|Kill Him For Love (standard:romance, 1125 words)|
|Author: Cyrano||Added: May 26 2010||Views/Reads: 1484/717||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Grandfather was a cripple. He was also a walking ideas giant.|
Whenever I write a story, or listen to one being read, I can forget everything of my life and live over the scenes. This ability first revealed itself, I recall, when in the company of my Grandfather. In fact, I recall the exact instant; hearing him read letters from a long ago pal shipwrecked off the Cape of Good Hope. As Grandfather spoke so his voice rose and fell with each wave that flooded over the bow, not just that, but the lifting of his hands in such dramatic fashion to protect himself as the mast came crashing to the deck, ‘The mast has gone!' he yelled, spittle appearing at the corners of his mouth, ‘Crash it goes!' thinking they would all perish right at that moment. It was gripping stuff and I sat at his useless scaffolding carried along on his words. Grandfather was a Scot who, for the better part of his life, studied and practiced law. He said had he not been a cripple he would have been an adventurer, but being a cripple had been a blessing in disguise, he insisted. Grandfather's heart was not in his profession at the end; he wanted to write romantic novels; wanted to roam over the beloved heather-covered hills of Selkirkshire; wander aimlessly in the glorious free open air with his dogs, working his few sheep, keeping horses for companions. I was most times left to myself in that endless country cottage: reading in the kitchen, drying mud from my clothes. Grandfather, I heard from behind doors, had soured with age. What belonged to him once, the composition of his body, was a dream, vapor. At his worst when visited by relatives, Grandfather's sniveling repugnance of their intrusion poured out of him in a thinly veiled displeasure, a barren wilderness of collected acknowledgement. That was his disguise; his acceptance. Like the first time he met Lorenzo, in a railway car traveling from Cadiz, on his way to Tangier. He was eating a green banana, passing himself off as a Spanish nobleman, a visionary. He appeared very aware of himself. He could have been made of ice. He spoke strangely, as a poet, saying his visions had to be smelled, fondled and listened to. He was a lothario for sure, but his soul was that of a monster, and when you got to know him you discovered strange things, unfathomable, repulsive...and then again, delightful things. Lorenzo became very real to me, and around women, well it was as if he stirred a symphony inside their hearts. Around men, not so much, they were mere skeletons. By the time I realized Lorenzo was Grandfather's alter ego it was too late. Lorenzo must die, or it would be me, Grandfather whispered, a sand-paper rasp, so I killed him under tons of rubble, or so I thought, he went on, a flight of mischief passing across his sightless antique eyes. When asked about his health, his response was never more than a mumble, its meaning lost in a painful scene of intrusion and irritation. His clothes bitter smelling, toys all forgotten, living in the hyacinth hours, tobacco stained chin, he could feel himself walking out of the house, preferring the company of dirty children, but he was square-rigged to his chair, even though he wriggled, wanting to engage his legs, feeling himself bolt. I don't know when the appalling ignominy of his position roosted with him. Perhaps, I often considered, never until Grandma died. Only after her death did I look upon him as a sickened starling, or think about the depressing wretchedness of his appearance, observe the way he fumbled, with grotesquely misaligned fingers, the sherry glass, filled from a crystal decanter at five p.m. Or why in the twenty years without her he never spoke her name. “Love, young bairn, is not about kissin' and cuddlin', but about adventure.” I could have believed him, really, I could, but then I saw his limp body, his jackdaw legs, his spider-veined hands lying flat on the open pages of his Britannica Encyclopedia, resting over the subject Charles Dickens's ‘A Christmas Carol.' That is what I remember, him sitting slumped in front of the log fire, a near empty glass of sherry, and I knew his heart was broken. He urged me close, picking up my chin with the deftness of an angel, and took a crumpled piece of paper out of his dressing gown pocket. On it a scribbled address and a message: On June 10th 1960 Lorenzo flew out of Cuba. Before that he'd been living in a room on the twenty-second floor of the hotel Cohiba, in Havana's Vedado section. I traced him there. Lorenzo is a priest, living among money changers and prostitutes. Your job is to find him. Kill him. I said I would. “You kill him for love.” It was all so deliciously absorbing. He smiled and inhaled a large pinch of creative snuff. Ofttimes my Father would chastise Grandfather for his behavior, producing a shrug of defiant shoulders before the animated canvas of a son's disdain; it didn't please. Rarely did. But maybe my father was Click here to read the rest of this story (27 more lines)
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