( a piece of the romantic novel I´m writing as a hobby)
” Chapter three
And there he took her as a desperate try of seduction. Being a rude male, and trying as he was to get into the pants of a clever girl (such a smart way to impress his friends, without being forced to read one single page), nothing more suitable than trying to show some fine culture, proposing as a delightful saturday afternoon ride a walk through that boring Museum. The sacrifices we are exposed to get some respect from these fucking high school teachers…
Mark wasn´t half as thrilled as he pretended he was, and never a third part of what Norma was showing, either. Actually, dating the soccer team leader was supposed to be a dance with danger, a way to propose a new self image of cool, getting s0me envy from her bitch girl friends, and, most important of all, upsetting her I- always- know-what-to-expect- from-my-perfectly-raised-daughter, even though-she´s-often-unworthy-of-all-the-sacrifices-I-made-for-her mom. Even knowing that when her mother was to see the guy returning her back home (and Norma was absolutelly sure she would, as she was always watching her come and go through the thin curtains) it would certainly cause her some freshly made wounds, the 16 years old girl felt as she had to drawn a line by showing up with that kind of guy.
Sunken into these deep thoughts, Norma suddently stopped in front of a big oil canvas. It was the portrait of a man.
And there she stood for about a quarter of hour, only staring, uncounscius of the time running out. Mark was furious. He tried to push her away, holding her hand, even saying “I guess we should move on from here” with a throatly faked voice, while caressing her peachy arm. Useless. Norma couldn´t move, couldn´t blink, could only hardly breath. And stare. Stare at that handsome man painted in front of her, as hypnotised. Starving as he was, Mark walked away and left her there, angry and frustrated.
Norma has never been particularly attracted by surface beauty, specially in men. But there was something in that person, particularly. His eyes were trying to communicate something she could not be sure about. It captured the whole attention of every cell of Norma´s body, as well as her keen accurated mind. What was that? Despair? Anguish? Existential conflict?
Not before half an hour, Norma let his eyes go and started looking at his whole figure. He was a fine man, average caucasian figure, chesnut hair, with an Army short haircut, even though his grey vest and pants, as well as his fancy golden watch, indicated he was an aristocratic civilian. Looking for the references, Norma read the name of the canvas; it was written “Lord Edward Gray, third earl of Rathfordshire, at age of 27. Portrait painted by his sister Gloria in 1819”. Still trying to figure out the translation of his eyes, Norma found out she was all by herself and the Museum as about to close, as she had spent almost one and a half hour standing there. So, she left, alone.
Even without the defiance glance she had when she left, Norma was not forgiven of the usual Saturday night beating, as her mother had seen it all when she left with Mark. Not listening the common interpelations about her ingratitute, how much her mother´s body had been spoiled by the unrequired pregnancy, and how shameful she was not offering her mom a single reason to flatter herself in front of other parents, Norma put up with it all almost painless, just wondering if she had still pancake enough in stock to hide all the marks the next day at Church, when she would read the Homilia during Sunday Mass.
…Edward Gray, Edward Gray, who was he, or what kind of person had he been? She faked some painful tears, a certain way of being released sooner, but a trick she could not use often, at risk of turning it useless. Norma´s mom let her go, not before advertising that if a perfectly spelling was not presented the next day, Norma could depend herself on a replay of this scene tomorrow.
Finally allowed to go to her room, but unable to lock up the door (as her mother kept the key), Norma let herself dismay in her bed, belly down to avoid unecessary pain. Those eyes, those dark blue, mysterious eyes, where a puzzle, capturing each thought of hers. She was still thinking about them as she fell asleep; and she was thinking about them when she woke up the next morning. And she had them in the back of her mind as she read the Homilia, avoiding a second weekend beating. And she was still trying to figure them out when she got back to the Museum at Monday, after school.”