Hello my lovelies. I’ve been toying with the idea of publishing my novel in pieces here for you all and tonight just like that, I decided to let a whole chapter out. Umm… it is 42 pages long and 17,405 words. That is so me! LOL! Long story short, I will bleed it out over the next few days, about 1000 words at a time. It is a timeline of sorts, a background into this very unique love story. It is a significant chapter because it was originally set in the middle of the novel as a “flashback” but I think, given the two lovers’ age difference, it will begin the novel. I think I have come to that conclusion. I mini novel. I’m not cutting it down. It is the only chapter that will remain as is. Well, I’m still editing the thing. I just mean it is not going to be cut down. Here you go…
It was a lovely spring day, Saturday. Donovan had to go on site for a few hours but he promised Alex to come back by late afternoon. Lauren was at a teacher’s conference until late. Dave had a deposition early this morning across town and he would be home soon. Alex was left alone with all the boys at once. Something she didn’t really mind but at the same time, she was just recovering from an infection in her blood and she was still feeling a little weak. Rosario was a great help. However, she had made it clear to Alex, early in their relationship, that she had two boys of her own to raise and she had no intention on playing baby sitter to a bunch of other little boys. Never the less, she was always ready to support Alex whenever she needed it.
The house was suspiciously quiet. It made Alex worry, but she took a deep breath and decided to adhere to Rosario’s advice. She laid on the couch and closed her eyes. The sounds of Rosario preparing lunch in the kitchen were comforting. Memories of her own childhood began to cloud her mind like a dream. Her mother cooking and dancing with her in the kitchen while they waited for her Dad to come home from work. She remembered the smell of cinnamon when they baked. She remembered how her mother taught her about paella and how she had her write the recipe down for when she grew up. She still had the note cards. She smiled but then the inevitable… tears, both sad and happy. She wondered if she was doing the right thing by Matl. Working from home was affording her to be with the kids but when she had to work she left both Angel and Matl to each other while she finished. Was she neglecting them? Her mind brought her back to reality and she opened her eyes wearily.
“Jeremy? How long have you been standing there?”
“Not long. Mom… I’m sorry to bother you but I need to finish this paper for English and Joe and Marcus keep fighting. Joseph is just sitting outside Matl’s room and he keeps flicking his pencil on a notebook and I can hear it all the way in my room. I really can’t deal with them right now. I have to get this paper done.”
Alex smiled. She observed her sixteen-year old with love. He was fierce with his studies. He was fierce with everything he did, including watching over his siblings. Except when he needed to get work done. Nobody understood that better than Alex. After some argument and protest from Rosario, Jeremy helped his mother up and they both walked upstairs. Alex knew the quiet was too good to be true. They were all so close after all. Only neighbors leave each other alone. But these loves were too close for that. They would get under one another’s skin before they parted so that each one would be laced with one another’s love, lest they forget. Just as Jeremy had said, Joseph was sitting, though quietly now, outside of Matl’s room next to the door. He smiled at her and pointed to Marcus’ and Angel’s room.
“They’re in there. Angel wants to play with them but Marcus says he’s too young. Then Joe hit Marcus because he’s too mean. I told Angel to come sit with me but he said it was boring.”
Alex smiled almost laughing. Joseph’s big blue eyes smiling back at her. He was adorable and so sweet.
“Joseph what are you doing my darling?”
“I’m waiting for Matl to wake up. I promised her I would show her the mushrooms and tell her about Moby Dick.”
“Oh, well that sounds very exciting and interesting. I am sure she will love that but she just went down for a nap a short while ago. Why don’t you go and play with the boys while she sleeps?”
“He won’t Mom. I already tried telling him. He’s so weird. Such a weird kid.” Jeremy said shaking his head.
“I’m not weird just because I like playing with Matl and you don’t doesn’t make me weird! You’re weird! How come you asked me to help you with your Algebra problem? You’re like a hundred years old already. I’m only eight and I understand the stuff better than you!”
“Joseph I was playing with you. I was testing you like you like! Ah… forget it! You’re weird alright.”
“Okay… enough. Joseph, it will be another hour before she wakes up. You need to find something else to do in the meantime.”
“I’m fine Auntie… I’m reading my books. See? I really wish you would let me go in there though. I like listening to her breathe.”
Jeremy laughed and shook his head. He wondered what was so nice about that? A baby breathing on your face like that. Joseph was an unusual character alright. He thought.
“I know but we need to let her sleep on her own. That’s how she grows you know.”
“Yes! I know but I wish she was already grown so she didn’t have to take naps. I sure do miss her.”
Alex let out a soft laugh and decided to let him be. After all he wasn’t doing anything wrong. She proceeded to open the door to the boys’ room. It was suspiciously quiet. There it was, a quiet unrelenting struggle was taking place. She placed her hand over her mouth trying hard not to laugh at her boys. She felt they were too cute but unfortunately a different attitude was needed, and she would need to compose herself. Joe had Marcus pinned down on the bed while Marcus kept punching him anywhere he could reach. Angel was happily finishing up a Lego structure on the floor next to his bed. He looked anxiously at his mother.
“Mom! Marcus won’t let me play! Look what Joe helped me build! Isn’t it amazing?”
“Joe Thomas! Get off of your brother right now!”
Joe jumped off immediately only to have Marcus attack him and knock him to the floor. He began to pound him in the stomach. He had such a temper for an eight-year old. Jeremy ran to him immediately pulling him off of Joe. Marcus kept wiggling, wanting to get free of his hold.
“Let go of me! Joe’s a big bully!”
Joe got up quickly coming to stand next to his Mother. He was quite tall for his age and had a large frame, already as tall as his mother.
“You’re the bully Marcus. Angel just wants to play pirates with us. You’re being mean!”
“He’s too small to play!”
“I am not! I’m a whole five years old. A whole five!” Angel exclaimed holding out his little right hand spreading all five fingers for all to see.
Alex sighed of frustration, feeling a bit overwhelmed. She looked to Jeremy for solace. Jeremy loved his mother very much and he knew right away that he would have to intervene. He couldn’t, he wouldn’t leave her in the pit she felt she was in now. He smiled at his mother as if to say… “no worries I’ve got your back”. They both laughed out loud. These kids were a bit much at the moment and they both felt it.
“Okay boys! Why don’t we all go outside and play for a while now. We can practice how to build a tent. Remember how Dad and Uncle Dave showed us. Let’s see if we can’t build us an awesome tent!”
“Thank you my darling boy. You boys behave and listen to your big brother okay. No more fighting like that Marcus… Joe!”
“Yes ma’am.” Marcus said punching Joe on the arm one last time.
“Sorry Mom… sorry Joe.”
Jeremy tried one last time with Joseph.
“Joseph, we’re going outside to build a tent. You wanna come?”
“Hmm… I already know how to build a tent. I don’t want to miss Matl when she wakes up. I have to stay right here. I’m reading my books.”
Jeremy rolled his eyes and threw his arms up.
“Of course, you do little man. Alright then. I tried Mom.”
Jeremy said shrugging his shoulders as he walked off. Alex began to laugh softly as she her arms. She admired Joseph’s tenacity. He was very persistent. She liked that about him. Marcus leaned down with his hands on his knees and looked at Joseph straight in the eyes.
“How come you don’t play much with me anymore?”
“What do you mean? I play with you.”
“No you don’t. You’re always playing with Matl and you never wrestle me anymore.”
“That’s because you like wrestling more than I do. Besides I play with you plenty of times.”
“You are weird Joseph. Matl is so boring. She’s just a baby!”
“She is not! She’s three and she is very interesting and nice.”
“Fine! But don’t come running to us while we’re building the tent. I’m not going to let you in!”
“Fine by me. Matl and I have lots of interesting things to do.”
Marcus let out a great big annoyed huff and walked down the back stairs. Alex decided it was not worth arguing with Marcus about the situation and left well enough alone. She took a deep breath and sat next to Joseph. Joseph liked Alex’s company and he gave her a great big smile.
“Are you going to wait with me Auntie?”
“Umm… not exactly. I was wondering if you would help me with something.”
“Would you like to help me sort something out for work? It involves a highlighter and lots of big interesting words.”
Joseph looked at Alex for a while. He was contemplating it. He loved to learn new words and solve problems but he was very anxious to see Matl and could not bear to leave his spot.
“Can we do it here by the door?”
“Joseph… you won’t miss her. I promise. We can hear her through the monitor when she wakes up.”
“No, you can’t. She’s very quiet and gentle when she wakes up. Please! Can I stay here? She’ll be expecting me.”
Alex smiled and kissed him on his head.
“Okay sweet boy. But you need to let her rest so she can grow.”
He smiled big and went back to reading Moby Dick. It was his third time reading it. The conflict between the whale and Capt. Ahab really fascinated him. He dreamed of being Ishmael on that ship. It was so far, his favorite book. He couldn’t wait to tell Matl about it and show her the mushrooms he had found by the Willow tree. It was a fascinating discovery.
It was surreal, Alex thought, this obsession Joseph had over Matl. The thirst and curiosity he had about everything was intense to say the least. So much so that it made her worry about his future. Nobody understood him, however, as well as his mother. Lauren being a teacher could see how gifted he was and she did her best to challenge him and have his curiosity thrive. It was working, Alex could see that and was slowly beginning to understand more deeply his way of thinking. She loved how extraordinary and unique he was. She smiled walking down the stairs. It hit her then that if they would allow this connection he had with Matl, to blossom, these two may just end up together one day. She felt good about the idea. In fact, she was giddy with thought of it.
©2019 Mel Gutiér