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Articles tagged "Infidelity"

A Mexican Story

My friend Lencho Mejía has been murdered thirty-seven times in Los Angeles, five in Tijuana, and once in a Romanian-Argentinian co-production filmed in Honduras, which came very close to being nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. Only twice, though, has he had the chance to say anything before dropping dead: “You fucking bastard!” On both occasions. He had to say it quickly and quietly, but he put a lot of feeling into it. Everything he learned from...

Beyond this Darkness and this Silence

  The world has become aware of its invisible citizen. But no one knows you are here. —H. G. Wells   I warned her in one of our first conversations, though she didn’t take me seriously: “I’m invisible.” Not that I reproached her for her skepticism. To be honest, I don’t usually talk about it; people aren’t prepared to face the extraordinary. Which, if you are a part of what is considered “extraordinary,” can be...

To Troy, Helen

                         The two lay down together on the bed. Atreus's son paced through the crowd, like a wild beast, searching for some glimpse of godlike Alexander.   Iliad, book 3: 284ff.   I parked the car four blocks beyond the house. Felt like I was following a plan that I had rehearsed a hundred times. What sense did it make? Helen would not know I had come, did not even know I was on my...

The Well

When Rafa‘a died, the last human desires in the bosoms of the people of Huzum village were extinguished, most of all in the bosoms of its women.  The burning desire for Rafa'as comeuppance sputtered out, for when a person dies, her memory grows flimsy and her human presence melts away…  She is no longer a threat to us because she is better and more beautiful than we are; instead, she becomes a weak creature because she dies insignificantly like every human...

Lou’s Last Letter to Feri’s Wife

See here Christine, don’t you give me that crap alright? Don’t go telling me what you told me Christine, ‘cause I’m not buying it, the thing about Feri going to T-Mobile and having them tap the voice mail on your cell phone. Don’t give me that. Feri’s not like that, alright? Feri’s got a head, but he ain’t got no fuckin’ brains to go with it. He’d have never thought of it and I’m not buying it. That, what was it, that...

from “Man Angel”

Endless, the levee. Endless, the dead straight path. Endless, the whirring of the bicycle tires on the asphalt, the whistling of the wind in their ears and the high, bare, immutable blue of the sky over their heads. Endless, the blazing hole of the sun, the shimmer of the heat over the fields and the cruelty of midsummer in the afternoon, when the greasy coating of sweat, dust, and sunscreen begins to drip from their faces onto the handlebars, and each revolution of the pedals climbs with...

Once Again Love

"Cops on our tail, cops on our tail!" "Cut and run, cut and run!" The picnic party microbus is stuck in a traffic jam. Before anyone can react, a hijra— separated from her band which is receiving a drubbing from the police—jumps on board. She finds herself stuck between a crocodile in the water and a tiger on the bank. If she gets tossed out of the vehicle, the police are sure to grab and beat her. Seeing no other choice, the tiger on the bank—the head of the picnic...

The Masseuse and Her Adulterous Husband

The first time I saw her, I failed to notice her beauty. I met her at the spa. The receptionist led me to her but, in her presence, she kept her eyes lowered. With a sure and certain step, she walked ahead of me into the massage room. She raised her eyes and looked at me only once she had closed the door. And only then did I see her smile, and hear her greeting: "You're Arab? You are most welcome. Where are you from? We don't get many Arab tourists here at the spa. You are most...

The Kitchen

Ruth loved flour. Mother loved the kitchen. And I loved Ruth and Mother. I grew up at the large kitchen table, watching Ruth sift flour and mix various kinds of dough. I learned to walk while holding on to Mother's skirt as she chopped onions, boiled potatoes, and minced meat. My mother, a beautiful cheerful woman, always sang in the kitchen, often old songs by Frank Sinatra: Fly me to the moon, Let me play among the stars . . . On Ruth's lap, I was coddled on her oil-spotted...

“Arnold . . . !”

She's wondering how to tell his children when an immense silence numbs her. It's as if her thoughts can no longer be captured in words, as if words are refusing service. The briefcase sits in the hallway, in the exact same spot where it used to be left every day around 7 PM. She looks at it: the attaché case of a medical representative. She and the boys had been in fits of laughter when he turned up with the thing: leather, with copper finishing and a secret combination...

White Christmas

It was the night before Christmas Eve. The clock had just struck midnight, and a thick blanket of damp air hung over Villaggio Coppola. The towering cement buildings, crowded as beehives, were barely visible, and the murmur of the sea reigned over an otherwise tomblike silence. But every so often, the pop of a firecracker or the roar of an engine broke the calm in the streets. The schoolteacher Antonio Castrese, leaning against the windowpane, concluded that this was no longer a...

The Knight

At first she tried struggling with the locks, but they were obviously not in sync, because when she managed to turn the key in one of them, the other stayed locked—and vice versa. The wind came in gusts off the sea, winding her wool scarf around her face. Finally he set down both bags in the driveway and snatched the keys out of her hand. He managed to get the door open immediately. The cottage they had always rented was right on the sea, among holiday cabins that all looked...

Stalin’s Wife

Moira and I wait for Stalin's wife in a downtown café. We arrived on time, but we didn't expect her to be punctual: it's the mistress who must wait for the wife, not the other way round. I take a window seat so I can pretend to look outside while listening to the table next to mine. There, Moira takes out a pack of cigarettes and lights one without looking at me. I told her not to smoke because all the mistresses do and she shouldn't fall into this stereotype, but...

MS Hitra

Captain Jonasen followed the dotted line in the atlas with his finger. What he would do after Buenos Aires he didn't know. As far as he was concerned life could end there. He closed the atlas with a bang and lit his pipe. It would soon be midnight and it was dark in the captain's cabin. He listened and waited. But no engines started up. All he could hear was the wind whistling through the air vent. And he didn't know exactly what he was in fact waiting for any more, either. He...

from “Road Story”

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Love Begets Love

The day, along with Ismael, was dying. Under the blanket his still young body shuddered, the body of a man whose life had not been very productive. At his side, his wife Isaura, also still young, attended him in his final moments. Ismael was dying. And Isaura was by his side. And, in the agony of death, Ismael confessed: "Isaura, my love, I want to die with a clear conscience. In the grave and portentous hour in which I depart this world, I want to relieve my conscience so I may begin...

Black and White

March twenty-second. Friday night. Everything is in place. The soft metallic chimes of the living room clock strike ten with mathematical precision as you begin the second course; the exact same scene is replayed every night, down to a T. Him. You. The same pauses. The same silences. The same calculated movements of his fingers as he lifts one corner of his napkin. Three refined pats of his lips—pat, pat, pat—and then a sip of wine. Silverware clinking intermittently against...

from “The Perfect Novel”

Chapter Five We were working on "recording" the following scenes from my novel: the Sunday lunch in the garden at Manuel's house, where the two families part amicably, mothers and aunts included; Manuel's family life, Ana's, their respective conjugal misery, their children, the frustrations and pleasures of their daily lives and routines; we were about to arrive at the adulterers' next rendezvous which would end with the tragedy that would give rise to the plot of the...

The Abandoned Garden

The house stood alone, facing the sea, a modest little cottage that was getting on in years, on a small dirt lane bordered by tamarisks twisted by winter winds. She had noticed the sign affixed to the front door as she walked slowly along, following the setting sun that was lighting up the sea. It seemed like a sign from destiny. At the pension Sorriso, the overly loud voices of the guests and the children's shrill cries shattered the quiet and made her temples pound: as the years go...

from Final Stories

As her Polish husband Petro lies dead in the snow outside their home, Ukrainian Paraskevia thinks about their life together. In this extract she remembers the war, when the Soviet army occupied the eastern Polish-Ukrainian borderlands, where she and Petro lived, and deported many Poles to Siberia. Every seven years you should have a repeat wedding ceremony because-so Aunt Marynka used to say-every seven years you become a different person. So you should renew every sort of contract,...

Hameed Nylon

Hameed, who had yet to learn the nickname by which he would be known for the rest of his life, entered the house, which emitted a fresh country scent. With his foot, as usual, he shoved open the heavy door, which was fashioned of walnut and decorated with large, broad-headed nails. Only at night was it closed by a bolt with protruding teeth. Verdigris had spread across this till its edges looked bright green. He climbed a few steps, making his way to the two small rooms over the entryway...

Metamorphosis

1 He later recalled that it had been a strange, sleepless night. Sanogawa Shinsha had fallen asleep in bed with a script propped on his chest when word arrived that his younger brother, Tojaku, had just died in a car accident. Shinsha and his wife, Chisa, slept side by side on low matching beds placed in a bedroom decorated in a mixture of Japanese and foreign styles. Because Shinsha had a habit of reading scripts, memorizing parts, and planning roles late into the night, an antique...

Whenever I Sit at a Bar Drinking Like This, I Always Think What a Sacred Profession Bartending Is

Whenever I sit at a bar drinking like this, I always think what a sacred profession bartending is. The bartender, with the stained-glass shelves of many-colored bottles behind him, moves precisely about in a shining crystal vestibule, like a priest conducting a ritual. Pouring the holy liquid into a glass, he listens with a reverent, sympathetic smile as the customers recite their woes. At the far end of the bar is a pair of unattractive Mesdames with coarse skin and too much makeup....

from Mrs. Sartoris

After the afternoon in N., something changed. I became cold-blooded and more demanding at the same time; Michael was surprised at me and sometimes didn't know what to do. He hadn't realized, he said one evening, what a wild temperament was hidden inside me, what a volcano. I made wild little celebrations out of our meetings; I waited for him naked in a hotel room; I bought champagne, appeared in a semitransparent robe or wore nothing under my coat as I waited for him at Reception;...

A Modern Hero

There are no heroes in the city. Nor in the country. This is the problem that modern women face. Our men don't go to war, and if they did it would be out of stupidity or irresponsibility. Even so, we need our heroes, just as we have at all times in history; but we are no longer sure of what the word means. Felipe, though, was sure. He had two heroes: Superman, who could fly, and who punished the enemies of the Earth and was in love with Lois Lane; and Martín—his father,...

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