Monday, July 03, 2006

The Lost City, a Continuation - Chapter 9

Index of Chapters

Chapter 9

Aurora let Susan into the modest house. Aurora’s elderly landlord was not home. “You are too kind,” Aurora said.

“Oh this is nothing,” said Susan in Spanish as she made her way to the kitchen. “Just a few things to tide you over for a while until you get on your feet.” Susan began unpacking the grocery bag. “There are a couple of more bags in the trunk of the car.”

Aurora watched as the items were put on the kitchen counter. There was guava paste, cream cheese, fresh milk, black beans, white rice, ground beef, onions, Cuban style espresso coffee and eggs. A tear came to Aurora’s eye. It was almost as if Susan knew what she craving.
Susan answered the unasked question, “My husband is Cuban. He taught me Spanish. I thought you might like some of the foods that he’s taught me to love. You can make Picadillo a Caballo.”

Aurora’s mouth almost began to water as she thought about a plate of seasoned ground beef with a fried egg on top and a side of white rice. “There’s sweet plantains in the car. I’ll go get the rest of the food. Meanwhile I want you to have this.” Susan said as she handed Aurora an envelope.

When Susan returned with the last of groceries Aurora was sobbing. “What’s wrong my dear?” Susan asked.

Aurora wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “You are so kind, I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.” There was $500 in the envelope.

“Oh please you don’t have to repay me,” said Susan. “We all need help sometimes. Just remember me when you are in a position to help someone else. That will be thanks enough.”

Aurora smiled through her tears and said, “Let me at least make you a cup of coffee.”

“I’d like that a lot,” Susan said. “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?”

Aurora began making the coffee as she started to tell her story. To Aurora, Susan seemed honestly interested in what she was saying. She had a way of making Aurora feel at ease. Sometimes, Susan would ask Aurora to clarify certain things. For Aurora, the discussion was cathartic. She didn’t hold back from the kind stranger, who was sent by the church, and explained how her husband had died fighting Batista, how she fell in love with her brother in-law but how it had not been meant to be. Then she spoke about the humiliation and torture she suffered at the hands of Fidel Castro’s sycophants.

Susan was unbelievably moved by Aurora’s story. She tried to not to look shocked as Aurora recounted the horrors of the mental hospital and tried not to judge Aurora for her relationships with the Russian officers. Susan knew that it was good that Aurora was unburdening herself. Coming to terms with her past was the first step towards beginning a new life.

When Aurora finished her story, Susan assured her that she’d help her find a job and when the time came, her own place to live. She said that Aurora should not think of it as charity but that if Aurora would accept Susan as a friend then it would be only normal to accept help from her. After all that’s what friends were for.

Aurora was touched by Susan’s gesture. She was quite sure that Susan didn’t need help finding friends. She was a beautiful young woman that exuded class. She was well dressed, drove a fancy new car and was obviously smart as she spoke a second language quite well. But Aurora needed a friend. She didn’t have any in America, so whatever Susan’s motives were, Aurora was determined to accept Susan’s offered friendship.

Susan invited Aurora to dinner at her home with her family. Aurora blushed and told Susan that she really didn’t have any appropriate clothing. Susan said, “That’s what the money is for. Plus, if you are going to get a job you are going to need some clothes. Go shopping tomorrow and I’ll be by to pick you up at 7:00 PM”

“You are just too kind. Are you some kind of an angel?”

“Hardly,” said Susan. “Just a friend, remember.”

“Friend!” replied Aurora extending her hand. Susan ignored the hand and kissed Aurora on the cheek in the traditional Cuban way.

As Susan got into her car, Aurora called out “Susan!” Susan rolled down her window and Aurora said, “I don’t even know your last name.”

“It’s Fellove. Mrs. Susan Fellove.” Susan smiled as she drove away.


AmandaDufau said...

OMG, I cannot wait to see what Aurora's reaction was to that...

ziva said...

What a stunner!!! By the way, is the Susan character modeled on someone you know? Very well done. Keep writing Conductor, please.

benning said...

Once a work is posted publicly on the Internet, many, if not all, publishers will consider it already published. They may not be willing to touch it.

Henry, this has possibilities as a printed work. You need to delete the earlier "The Lost City, a Continuation" posts. Get 'em off the Net unless they are behind a password. Otherwise you won't be able to get this published ... and that sucks big-time!

Anonymous said...

Chapter 10! Chapter 10! Chapter 10! Lol. Great Dude. You've got me hooked and looking every night for the next chapter. :)