Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Frank, Cordelia and Jose
Once upon a time there was a man named Frank Letras. He owned a farm located in a remote place, outside the city of Evora, in Alentejo, which in turn is situated in Portugal. His father got the wife of his servant pregnant, and since he had no more heirs, he left Frank the farm in his will. He lived in the farm with his wife, who had been married to him for two years…
- What? It has not been three years.
- Yes it has Frank. I remember 'cause it was the "best" day of my life.
Alright, so they had been married for three years. Before they were married, they only met once.
- This is your future husband, C, Francisco Letras. I'll leave you two alone.
- Did he really have to do the flair and the wink when he introduced me?
- Uncle Herbert means well.
- You say that 'cause you don't have to live with him!
- So, why do you live with him?
- Why does he call you C?
- I asked first!
- My father died when I was nine. He left me a farm, but until I turn sixteen uncle and auntie will live here with me.
- Oh, this farm is yours?
- In paper. So, why does he-
- He says my name belongs to a cow, not a pretty girl like me. I'm Cordelia.
- I believe it's the first time I agree with him. From now on I shall call you C as well.
- I'm flattered.
Jose, one of Frank's farm workers, lived in a small house next to the mansion. The house had been built per the request of Frank's father, for the servants to live in. Frank and Jose had grown up together in the farm. They would play together, and while Frank taught Jose to read and write, Jose, in his turn, taught Frank all about cow milking and sheep clipping.
- So, Frank me good friend, how's the business goin'?
- A little slow this month, but I'm hoping my Cordelia will render me some money.
- The cow?
- No, my wife! Hah hah hah! She's been sowing some dresses to sell at the market. Once she is done with them could you take them to the market along with the food and wool and try to sell them for a good price?
- No problem at all. Just hand them to me when they're ready.
- I will, thanks. Speaking of Cordelia, she's been acting strange, you know, always avoiding me. Even in bed, and that was always her favourite time of day-
- I'm sure she's pro'bly jus' overworked. Believe me, hard work does get to you. Or I should say me.
- You're feeling overworked? Would like a little time off?
- Don' be daft! All I'm sayin' is give C a break.
-How was your day, Cordelia?
- Average. Were you with Jose again? His stench is all over you!
- Yes I was with him. But the stench is from the cows.
- You were milking cows again? What do you have workers for, if you are the one doing the work?
- I was only helping him. He is my friend after-
- Friend? Hah! If he was your friend he would not be sleeping out in that little doll house. He would have his own farm!
- What are you implying?
- You know very well what I'm-
- I told you I never wanted to talk about that again. It's between me an' 'im/
- /Now you're talking like him./
- /an' me and him promised each other we would never talk about it agai-
- Well, I made no such promise.
- It's none of your business. It's between-
- Oh, yes it is. I am your wife. You have to admit it, Frank, you two are from very different worlds. And your whole friendship is based on your feelings of guilt because even though he is your half-brother, he will never have half the life you did because your father was not his.
- Are you done?
- Yes- No. What your father did or did not do is not your fault. And even if it was, being friends with Jose does not eliminate his whole life. Besides, you are not his only friend in this world, he is not alone.
- I know. He gets letters more frequently than me or you, or anyone else in this farm!
The farm was located in an isolated place, and they rarely got post, as the postman did not bother to deliver their mail regularly. Jose often received a lot of letters from friends he would meet at the market. Frank, although not admittedly, felt jealous for Jose's popularity, so he regularly asked his friend to share the content of the letters with him, when they seemed interesting. At one point the letters became more frequent, and Jose seemed reluctant to share them with Frank. This made him even more jealous and enticed his curiosity to find out what was in the letters. Frank went on asking his friend until one morning Jose offered:
- Frank, I'll give you one of my letters, as long as you pay me several week's wages. My clothes aren' exactly bran' new an' I haven' been able to afford much more than food.
- You know that is not a problem, Jose. I'll pay you now, and you give me one of your letters…
- I'm afraid I've opened all the letters I received last week. But I happen to know I'll be receiving a rather important letter later today. If you'd like I could sell you that one. You'll have to pay me now, but I'll only be able to give it to you tomorrow. I'm going to the market later today and that way I can buy the clothes then.
So it was settled, Frank payed Jose and went back home, anxious for the following day. The next day he got up and dressed, and went straight to Jose's house. He knocked but no one answered and the door was locked. He went home to get the extra key to the house. He went in and saw a note on the wooden table which read "Went out. Letter is in the mailbox." He went to the mailbox, in front of the main gate and opened it. Inside he found the letter. Filled with excitement, he could not wait to get home to read it. He opened it, and saw there was a small piece of paper, which he found strangely recognisable. The note was written in a delicate handwriting, which he also recognised. Holding the paper in his hands, he read:
I have already packed my bags. Frank remains ignorant. I feel terrible leaving him this way, but I can not stand this life anymore. I do not want to stay at home sowing and knitting and washing and cleaning for my husband, until I have his child, and then have to do all that with a toddler in my arms. I want adventure, freedom, romance, passion and I can not wait any longer. Can not wait to leave this stupid farm. Can not wait to be with you, without sneaking around. Can not wait for us to spend the rest of our lives together.