The Day After and Afterwards
After making love by the window on the night before, Lorenzo and Elena rested and relaxed on the sofa, sleeping for a while before going to bed, when she asked and Lorenzo briefly explained what he had discovered in his finances on the previous morning.
Close to seven a.m. of the warm Tuesday, Lorenzo drove to the house that had been his home for almost twenty years. Although he preferred to talk with Veitena in the office, he took the opportunity to give a look at the problems that she reported in the swimming pool and in the chapel built in the garden.
He drove his Audi feeling brand new after a strong breakfast that he prepared with Elena, having convinced her to stay, instead of leaving at five in the morning as she initially wanted. She had trouble to keep a good sleep, waking up scared twice in the middle of the night, exactly as it used to be when they secretly resumed their relationship after the first separation. It had been difficult to get used to a clandestine life, afraid of being beaten to death, but incapable of staying apart from him. He had not slept well, either. When he saw Elena ready to flee, he had to remind her that the conversation would be at Veitena’s at seven; therefore, the chance of monitoring him from the avenue would be negligible. The later she left, the better for safety.
Lorenzo was optimistic, because that weird call from Veitena close to midnight, asking if she could visit him at that hour to talk and to inform that she would give him the power of attorney for selling his car were signs that she might be willing to admit the abuse she committed. Maybe they could solve the problem without the need to go to Court.
During breakfast, Lorenzo was touched by the realistic understanding of Elena in differentiating what is materially indispensable in life from what is desirable:
“Indispensable is a roof over my head, internet connection to receive and deliver my jobs, land or pots to produce part of my food and, now at days, cell phone as means of communication with my grown-ups. All the rest, no matter how much I may love it, is located in the ‘desirable category’: high heels, beautiful clothes, lingerie, my car…”
“Purses…” Lorenzo replied, laughing, knowing that she would look at him in astonishment. Purses belonged to the category of ‘hideous, but necessary devices’. She used to match a single nude purse with her skin in summer, spring and autumn. In winter, when wearing darker colors, she would use a black or dark blue one. Her goodwill and patience for choosing purses were limited to weddings and special occasions.
At the table, for the second time, Elena proposed to receive him in her future new home, for as long as he needed. This time, though, Lorenzo did not become angry with her as in the first, months ago, when he felt insulted. At that time, his Brazilian middle-aged man’s pride had been hurt by her offer to support him in order that he left Marces & Marces Architecture Office to work independently from Veitena. He had been harsh towards her, saying, “I would NEVER accept to be supported by a woman!” Surprised with how he had taken it as an offense, she never made such kind of offer again, until that breakfast. He did not accept it, either. There were many assets in Marces & Marces Architecture Office to be simply left behind. Elena never told him, but she already feared that Veitena would delay the split for as long as possible, in order to keep him mandatorily by her side. She knew Veitena better than I…
Elena… How sweet was to think of her! It had the power to enlighten his darkest days, even before the start of the complicated relationship of the last fifteen months. Since the moment he felt reborn by the tenderness of her written words in those e-mails one year before the first kiss, her long, tender, philosophical answers kept filling him with the sensation of being important to someone. He was not valued due to the material things he sponsored, because his words were the only thing he had offered her. And yet, he was the one who deserved her time, her affective involvement!
At the very beginning of that e-mail exchange, he wondered for how many other men she wrote like that, how many men would be involved in her tenderness, in her attention and care. He felt jealous. Finally, he recalled the immeasurable joy of discovering that he was the only one with whom she dialogued, right in the second month sharing their lives thought the computer.
He wanted to give Elena the world; he made innuendos speaking about jewels, she did not show much interest. She had spent a great amount of money on the Bible she gave him, but she had not chosen her present in return yet. Little did he know that every moment Elena spent with him was already the priceless gift he was giving her.
He would make good money on his Audi. He would commemorate the start of a new life with Elena, taking her on a trip to somewhere in Europe. They would enjoy hotels, restaurants and, perhaps, he could surprise her with a gift that showed how much he loved her.
Veitena was adjusting details on the table that the household assistant set for breakfast when she saw the Audi moving to the visitor’s area.
“You can park in the garage, Lorenzo! The house is yours!”
“Thank you, Veitena! I can’t stay too long because there are some construction sites to visit.” he replied, as he sensed something that he could not define.
When he saw the prepared breakfast table, he informed Veitena to not know that there would be breakfast, apologizing for having eaten a lot before arriving. He would accept the juice, though. Veitena answered:
“Mary will bring the fresh prepared juice within seconds.”
“Veitena, if you show me what happened with the swimming pool and the chapel, I’ll give a quick look and…”
“You can come later if you are in a hurry…”
Veitena was too kind.
“OK, then. I’ll come back on the weekend, maybe.” he replied, acting diplomatically, “Did you reconsider the last financial operations, Veitena? Don’t you think we could solve this issue ourselves, calmly?”
“I would prefer not to have done it, Lorenzo… But, you have to understand, I had to…”
Those words indicated that she would only allow him to sell the car.
“Well, then; I believe that this settles our situation. There is nothing to be discussed here. So, if I may, I’d like to take the power of attorney for selling the car, Veitena.”
“Of course, I’ll fetch the box in the office, you can come too…”
“It’s OK. I’ll just wait, thanks.” he answered, disguising some concern.
Why would a single sheet document be in a box? Lorenzo sensed to be stepping on a trap. And he fell on it in the moment Veitena came closer with that shirt gift box.
Elena was focused on the job to be delivered later on that day, when she heard her cell phone ringing in the bedroom, where it was charging. Some of her clients liked to check her availability directly over the phone when they had urgent services, sparing the time of the e-mail exchange. She left her workstation to pick the phone.
When she came closer enough to see it, the screen showed: