She was a beautiful woman of thirty-nine with a firm body in spite of three kids, short, about five three, a hundred and twenty pounds, long hair she colored like honey and arranged in two parts in long curls behind her small ears. Her immense amber eyes were vivid still, but they carried a helpless expression. She was afraid she’d lose the faith to live. But Audrey was a queen and protected by forces we can’t see and understand. Deep inside she wanted to fix the agony she suffered with the death of her father. She wished to live but so far no remedy smoothed her crunched heart; but the solution for her to live long and sane as she wished was to fall from heaven soon.
After she showered, Audrey dressed in a silk dress that floated as she passed to and fro, a burgundy ribbon accenting the curve of her waist. Her breasts still firm and curved showed a little to the first button she left open. She smelled of anis and lemon, put mascara on her eyelashes, and brushed her cheeks and sensual large lips pink. Her skin was clear and delicate like nectarine. She rearranged her class agenda and went carrying her depression (which didn’t blur her beauty) to the police station to learn the behavior of her children. She knew her children didn’t commit any crime, and that she had dressed up elegantly for a purpose. What if she would talk with the muscled officer? Audrey had noticed the handsome policeman in town. Their eyes inevitably met when they crossed on the small town roads. She saw him a few times at Santo Antonio Auditorium where he’d normally take a seat in the first row to attentively hear the concert.
At the station, the muscled police officer came to talk to her. Cicero Albaz, he introduced himself, and they avoided looking directly at each other. His muscles wanted to jump through the fabric of his white shirt. He smiled uncomfortably shaking her delicate hand, and she smiled uncomfortably too. Maybe my love for her is too dirty; he feared not having a chance with such a queen.
The thirty seven year old officer’s nerves melted explaining that the cemetery needed to lock its doors for the night, but the kids didn’t come out. His eyes studied her desirable thin neck as he talked. “We answered a call to take kids out of the cemetery before they closed for the night. I brought your three kids home because I want the best for you. You know I can’t resist, you know?” he said and patted her hands in adoration.
Now it was clear to Audrey that the officer found his way to arrange a date with her. She felt his contact intoxicate her skin with the pure drug of love. She looked to his deep green green eyes that smiled ardently of passion, and she smiled timidly, and appreciating their chemistry she finally said, “Thank you for taking care of my kids. I’ll see you around.”
All the depression Audrey had felt lately disappeared. She drove her car to the road next to the ocean and sang with the radio. Protected for life, she is a queen.
Come if you need a warm breast to rest on, I promise soft kisses of love to lullaby your dream… The next concert took place five days after the cemetery incident. A bouquet of yellow lilies was delivered to Audrey along with a note complimenting her talent signed Cicero Albaz. Before she read the card, she knew the flowers didn’t come from Bo because she didn’t believe Bo would send her lilies, or any flowers; besides he was out of town, back in thirty days, and he’d not trouble to send her flowers from Japan where he was at the time.
The last contact Cicero Albaz and Audrey had, they laid naked in each other arms in a small cabana on an abandoned road far from town. The cabana fit a bed of dried leaves where they lay, and a rectangular table on which candles, fruits, bottles of water, champagne, and a box of wipes scented of rose for their shower were arranged. They didn’t fear any beast could invade their inconsequent love and attack them. After she enjoyed the rigid body of her lover, she feared tarantulas, he feared tarantulas, and they took off.
With nothing more exciting than to think of her passion, the cure about her father’s departure from this Earth to another space came miraculously to an end. Ah, what love can do! But when soon she saw she didn’t really cure her agonies, she came to understand she was a sinful woman, she and the captain, for more than two years they risked their lives for some few hours a month, for the pleasure of their sexual discharge relieved.
Her oldest kid departed to Rio de Janeiro to be a dancer.
Her littlest kid, now sixteen, didn’t go to the cemetery anymore, and played piano better than ever.
But Gisela's favorite place to think was the cemetery. She was then eighteen, and she knew for sure nobody could arrest her for being in the cemetery. Birds sang everywhere. For hours alone she heard the tock of her walk to and fro among the tumbles while she took notes of her thoughts.
Birds sang everywhere…
At night you and I can’t hardly observe far few constellations of the moving cosmic bodies because man’s idea of illumination is too bright and obfuscates the sky from observation to what movie you and I should go to for peace and happiness I in despair procure to be with you.
At night Gisela would go to her computer and study her thoughts to fit in her song lyrics she worked on.
Birds sang everywhere…
After two years, remorse punished Audrey severely in her dreams: She turned in her white sheeted bed scented with fresh lemon. She’d rather be with tarantulas in the bed of dry leaves in the audacious hands of her lover. O my father, my father, come to me… You must have a different way to conduct life now! O my father is not happy with me! Audrey woke confused, scared of her dream so short but so full of meaning. She sniffed and sensed a spirit of death come to warn of a tragedy. Her nerves were in pieces. She needed a true friend to cry on their shoulder. She sat in bed, drank water, turned the TV on and off, and dialed the telephone to her friend in New York.
“Alo, Rê, it’s me Audrey.”
“What a good surprise! What’s up?” Rê and Audrey talked in Portuguese.
“Well, I don’t take anti-depressants no more and quit the psychiatrist, and I called, Rê, because you seem to dominate the sexuality dragon that lives inside each one, and not have that passion poison on a loose, so I called you to talk about my pains.”
“Hey! What’s wrong?”
Audrey cried and said everything seemed wrong in her in life.
“Calm down, Audrey. Controlling my sexuality isn’t an easy thing for me, or I believe easy for young or old. Reasonably, I meditate honestly on what I want for myself. I don’t want to be involved in conflict and lies with my man I love. He’s loyal to me, a rare thing. I know Bo is loyal to you too, Audrey, yet, I’m attracted to other men. My husband’s and my heads are not prepared to have strangers in our society after such horrible moments we both went through in this life. I handle my fantasies masturbating, my husband does the same, and yet I love my husband’s cock and he loves my smell.”
O god, Rê talked too much, seemed she could read Audrey had an affair through the telephone, and there were some seconds of silence.
“Alo, Alo, are you there?” Rê thought Audrey disconnected.
“Yes, yes I’m here. I think Bo’s loyal, but I have an unresolved issue with him these days,” Audrey said in a low tone, however exasperated. “You know I love Bo. I want the father of my children close to me though I confess I doubt his true fidelity. We go through long periods with no sex. I’d have no pleasure in life if Bo leaves me. I love him, but for six months…no, seven now…no, two years, I’ve been having an affair. I couldn’t hold my erotic thoughts to masturbation only. I had to feel his skin, feed my hungry skin. He’s a police-officer, my Captain. I melt remembering his body.” Audrey couldn’t get free of the prison of her sexual forces. “This is my shit I deal with for two years!” Then she cried weakly, adding, “I know you’ll simply advise me to finish the affair.”
“No I won’t advise that, Audrey. I don’t want you to finish the affair or quit Bo,” Rê said. “But, I’d like to see you don’t torture yourself divided between love and passion for more than one man.”
“I don’t think I can ever fix my agonies.”
“I think to fix is to face the truth of the pleasures and dangers of the situation you enjoy. Think, what will be a cure for your agony—to stay alone, or with Bo, or go after the Captain? If your choice is play cat and rat with Bo and the Captain, that isn’t a crime either, just don’t forget the simplest lesson on this Earth, prices are charged for the consequences of our acts. Check if you like living in agony or without agony.
Intelligently, Audrey said her firm position was with Bo. Her second option, the captain, was married too and with four kids. She couldn’t trust in his love for her, but to quit the manjar was what parted her soul in pieces.
“He’s fine in his endeavor to live, always back and forth from the road. He doesn’t care to know how I am. He doesn’t know of my escapes. I don’t even have to lie to him.”
“And the kids?”
“The kids are doing great. You know I raised them to be independent. I worry with Gisela; she’s four months pregnant and too skinny, but I took her to the doctor today and she said the baby is fine.”
“Does she want the baby?”
“No, but I won’t allow her to have an abortion.”
“Where’s the father of her baby?”
“Around, crying for Gisela's love. I tried to persuade her to marry him, but she wants to study literature and won’t marry her baby’s father.”
Rê didn’t say anything, but felt deeply sorry a baby was having a baby. The two friends talked about some more few banalities and then hung up the telephone.
Before Audrey slept she cooked in her head what they had just talked about. She needed to grow up, she was about to be a grandmother, and to grow up she needed to put an end to her affair, but she wanted to be with her lover once more to tell him all was over. She wanted to feel him a last time covering her body and then she’d say her goodbye.
This wish wasn’t possible for our queen however because in the morning the whole university in the cantina was talking about how Captain Cicero Albaz was found in pieces together with his mistress, the wife of Cornel Pimenta. It seemed dogs bit them to death in an abandoned cabana on a secondary road to Rio de Janeiro. It seemed everyone came to tell her this tragedy as an indication they knew he was her case. She wanted to throw up for the perversity of life, and became dizzy while people talked the news: They were naked, their bodies deformed by bites of strong dogs. The small town people suspected the Colonel sicced dogs from the police kennel on his wife and the officer because the Colonel’s wife had been the captain’s mistress for five years. Others say the wife of the delicious captain couldn’t take anymore jealousy sharing her piece with so many Jezebels, and she took her revenge. A small town is like that; everyone knows everything about everyone else.
Audrey politely dragged herself out of the cantina. She needed fresh air, and sat on a bench under the mango trees to meditate, it was difficult to breath, to understand how abrupt things are. The dead woman could be me, me. Her feeling wasn’t toward crying for the loss of her lover anymore, but toward crying for her self pity to learn what a slash life gave her. The bed of dried leaves served to accommodate the body of another woman, specifically the Colonel’s dumb blond wife with a meter of ass, and god knows who else he fucked. I hate him! And all the love she felt for the Captain vanished.
A few nights later, Bo came home with a month vacation. He tried once more looking to have sex with his wife. She accepted him back in silence, and they renewed their marriage vows.
Nobody ever came to Audrey looking for clues about the murder of Captain Albaz. She heard many in town could have easily done it, and she wished the Captain burn in hell.