There aren't words or acts that can express the gratitude I have for everything my husband has done for me. He's always been by my side, since we were little children, when we didn't even know what love was. Even now, I don't quite know what this feeling is. Like a ruminant, I´ve been thinking a lot about it over the months that´ve passed. Perhaps, it isn´t such an easy answer to find. Not for me, at least. For him, it was easier. Always easier: “Love is simple. If I love, I'd kill for it.”
When I was younger, I was the loneliest person alive! My schoolmates didn't like me, even now I don´t know why. While they played, I used to sit next to a tree, talking with the daisies:
Good morning, darlings! How was the trip! I heard you went south, someplace more temperate. What now?! You are expecting babies? Congratulations! Sorry if i'm being too nosy, but isn't it too soon? Life is already too tricky on its own. Imagine having more mouths to feed! Yeah, you´re right. Life's too short to refrain ourselves from doing what we want! Being quite honest . . . I´ve always wanted to be a mother!
“Hey, Weirdo! Talkin’ to the plants again?”
A strange voice cut me off. It startled me, since nobody ever talked to me or even teased me. They preferred to do it behind my back.
“You're quite the lonesome one, aren't ya? People say a lot of bad things about ya. Must be hated by everyone,” the boy commented, even though he didn't seem to be teasing me.
At that age, I was aware of everything he said. Even so, it still hurts a lot when anyone brings it up to your face. I remember making a quick and heartfelt goodbye to the daisies and trying to run from him, but I was interrupted by his grabbing me by the arm.
”I haven't allowed you to leave," he pointed out. “I also don't speak with anyone, but for the opposite reason of yours. I hate them all!”
I can't exactly point out why, either it was his intonation, or voice, or mannerism, or intention, but that boy . . . He was different from the others. I´ve never felt anything like that before. I stopped moving and looked him in the eyes for the first time. I will never forget those navy blue eyes. Such intensity! The look of someone who never gives up until they get what they want.
“If they hate ya, hate them back! If they don't need ya, don't need them. Simple as that.”
“And you? In what way do you differ?”
“I like weirdos. You're a weirdo, right? Simple as that, then.”
“You say that a lot, right?”
“And you talk to plants, Weirdo.”
“Stop calling me that!”
“Alright, ‘Darling Daisy.’”
Since then, we've spent a lot of time together. Doing school work, having sleepovers, meeting up in the park. It was so good to be close to him! So good not being alone anymore! I didn't need anyone else! That's why I haven´t talked to you for a while, my dear daisies.
I know it may seem like a lame excuse for my selfish behavior. I just . . . happened to be happy, you know? For the first time, someone liked me for who I am. But now? I´m alone again . . . Well, at least I would be, if it weren't for you, my darlings. Always keeping me company, when no one else would.
Sorry I'm talking so much . . . How about you tell me about yourselves? Really? You want me to continue talking about myself? You´re all so sweet! Okay, then: Me and this boy have been through so much together! I knew . . . Since the very first time I saw those eyes, I knew I loved him. I just hadn't figured it out at the time. It was just the two of us and no one else mattered!
We were in high school when we first kissed. It was a shock! We'd never talked about those kinds of things before. It happened on our way to my house. I didn't have much choice, but he always knew what was best for me, so I didn't argue. When he asked me on a date, I couldn't say no! The closer we got, the closer I was to fulfilling my dream!
When we graduated, we ran away from our homes and got married. We went to the countryside, to live alone together in a small bungalow. The place was his uncle's who had a farm close by. His uncle didn't seem to like me. Not that that was any surprise, right? Besides my husband, no one did. Not even anyone in my family. They were just other people who didn't care about me, but wanted to get in the middle of my relationship. So be it! I didn't need them! Only my husband mattered!
Now comes the sad part of this story, Dear Daisies. We tried again and again, but to no avail. Like trying to hold a river with my bare hands, my dream just slipped between my fingers. We were unable to have a child; one from my own womb. He blamed me for it, but I don't judge him. He wanted to be a father just as much as I wanted to be a mother. Those were some hard years, but we managed to carry on.
Our life together kept moving along, quoting him, simply. I did the housework while he worked on his uncle's land. His relatives never spoke to me and used to argue a lot with their nephew. There were many times when my husband came home exhausted and annoyed and went to the whisky cellar. He spent more money on it than with anything else in the house. At first, I tried to argue, but he always replied the same way:
“Look, it's very simple. A man needs something to cool off. I love you, but at least when I'm drunk, I can pretend my wife is not infertile. Now could you leave me alone, please? I have a horrible headache.”
Those weren't the easiest words to hear, but I understood him. He must have been feeling awful with everything that was going on. The best I could do was to leave him be. After all, he knew what he was doing.
As years passed, our life became more peaceful. I´ve never even talked to any of the few neighbors that we had, so it was really quiet too. I doubt they even knew I existed! I wasn't used to going out, even to buy groceries. My husband kept complaining about all the work he had to do by himself, but he didn't let me go to the market nearby. He used to say that I´d buy everything wrong or that I didn't know how to handle money well. He wasn't wrong, but I didn't like seeing him overworked. Since I couldn't go out, I figured I'd give my best at cleaning even the tiniest grain of dust or grass brought in by the wind. I wanted him not to worry about a thing when he came back home.
I must admit that I was kind of selfish in a way, because I didn't do these chores just for him. I used to do them for myself too. To keep my head occupied from some intrusive thoughts. It was in these moments that I’ve missed you the most, my Darlings. I missed having someone to talk to, so I just tried to distract myself in some way. I could have joined him in his drinking habit, but I can't even imagine what would've happened if I went even close to his whisky collection. It would be better if each of us stood by our own quirks.
I never asked him to spend money on me. I was used to working with what I had. He wasn't that well paid, you know? I´d rather let him spend money on himself, with things that he liked. I didn't want to be that selfish.
Oh, right! I almost forgot! There was a day when I woke up so feverish I thought I'd die. I couldn't get out of bed or even move a muscle! When he came home from work and didn't find me, he worried for me, and he started shouting:
“Is someone there? Why is everything a mess?! I swear, you better not be cheating on me with any of those tramps outside! I already work like a captive and you don't even raise a finger to help in this damn house?” He kept screaming nonstop until he discovered the state I was in. You had to see it, Darlings! He was so sweet! He took care of me all night and didn't even sleep well because of me!
He's never been that good with words, but he always knew what I needed. He put a wet towel on my forehead and ran out to buy some medicine for me . . . Using the money he would have used to buy whiskies!!! Can you believe it?! He even sacrificed his most valuable possession for me! He loved me so much! We had some leftovers from last night's soup and spent the night cuddling, waiting for me to get better.
When dawn came, the pain and fever were finally diminished. I turned in his direction and hugged him. I thanked him dearly for caring so much for me. He, drowsily, answered:
“You almost gave me a heart attack, ya’ know? Don't you dare die before me! I wouldn't know what to do without you.”
“That was one of the sweetest things you´ve ever said to me, Love!”
“Do you know why I love you?”
I was perplexed by his question! Him being so amorous was a rarity! I replied:
“As far as I know, those kinds of things don't have a clear motive . . . They just happen and that's it. I myself don't even know the reason. I just love you.”
“For me, it's even simpler. Do you remember elementary school? Everyone hated you, badmouthed you behind your back, avoided you . . .”
“I remember, more than I would like.”
“I thought you were quite pretty at the time, so seeing them mistreat you always made me very angry. I wanted to knock 'em down. Grab daddy´s shotgun and shoot ‘em in the face. That's when I suspected it. I loved you. My father used to tell me: 'If you truly love a woman, you´d hunt even the last man on earth to have her in your arms.' It was one of the few things worth learning from my old man. I've already fought some of your classmates to defend you. Almost killed some of them, but stopped myself since I didn't want to go to juvie. Look, I may not be the best with words, but I love you, alright? That's why I forgive you for not being able to get pregnant!”
I was pushed to tears! He really loved me! Despite all the odds! I was so happy that the fever seemed to just disappear! It was almost like living one of my most precious dreams! We slept together that night. I hoped it would last forever . . . but unfortunately . . . It couldn't be this way . . .
He began to argue more with his uncle and spent even more time drinking when he got home. I didn't want to intervene, I promised myself that I wouldn´t! Despite that, I couldn't help but notice the lack of groceries. It didn't seem to be a salary reduction, due to him always appearing with even more whiskeys than before . . . It was becoming a problem! A really serious one! Do you get me, Darlings? What if he was in need of help? What if there was something I could do? My husband always did everything that he could! Helped me when I needed it the most! It was my time to pay it back!
I went to his office, but he was already drunk:
“Dear? Can I talk to you for a bit? It's important . . .”
“What do you want? Can't you see I'm busy? Get lost!”
“Look, I know you´ve been stressed out with work lately, but I don't think drinking like that, it's not good for your health . . .”
“And since when do you know what's best, huh? Can't even birth a child! Every woman can do that! You don't know a thing! I spent my life working my ass off to give you some damn comfort and you “think” you know what's “best”?! You spent the whole day without moving a muscle to help!”
“How so? I spent the whole day doing chores . . .”
“Do not interrupt me! Has your mother never taught you manners? If I knew you were like the rest of those women, I'd have let you rot in hell with her!”
“I'm sorry, dear . . . I just . . .”
“Oh, what a surprise! Here comes you all emotional and hysterical again. It's all you know how to do!”
“I just wanted to help you . . .”
“You wanna help? So help yourself by shutting your own mouth and getting out! Since you´re going anyway, help yourself by cooking dinner too. It will help you calm down.”
“That's what I´ve come to talk about! There's nothing to cook! You haven't gone to the market in weeks! You spent it all with your drinks! This isn't healthy for you, Love!”
“Are you implying this is my fault?! You ungrateful slut! After everything I´ve done for you, that's how you treat me?! - He stood up from his chair really annoyed and came in my direction.”
“No, dear! That's not what . . . I'm sorry . . . I'm so sorry . . .”
As I tried to get away from him, I think I slipped on the carpet and hit my head somewhere. I think it was on the drawer. I became unconscious right after. When I woke up, he was holding me in his arms, sobbing.
“Oh my god, my love! What have I done?! I'm sorry! This will never happen again! It was an accident! You teased me and it was in the heat of the moment! I'm so sorry! I'll change! I'll stop drinking! For you, Love, I swear!”
I got that he was concerned with me and all, but I didn't get why he was so apologetic. I've just tripped. It was my fault after all. I´d really provoked him. I would´ve told him all these things, but the pain was too much to speak.
He put me in bed with all his care and looked after me.
“Promise to never tell anyone this? It was for your own good, you know it, right?”
There wasn't any reason to. It was just a silly domestic accident. Nothing to worry about. My husband would never do anything to hurt me . . . right? No, he wouldn't! Never has and never will! He loves me! He himself said that! Don´t say such stupid things, Darlings!
I'll go on with my story. After the accident, I noticed it was very difficult to do the same housework chores that I’d always done easily. Beyond being unable to see quite well with my left eye, I was constantly in pain. A lot of pain. It must have been a really hard bump, but it was just an accident.
I wanted to go to the hospital. I think it was infected, but he didn't allow me to. Told me it was just my body trying to heal itself. That it was unnecessary. That it was too far just for a silly accident. I obviously complied, Darlings. He always knew best! Obeying the husband is one of the main duties of a good wife.
He was seemingly distressed. Always got home angry or annoyed at something and went directly to his whisky cellar, where he spent the rest of the day. Yes, I know what you're thinking. He said he was going to stop drinking, but those kinds of habits are not easy to just quit! He was trying . . . I think . . .
I gave my all to keep everything clean and ready for him when he got home from work. In addition, I too tried to not make a sound after he came in. I think he needed some silence. I read somewhere that silence can help relax the body and mind. Maybe it could be good for helping him quit the drinking habit! Despite all that, my best wasn't enough. There always was something left to be cleaned, or clothes left to be hanged, or meals badly seasoned. It all seemed so chaotic to me!
Every time he found one of my little incompletions, he became even more angry. Said some horrible things, but I know he didn't mean it. It was probably the stress from work speaking louder. He would never think those things about me. He wouldn't! What the hell are you suggesting?! He obviously loves me, Darlings! Always has loved and always will love! Are you calling him a liar? Are you calling me a liar? That's unacceptable! That's a line that can't be crossed! If we are truly friends, then you'd hear what I have to say and believe me! When will that be? May I continue? Or will you keep interrupting with your plain accusations! I figured as much! I'll keep on . . .
My eye condition has worsened. I lost my sense of depth and the pain kept getting worse! With another recently purchased whisky bottle in hands, he used to say that money was short. In spite of all that, everything was okay! He was giving his best! He used to buy two bottles, now it's only one! It 's a good start!
Thanks to my condition, I ended up getting in even more accidents. The last time, I tried to get some dust off the whisky cellar while my husband took care of some paperwork. I tripped and fell right on top of it. The furniture staggered, but didn´t topple. I wasn't so lucky. He immediately became very angry and started shouting at me about how expensive it was or how reckless I was. When I stood up, I noticed my disjointed and bruised arm. Must've been the fall. I asked for help, but he replied that he was busy. Then, I went out and tried to finish some other chores, even in that condition. The things we do for love, right?
The days were passing and I woke up every morning even more bruised and in pain than the last. Something always seemed so cloudy in my memory, because I never remembered where they all came from. Maybe it was due to age . . . What? How am I feeling right now? Thank you for asking, Darlings. Sorry for lashing out at you before. I'm just feeling very tired and cold, but I'm not in pain anymore. It shouldn't be anything important, so let me carry on. I´m almost finished.
When he saw me in that pitiful state, my husband gave me the idea to hang out in the nearby woods. Said that he had a surprise for me. I clearly accepted. We haven't gone out since high school. It was almost a dream for such a problematic woman like me.
Yes, I know I wasn't able to give birth, but when a door is closed, there's always another one to go through! I already felt so bad about everything that's happened, so I just wanted to spend some time next to the one I love! I wouldn't give it away for anything . . .
It was on a starry night. He drove with me to the entrance to the woods. I was very tired, so he kept up with my slow steps. We went up on the trail, getting close to the top of a little hill. I was worried about his expression. He appeared to be concerned about something. Maybe about me. I didn't like to think about it, but maybe I wouldn't live long. I´d rather enjoy the time that I had than mourn the inevitable.
As we walked, he hugged me and told me to walk towards the edge of the trail. From that angle, I could see very well. Right down there. I could see a little natural garden full of daisies! Yes, that's right! That´s you, my dear, Darling Daisies! He's brought me to you! I was full of tears in my eyes. My legs, skinny and bruised, almost falling. My arms, hurting and weak, couldn't barely move. My face, which before, as seen by my husband, was pretty, is now only a deformed set of purple and red. I couldn't even recognize myself anymore. I tried to go towards him and hug him, but something pushed me.
The world seemed to slow down. I haven't even noticed what was going on. I saw for the last time the face of the one I love. His expression of fear, worry, slowly becoming apathy. Was it something I’d done? Must´ve been. My husband would´ve never done any harm to me . . . I've fallen right on top of you while you were sleeping, Darlings.
Some hours later, the sun bloomed. That was when you woke up and came to help me. It's good to be able to talk to you for the last time. I just wanted to have my husband by my side . . . I'm sure he ran to the city calling for help. He always cared about me so much! How so, Darlings? He didn't push me . . . I must have tripped. It was an accident, just like the others. Just another accident . . .
This time I've spent talking to you has been very pleasant. To keep up with each other's lives in this time that we were apart. I missed it. Mommy used to say that when we grow up, there won't be time for the little things anymore. I think she was right, ha ha . . . To be quite honest, I miss her . . . Hope she's okay.
I feel as if I have more time to reflect about some things that I've never even thought about before. For my husband, love means something to kill for. For me, it is something to die for. I´d easily give myself to the open seas just to be assured that my husband would live a long and good life. Without alcohol, without the stress of daily work, without everything that bothers him, including me. I think it is a good epiphany!
I'm very drowsy, Darlings. I think I´ll take a little nap . . . I know my husband will come back for me, but . . . While he isn't here, could you keep me company please? I don't want to be alone . . . Please . . . Don't leave me alone . . .
About my writing practice:
I am still passionate about storytelling and love playing games with my friends where we create characters in a fantasy world and tell a story together. I recently started writing a book about this story. It is called "Desert Roses."
I always liked suspense, horror and mystery stories. I think that one of the most apocalyptic aspects of horror movies, series and so on is not the terror itself, but what reminds us of reality. This recalls two books by my favorite contemporary writer, Rafael Montes.
For this piece, I thought of an abusive, emotionally and economically dependent relationship. Iam writing a short novel of an abusive relationship between a lonely girl who talks to daisies and one of her classmates, who was the only one who didn't talk badly about her behind her back in school.
I was inspired by some aspects of Saramago's Blindness. In the aspect that no character or place has a name. The only symbolism of the passage of time is the age of the characters.
And it is also inspired by Memórias Póstumas de BrásCubas, by Machado de Assis, but this intertextuality is more veiled.
I am Ellios, 19 years old, my given name is Gabriel Lima de Souza. I was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, more specifically, on Ilha do Governador. I was diagnosed at the age of 2 with ADHD. Because of this and other reasons, I never got along well with my classmates in kindergarten, elementary school, or even with my father. My mother has always been my safe haven, emotionally speaking.
As a lonely child, I have always liked to do things on my own, especially activities that would spark my fertile imagination. I always liked to create stories. I would draw characters from media I liked and tell new stories using them and sometimes even create my own characters. I had several sketchbooks with these stories, but my father threw them away. I was always a lonely person, but I found good friends over time and learned to love myself in spite of everything.
I love Brazilian literature and have read many classics as well as modern literature. Part of my experience comes from this literature. I don't intend to be a writer, not as a profession, at least. I want it to be my hobby! I am currently a psychology student at UERJ, although classes have not started yet! Image provided by author.