Parte VII

Link precedenti: prima, seconda, terza, quarta, quinta, sesta.

Maria was outside picking up the laundry from a thread extended between two bars. A greyish ski hung over the manor of Madame Elizabeth with some rainy clouds that showed up here and there; it was likely that early would have rained. She hurried up, occasionally controlling whether some drops were fallen from the sky. Fortunately, the weather kept and, she succeeded in filling the plastic bucket with all the clothes, redirecting herself onward the palace. When she has just arrived, the breaking noise of a lighting bolt exploded in the distance, provoking an incredible sound but yet with no sign of raindrops. She heaved a sigh of relief and headed across the adjacent room till the laundry, wherein she had to deposit the clean clothes. Her successive task should have been to iron everything and fold it, forming a heap. Only in the end, the garments should have been transported to the proper room, or more precisely, to the proper closet. It was actually a strong work; nonetheless, she liked it, diving in the sequence of action as their rhythm was the rhythm of a run or some other sport.

    At a certain point, her attention was drawn by the tiny window located on the room. In particular, it was the breathtaking panorama to attract her interest. On the background, far away, it was declining a beautiful and reddish sun, meantime a phalanx of pitch-black clouds headed inexorably toward it. “What a lavish end of the day,” she thought between herself, and in doing so hurried up to finish the duties. When finally the job was over, Maria decided to change space, and so pointed outside, crossing the secondary hall, not the main. There, by chance, she found Barbara, who has just come home. “Hi Barbara. How are you?”. “Oh… Maria, I haven’t noticed you. Quite well anyway, even if, instead of my day off, I had to work all day long. What’s a lame!”. Maria remained a bit upset about her status and so tried to give a pat on the other’s shoulder, to relief. Instantly, the second withdrew as if by automatism, and watching the confusion in the other hastened to say: “sorry I’m only a bit tired for the effort… either better: for the efforts. I guess I’ll go to lay a bit on the bed if for you it’s not a problem”. “Obviously not,” replied the second, “take care of yourself”. She had so spoken that the friend was yet travelling the stairs, toward the quoted direction. Remained on the first floor, the girl wondered about what type of job she was referring? Since she has memory Barbara hadn’t other occupations, but maybe it wasn’t correct to investigate too much and established so, she resumed the route enterprised precedently.

    Since she had done every task ordered, she decided to rest a bit, and for that reason, she went upstairs in the direction of her chamber. But, in the middle of the travel, she was surprised by the second casual encounter in no time, in that case with Madame Elizabeth and Margareth. Indeed, it wasn’t planned their presence there for the evening. Elizabeth, instantly, saw the quizzical expression drew on the employee’s face. So she hastened to say: “We had to come back earlier than established because of a fundamental question to solve straight away”. Maria replied of yes, with a helpful and comprehensive expression, and retook her route. But when she was far enough, with a little peek, performed with a rapid movement of the eye, she observed that the two ladies were going onward the study room, the primary location for critical decisions. Maria instantly wondered if something negative has happened, with the strange excuses of Barbara and this. She didn’t know what to think except to follow which he had planned to do: a doze.

    “Maria…”, yelled a voice coming from the precedent direction: “Can you do me a favour.” Was Elizabeth to demand. “Of course, Madame. You ask me freely,” cried back her. “I left to you the shopping list for the last day of the year celebration; it is on the entrance furniture. May you carry it out within tomorrow?” “Of course,” she replied, “Tomorrow morning, early, I’ll perform it without problems” “Excellent,” said the Lady, and in doing so, she closed the heavy wooden door of the study room.

***

Elizabeth laid her spine, making it adhere with the backrest. Next, led toward the friend, that she has just sat down, a glass of water, and she backed to relax on the chair. The room seemed her more bare than usual with a big painting that stood out from the rest. It portrayed a bunch of people all intent in a dance, surrounded by nature. In particular, a woman surged in the centre, with three other female characters and a man located on her left, and with further two on the right. The last one of those was about to be kidnapped by a strange spirit, blue coloured; meantime high in the scene, there was a little child who flew up, with a couple of tiny wings popping up from the back[1]. Elizabeth minded about how many times she had observed that painting, trying to give a sense to the medieval scene. She had bought it on an auction, for a disproportionate prize. In part because her business assistant had pushed to do it, in part because she actually appreciated the masterpiece. There was something cryptic and mysterious in it, something blurry and difficulty touchable that fascinated her.

    “Elizabeth, are you listening to me?” asked Margaret in an annoyed tone. The former glanced dazed the questioner, then replied: “No, sorry. I was lost in thoughts…” she paused a second before resuming, “My apologies again, what were you saying?”.  Margaret snorted, she had no desire to repeat, but, however, had no other chance. “I was speaking about the organization of the big feast for the last day of the year. It’s essential to choose carefully the people involved, perhaps not sanding the invitation to the Party’s members”. “Yes, you’re right,” agreed Elizabeth, “could be dangerous, our feast violates several of their rules, the same imposed to the population”. “the population like us” added the colleague overlapping. “Yes, right… However, it’s necessary to enlarge the invitation also toward our mutual friend, the deputy Olivia. You comprehend… to maintain a good relationship after all the favours that she took for us”. “I absolutely agree with you,” resumed Margaret; “Olivia is a fixed guest every year, there is no reason to exclude her, above all from the moment the elections are approaching and, it would be dangerous to lose such a valuable partner. I remember when that deputy, I can’t recollect her name, might you give me a hand, please”. “Bethany, If the memory doesn’t betray me,” said the other. “Yes, Bethany. She had started an inquiry that could lead to severe complications for us, threatening to reveal the presence of female slaves in Africa. It was only through the intervention of Olivia that it had been possible to discredit that damned. And it had been a fortune twice because she was going to discover even the secret mechanism operated in those land. It doesn’t have to be me to explain how dangerous it could be for our entire system. To sum up, Olivia is an unmissable guest of our celebration; we can consider it a mutual favour between friends.”

    Once concluded, Margaret watched outside of the window, admiring the green landscape sprawling as far as the eyes can see. She never could understand the Party’s blind reasoning, so straightforward and foolish in its thorough consistency. Like woman had always accepted their dictates, even if not believing in them. In the world where she lived to be against the hierarchy meant ending up in jail. Furthermore, for her mother, to risk something without an aim, something materially touchable, was a waste of time. In the end, she had hugged this vision, accepting to obey to the rules apparently, but transgressing them when it was possible, without to be noticed.

    The Elisabeth’s voice broke off the thoughts. She was demanding: “And for which it concerns the slaves? Have you selected the bunch useful for the scope”? “Yes, don’t worry about that;” resolutely replied Margaret, pulling aside the long hairs, “everything had been organized down to the smallest details”. Next, as if she had the desire to get rid of a burden, the woman continued: “Did you remember the one whom I had indicated to you? And who had also drawn your attention?” Elizabeth squared the friend with an intense look; “Yes, sure that I remember. It has been the last time we went together into the factory”. “Well, if for you it’s ok, I’d like to take him?” Elizabeth smiled evilly, “don’t worry, you didn’t even have to bring the problem”. “Well… I thank you for that”, remarked Elizabeth, comforted. Subsequently, as to change the topic, she added: “and for what concerns the time schedule, I gave the order to be present by four o’clock, to guarantee the necessary lapse for organizing everything with the night feast aim”. “You had well done! Good schedules it means good order; that’s important!”.

     In the same moment she was pronouncing those words, the wooden door opened, and Barbara face popped up from behind. “Ah, it is you. Step into” said Elizabeth’s authoritarian voice. The former obeyed to the order. The Barbara’s strong figure headed across the room and once arrived in front of the desk, around which sit the ladies, accepted the chair offered to her. “So…”, began Margaret, “What’s the news? Have you achieved to meet Chanya in Factory Number One?” “Yes, Madame, and she is in good shape…”. Elizabeth’s voice interrupted her, “it doesn’t concern us! Say only for what reason she has come there”. “I don’t know either”, stammered the interviewed, “I have spoken with her only once. If you give me more time, I promise to lead you more results”. “Uff”, puffed Elizabeth, “this situation is bothering me, and a lot. I’m beginning to mind whether it had been a good idea leaving the foreigner to come here”. “Have confidence!” Overlapped Barbara, “I’ll investigate, and early I’ll back with useful information”, and in saying so, she stood up and walked again toward the door where she had entered.

    Before going out, her look raised till joining that of Margaret, and they stared reciprocally with an accomplice mood.

    The gate opened, and an elegant woman crossed through, stepping inside followed by two jailers who had positioned one on the right side of the entrance, and the other on the left. The first woman to be got into, sit down on a chair, and she threw a fleeting glance onward, wherein, on the opposite sit, stayed another woman with prison’s garments. The former began dialling something on a screen-board and next, rose the sight as is usual to start a conversation. She was a beautiful woman with black skin and refined behaviour; probably she could be a wealthy person even if she was very young, and in a place not consonant with her status. She presented herself: “Hello. I’m your defence lower, Barbara. We yet know each other; do you remember me? The young woman, on the other side, grunted hostilely. “I take it like a yes,” said Margaret glancing rapidly the interviewed. “Ok, you’re accused of being one of the people involved in the association Hurricane, particularly active against the regime in the recent period. Can you explain to me which is your relationship with them?”. Barbara grunted a second time, retracting the head. “Barbara…” began to say Margaret “it’s not possible to continue in that way, I mean… I’m your friend; It has passed a lot of years, and your situation is terrible. You have heavy accusations against and will not be simple take you out”. The other seemed had begun to listen. “Trust me; we can get fall the charges if you cooperate, it’s only necessary that you prove your extraneity to the facts, because… you’re innocent, right?”. The coy look of Barbara, for the umpteenth time, delivered the answer. “Ok”, continued Margaret, “Ok… now I have to leave you, and in this period we shall see each other seldom, because I’m also doing an internship inside an important company, but I guarantee I’ll do everything in my hand for avoiding you rot here for the rest of your life; because this is your destiny for the type of crime you committed”. After the woman has uttered those things, she stood up and headed toward the exit where the jailers were supervising. Before checking out, Margaret heard the first words pronounced by the lips of the childhood friend: “You’ve become a good lower, as your mother dreamed for you. My compliments…”. There was something harsh in the sort she had pronounced those arguments, and Margaret received it but decided to don’t think about. Early, she would back helping!”

    Barbara got out from the Ladies room, and, in turning around for taking the stairs, met Maria. They reciprocally changed a greeting and the second, get by the curiosity, asked: “what did you discuss in the room with the Madames? Weren’t you tired for the today effort and intentioned to relax?” Yes, replied the other, you’re right, but… I had essential information to report and then…”. She didn’t know how to get out of the situation. Fortunately, Maria came in her’s help saying: “however, now I have to leave you. I’m going to snooze early because, for tomorrow, I’ve been charged to go to the city-mall for recovering all the Ladies stuff.” “All right” assented the interlocutor, relieved. Before leaving, Barbara noticed the other was flashing out like a child for her task. Probably, she was so not accustomed to getting out, to look forward to doing something far from the manor. The chef smiled of that childishness; it was the thing which most characterized the colleague.

***

 

Maria walked along the city street with huge palaces surging left and right. The people frenetically ran across the sidewalk, which in turn flanked an equally crowded car route. The noises around were a composition of horns, engines and voices, blended in a chaotic mix, which outlines were blurred and difficulty understandable. Abruptly, Margaret was pushed from behind and another woman, in an elegant suit, apologized, hastily stepping away. The waitress waved the hand, as to say it hasn’t happened anything; it was the consequence of the fact her inner was docile and incapable of contrasting other people.

    In order to execute the list of Madame Elizabeth, to buy all the necessary for the feast they were organizing, the waitress had asked the driver to wait just in front of the large shopping centre. This latter surged right now above her head. Play of lights and reinforce concrete Spiers interspersed one another, in a strange building with an almost Gothic exterior, resembling a mountain, and a hypermodern interior, provided with the most contemporary stores. Maria remained dazed by all that exaggeration, not get used to it. She has passed the majority of her life in Lady’s manor, and for her every trip outside, in the city, was a touch of a new world, a world she wasn’t accustomed to living. In no time, and without being conscious, the waitress was on an escalator rising up, toward the sky. A gigantic glass dome covered all the structure showing a black sky pregnant with rain. At the centre of all stood up a thick column, where were hooked a series of screens and billboards. Maria remained to fix one in particular, which shows off the new DasDaiken shoes-model advertisement. The images of the same facsimile in different colours: white, yellow, and red, contrasted with a candid background. A minimal composition but that surely kidnapped the eye. She actually had the necessity of a new pair, and she loved that model, but it was too much expensive for her. She sighed, redirecting the look in the opposite direction and lowered it, rapidly, on the ground. Then she realized the finish of the elevator and the arrival in a new area, which was exactly where were located the market and other stores. In reality, the order received by Madame Elizabeth wasn’t precisely what to buy, but only to recover a series of stuff yet ordered in precedence. First of all, she had to pass from the bakery, where there were booked a stock of different types of bread: corn kind, rye, whole grain, dark, light etc. The second step consisted in visiting the adjacent store, the Butchery. And so on till the most important one, the vine shop. Maria had a long list with dozens of brand names, many of which were unfamiliar to her. She would have taken them all, obviously signing everything on the generous lady’s account. The shopping cart had been unlocked, and the waitress dragged it out with a single, straight, movement. Next, she turned back and began with the first shop on the agenda.

    An hour later, she had finished, and her thin body was heading toward the exit for rejoining with the driver. Because of the material, this time, the woman decided to take an elevator, and meantime the floors flowed one another she pulled out the phone mirroring on it. “Fuck” she brooded with herself, the hairs were a mess. Her fingers started to work on them, trying to reset as they could, but it was impossible, her appearance seemed to her compromised. When she got out, pushing the shopping cart, she felt everyone’s eyes on her, and so she decided to carry on, hastening to gain the car the quickest possible. But an acknowledged savour arrived in help; it was the scent of an aromatic cigar, something that since childhood have comforted her. She didn’t know why, there wasn’t a primitive reason, or an original one, but it was so, and right now her issues about the external aspect died off. In general, she liked the perfumes of every kind and type. There was something in them that tasted of the world, and everyone sort consisted, in her mind, to one region of the globe, instantly evocated when she breathed it. At home she had a remarkable collection, she was used to spending a lot even if the money ran out; consequently of that, she was often a well-perfumed woman, with pleasure for everybody surrounding her.

    The trunk door opened and Maria started to load all the material. The driver reflection was that to glance back, checking who was there. Assured of the right presence, she turned on the car. The waitress didn’t take long to fill the trunk and to restock the shopping cart so that, in no time, she was aboard. The interlocutor eyes of the driver were waiting for a signal, which arrived when Maria threw out a forced smile, asking to be taken to the manor. And so it was that the car, slowly, immitted on the traffic.

[1] The masterpiece’s description is associated to the paint: “Spring” by Sandro Botticelli.

Un pensiero riguardo “Parte VII

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