Font size: - +
Ana Rosa’s night gown flows along with the wind looking like a ghost gliding in the air as she sways into the stone house’s large hall. At the asotea, the woman stops, fixes some strands of her hair away from her eyes as she hesitantly steps forward into the railings of the terrace. With the palm of her hands gently planted on the handle of the balusters, she looks over the rice paddies below.
As if looking for something hiding in the fields, the woman wanders her sight off, carefully inspecting shadows created by the rice fields. Once she confirmed that there is nothing down there watching her, the woman releases a sigh of relief. Only then she let herself enjoy the cold wind numbing her skin. It’s bite crawls from her pale face where her dull eyes still sore from crying; the cold wind travels into her bare shoulders, and it rushes all over her body.
“Were you lost still trying to find the kitchen, Segnora?”
A man’s voice interrupts from behind
The woman takes a while to face her intruder. She tightens her robe, and fixes her hair before she slothfully turns around. Before her she sees Teo hesitantly making few steps forward to where she is standing. The man is obviously stunned upon seeing the woman’s disheveled appearance; her hair unkempt with some strands hanging on her face, her eyes are puffy, and her robe is almost falling off even after she just fixed it.
“What happened?” Teo enquiries
The woman bites her lower lip and struggles to fight off her tears. She grasps air in as she looks down the marble flooring of the balcony.
“It was just a simple misunderstanding between your Uncle and I,” she pauses, “Husbands and wives could frequently get into disagreements. But they are just that, Segnor,”
“You don’t look like you were just from a simple disagreement, Segnora,” the young man responds sternly
To this claim the woman forcefully smile. She stares at him longer to find him still in disbelief;
“Who am I kidding, right?” Ana Rosa achingly answers while shaking her head gently,
“What had he done to you?” he pushes
“Something that he had a right to” she claims
“You are his wife, and not some property that he can just lay his hands on,” Teo responds firmly
“But I am, Segnor” she pauses, “I have always been,”
Teo is taken aback by her revelation. The longer he stares at her, the longer he realizes the pain she has been concealing. Frequently, he could see her gently touching her robe covering her belly; the plain touching turns into a mild massaging motion which gives him an idea that she must have been hiding something far more revealing than what he had already learned
“What did he really do to you?” Teo pushes further
“I’d rather keep that between your Uncle and…,”
“Nimfa!” the young man quips in a raised voice
The woman traces a hint of genuine concern from the strain in his voice. This time, it is her who seems to be taken aback, not only by his concern but mostly by the name that he called her. The name that belonged to a young woman that she had buried and had long forgotten. The young woman who she thought she would never had to be again.
“I am not her anymore, Teo” she finally responds
She feels a slight feeling of emancipation upon acknowledging him by his name. It feels like a lifetime since she had the courage to call him by his name as it directly reflects her hesitation to acknowledge her old self; the young woman whom he had known back in Manila. Right at that moment, she feels like being transported back into a small alley, in a crossing near the University where he was studying. She feels like she is standing across the crowded streets alone with him staring at the orange sky, silently watching the crowd passed by.
“I don’t want to be alone with him tonight, Teo” she finally utters as fears can be traced in her trembling voice
“You don’t have to,” Teo responds as he reaches his hand to her, “come with me,”
Teo gently grips the woman by her arm and leads him to his room adjacent to the large corridor. He slowly turns the doorknob and pushes them open to show her his room. The warmth inside makes the woman feel at ease like she is finally safe at home. Teo gestures with his hand for her to step in then after her he follows. He watches as the woman sprawls down the corner of his bed; a scene that he had never imagine happening.
“Close the door, Teo” Ana Rosa softly exclaims, her voice is as soft as a whisper, “the cold wind outside might find its way in”
The young man hesitantly takes a step back to reach for the door. With a deep sigh he gently pushes the wooden door shut, with gushing winds rushing in through the narrowing gap stabbing his face with pricking chills. Once the door is shut, the young man takes a glimpse at the woman sitting on the corner of his bed.