by Anamaria Martinez
The rain is running down the panes of the French doors, and standing close to the glass looking out at the storm-blown trees I have the strongest feeling that I am looking into a shower cubicle, where instead of seeing a person I am seeing the whole world being cleansed. There are no lights in this outside room and the clouds and trees in varying shades of sombre grey and dull green just look grubby and miserable.
I turn my back on this greyness and see that it is even darker inside. I hesitate to switch on a lamp as it is only three in the afternoon, but I succumb to a desire to see something akin to warmth. The soft glow from the energy-saving bulb takes a while to reach full strength, but when it does my mood lifts, almost as if the sun has reached into this room and stroked my face. I take a sweet from the dish on the glass table and looking at it I smile. It is a violeta – a traditional sweet from Madrid.
I slip the sweet, which is the colour and shape of a violet, into my mouth and savour the flowery aroma. As the flavour develops, I can see the small, old fashioned shop in the Calle de la Cruz in Madrid and remember clearly our last weekend together before the accident changed everything. Time has passed, and though initially I hated anyone who said it, time passing has helped. I no longer cry every time I think of you; I can now remember our time together and smile and laugh at whatever incident occurs to me. I keep you within me and rarely speak of you. I noticed that after a while, people’s eyes would wander and their expressions cloud over when I mentioned you. When I wanted to share a reminiscence, once a “decent” period of time had passed, no-one really wanted to hear the dead mentioned. So now I don’t speak of you. but I talk to you, in my head when I am with people and out loud at home. I can even argue with you because I know the responses you would give. You are still protecting me from my worst excesses – it is your voice I hear when I am about to take that extra glass of wine or eat the second piece of cake. I can almost feel your hand sliding gently over my hip as you whisper softly in my ear: “a minute on the lips…” And I still listen.
Our friends encourage me to go out, to meet them in the pub on a Friday after work or go to a party on a Saturday. I go and then they leave me in peace for another while. I am not interested in the single left-overs or divorced rejects which they trundle out for me on these occasions. I have loved and been loved and do not need to endure the sweaty embraces of these men, all too eager to be the first to screw the widow. Widows are hot – did you know that? What they do not realise is that although I am alone, I am not lonely. I am not happy but I am not unhappy. I am content because I have come to terms with losing you, but still have you all around me. I finish my violeta – just the one – as the storm breaks. Picking up my jacket and shopping basket, I start discussing my dinners for one with you while walking out the door.
Anamaria Martinez was born in 1962 in Dublin, Ireland. Ana has been living and working in Germany for more than twenty years. She has taken a writing course at the Open University and is currently taking a distance learning course in short story writing with the London School of Journalism. She is married with one daughter.