Scare Beyond Usual
When Elena entered Lorenzo’s apartment, she noticed the troubled expression on his face:
“Oh my God, Lorenzo, what happened?”
She did not even strip off the tracking suit, crawling towards him on the sofa, where he was sitting, wearing t-shirt and cotton boxer briefs. He had a sad smile, looking at her face:
“Hi, my girl; Veitena is giving me some hard time and it will become harder soon…”
“Oh… This is not news, my love; with time and patience, everything will settle down…” she replied gently, although perceiving that, this time, the problem seemed to be of greater proportions. She became so worried with his expression that she reaffirmed her statement:
“Lorenzo, if necessary, we stop seeing each other until things get better. I can’t accept you undergoing any more troubles because of me.”
Caressing her head while she kissed his knees, he replied:
“My girl, in all our time together, to be with you has always been the solution, never the problem.”
Elena embraced both his legs, now sure that something was really wrong.
Seconds later, she picked an amber glass bottle from her bag, trying to make a better mood for some talking, “Look, I have a surprise for you!”
When she unscrewed the cap and poured a little of the liquid on her hand, Lorenzo felt the aromatic scent of lavender oil that she produced with the herb picked from her own backyard and dried for two weeks before being immersed in oil under the sun for forty-eight hours plus some weeks in the dark. She loved to produce scented oil to massage him.
“My girl, you could not have chosen a better time for using a new batch of this delicious oil…” he said with a voice that indicated he was tired.
The spring nights were warmer and, there on the floor, Elena stripped off the jacket, sweatpants, socks and sneakers. She had chosen a mid-thigh length laced transparent black night gown with nothing underneath, but there was no mood for seduction.
“You look always so beautiful…”
The depressed tone of his voice increased her level of concern.
“I’ll start using this oil right now!” she said tenderly, kneeling on a cushion to start the massage.
“It’s a nice surprise, Elena.”
Her movements were slow and tender, and yet secure. She embraced the whole foot with both hands for precious minutes. Only then, she would move to the other, with no hurry. Lorenzo moaned. It seemed that Elena wanted to take away Lorenzo’s sadness by absorbing it through her hands.
“There is another surprise, Lorenzo: I’ll be moving soon, into a rented cozy little house! You will be welcome to visit me there!”
The seriousness of his expression only increased:
“My girl, maybe it is not time to spend money…”
The massage went on, while she answered him tenderly:
“Well, Lorenzo, for the first time in my life I could see my savings growing. I have plenty of work as well as an emergency reserve. I know I am entitled to one of the houses after divorce; but any court battle for my ex-husband’s signature in order to sell my assets will impose an incalculable emotional cost that I am not willing to pay, along with risks that I am not willing to take. I fear what he can do.”
Lorenzo looked at those bright eyes of her filled with joy as she proceeded:
“I have my brain and my two strong arms. There is no true independence without financial independence and this is an important principle in my life that makes me love to work from Monday to Monday, if required!” she answered, smiling at him with those childish eyes filled of belief.
Lorenzo heard his phone ranging in the bedroom, where it was being charged.
“Who could it be, almost midnight?” he said, looking at Elena, indicating her to get ready for emergency procedures.
While he walked to the bedroom carefully to not slip in the floor with those oily feet, Elena immediately dressed the tracking suit and put the sneakers on, without standing. Then, the bottle was put back into the bag and the bag on her back. God, please, protect Lorenzo! Her heart was racing. Quickly, she returned the cushion to its original position on the sofa. Within thirty seconds, she was lowered close to the door, ready for any action required, as soon as Lorenzo came back to the living room to grant access for Veitena. The procedure had been effective once and it could save her again: she would be downstairs in the garage before he opened the main entrance the first time. As soon as the visitor climbed the second flight of stairs, Lorenzo would open the main entrance a second time, enabling Elena to escape, far from Veitena’s eyes and reach. It seems very nice and glamorous to live like a James Bond, but it’s not! I am tired of this constant state of readiness! A fifty-year old Elena Bond! It is an endless insecurity!
She had escaped from Veitena’s knife once, on the night of the second separation. Only the idea of having, again, to synchronize the exit to not meet Veitena scared her. All I wish is a peaceful quiet life... She imagined that those procedures would remain in the field of theoretical need only; however, she had to put them in practice once, preparing for the great possibility of doing it again. God, I love him! But if his life depends on being apart for safety, then I’ll leave him! She felt like crying, but she could not allow tears to impair her sight. She was able to suppress the tears right at the source, but that was painful to her eyes and to her core. I love him!
Maybe the constant fear made Elena believe that this life under torture might never end, that she and Lorenzo would never be able to live a normal life as so many people that started a new relationship. Maybe it was the pre-menstrual syndrome scaring her more than usual. The pain in her eyes became unbearable and she had to allow the tears to roll down her face as waterfalls. Veitena, you evil creature, you will never leave us in peace, will you?! On that fateful night of the second breakup, Elena was sure there was a knife on Lorenzo’s neck. Veitena would put an end to her life if she killed him. Damned bitch, if you truly believed in God, you wouldn’t do such things! You only use God to feed your greed, you bloody manipulating witch, but He knows that you are nothing more than a ‘macumbeira’, a witch that plays the saint Catholic woman! The delay for Lorenzo to come back to that living room was killing her. Living with a man like Lorenzo would be an honor for countless women, Veitena! I pity you: you’ll reap doom for having made Lorenzo so miserable for so long!
It was when Elena noticed that, this time, it could be dangerous to leave Lorenzo alone. He would be paralyzed before the mother of his son and daughter, maybe even unable of self-defense. It would be no use to save herself exposing Lorenzo to a woman who was blind to the civil laws of Brazil. I have to stay and step in front of him if needed! Her sight, impaired by tears, and those minutes of suspense made difficult to breath; she now hyperventilated. Think, Elena, think! You won’t survive if you can’t calm down and think!
It may have been the will to keep thinking that made Elena realize that the phone rang, not the doorbell, although she sensed imminent danger. Next, she saw as Lorenzo came back to the living room on the phone, walking slowly, showing her the stop gesture with lowered hand. She froze where she was, absolutely still. Then, he changed the hand sign into ‘Pay attention’ by having the index finger up, while talking to Veitena, indicating her to pay much attention and keep eye contact with him.
She stopped crying, recovered the control and the thinking, and became alert to any other command he could possibly give.