Like your family, perhaps (last part)

March 18, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book Real stories told as fiction)

“I know where the pixie is!” The child said and rushed into the bedroom.

“No, Grace!” Her mother yelled, but it was too late. The child had pulled the blanket that kept her granny warm off. Except for the younger sister, the entire family could see and think that this was what her body and life had reduced to. She weighed 39 kilograms or less. The distortion of her bones began with her lower jaw and teeth and ended in her toes. She could not close her mouth and had lost most of her hair. Her arms and legs were bent inwards and did not respond to her brain. Except for a weak blinking of her eyes, she lived her life trapped in a paralyzed body connected to three machines. Mrs. Brown spent most of her time on bed, looking at the white ceiling of the room with her head slightly tilted to one side to prevent her from choking. For one or two hours, the younger sister sat her mother in a wheelchair and took her near the window to get some sun. At that time, it could be seen in her how small we are when old age and disease come together.

“Most people know what hell is after dying. For some, this comes a little earlier. It’s just a matter of luck.” Amanda’s husband thought after seen her mother-in-law’s condition and he downed his glass of scotch in one go without waiting for the almost forgotten speech of her wife.

The younger sister was the most prudent person of the family. For that reason, perhaps, everything turned around her and everybody leaned on her. She was also the most intelligent, so to avoid the arrival of that awkward silence for the third time, she encouraged the other members of the family to start the party and she would join them minutes later after giving her mother some massage. Amanda could finally deliver her tremendously exciting speech (as some relatives said), full of praise for her sick mother, family anecdotes that all those present had heard several times and, of course, subtle criticism. After that, men were eating and drinking gluttonously; women, however, were only drinking since they had to drive later instead of their husbands. Only the mother of the child was eating sparingly and her daughter had not touched her food yet.

“Are not you hungry, sweet heart?” Amanda asked the child, and her answer deciphered the mystery about what happens when a child is present at a family gathering for adults: He or she will make them laugh or embarrass them.

“I don’t understand why you can eat so much if this is granny’s birthday and she’s not eating anything.” She said. “If she doesn’t eat in her birthday party, I will not eat either!”

Like one of those jokes that cannot even put a smile on the face of a clown and only make laugh the one who told the story, Patrick said to her younger sister that Grace was a perfect photocopy of her.

“Remember that your grandmother can only drink the magic liquid because it gives her more energy and life, Grace.” Her mother told her.

“But, why can’t she drink it herself?”

“Because it is a magic drink, so she doesn’t need to use her mouth. It goes directly to her stomach.”

“The pixie is back!” Grace suddenly said and ran into her grandmother’s room. A few moments later, she walked slowly back to the living room with her head down.

“I couldn’t catch him. I have never seen him. I don’t even know how old he is!”

“A pixie? But who on earth is she talking about?” Patrick, half-drunk already, asked.

Only Amanda had a grasp of what was going on at home. Her younger sister needed her daughter’s eyes to help with the care of her sick mother, but at the same time, she didn’t want to see Grace suffering for her grandmother’s condition. Thus, before Patrick put his foot in it, she said to her niece this:

“His name is Parkinson, Grace, and even though he’s small, Parkinson is 25 years old. He has been with your granny all these years.”

After that, Amanda’s husband cleared his throat and said that it was time to leave since they had a long journey ahead of them. All members of the family wolfed down everything in front of them, including the apple pie for dessert and drank coffee quickly. Then, they left the house, but this time, different from the way they came, they left together. Four or five days later, Mrs. Brown died. At her funeral, nobody mourned her death, except for the child.

“I want to see granny again!” She said. “I want to see Parkinson!”

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.


Like your family, perhaps (penultimate part)

March 17, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book True stories told as fiction)

“Amanda, the one I loved and spoiled the most, got tired of me today like a mongrel that has had its fill and doesn´t even hide his favorite bone. You came for your father´s car just a week after his death. That makes me think you will probably be here for the part of your inheritance after my death in less time. If I could talk! If I could write or make a gesture at least! I wish I would have given to a beggar in the street all the money I spent to satisfy your whims when you got it into your head that you wanted to be an actress because it´s much better to be remembered by a stranger after your death than to be forgotten by your own family while you are alive. So much money and time to end up working at a store and married to this cynical and sardonic man, ungrateful by nature and thief from experience. He never repaid us all the money he borrowed from us all the times we got him off the hook because of his life of doubtful pleasure, women and alcohol. And I swear to God again that it was him who stole the money from the credit card when my Fred died. My life has become hell, but worse than that is to be forced to see this ungrateful family today and together.”

When she saw her younger sister coming from the kitchen, a feeling of guilt that she never could get rid of, emerged from the bottom of her heart while shedding a tear of remorse.

“We pay a high price for all our evil deeds we commit, and not when we die, but in life.” She thought. “I don’t know if you wanted to be born, but I’m sure that I didn’t want to see you, Yanet. You were an accident, a result of a night of heavy drinking from your father and a total miscalculation on my part and that’s why I left you with my parents with the excuse of my job. And among all people who are here today, you are the only one whom I can call my family. You, who don’t sleep well every night, trying to make me sleep. You are the only high-value stone in this quarry covered with mud. I curse myself thousands of times for comparing you to Amanda to embarrass you and make you suffer. Despite that, you keep taking care of me without any reproach. I don’t’ deserve what you do for me and don’t even understand why you do it, why hatred doesn’t dwell in your heart. Please, forgive me and, when your daughter grows up, I hope that she can forgive me too.

At any family gathering, there is always an idiot who cannot stop talking nonsense nor can he measure the impact of his silly words. In this case, that person was Patrick. Thus, a lot of things are not needed to understand why Amanda had to poke him in the ribs to make him shut up when the younger sister rose from the table to fetch something she did not want so as not to listen her brother’s stories about his trips and the life of leisure he led while she paradoxically lived like a prisoner without having committed any crime. In a whole year, she could barely go out of that house “to have fun” for two nights, the time she had to take her daughter to some place, so that she could answer at her nursery school the customary questions made by the teacher to the kids on what they did and where they went during summer vacation.

When everything was ready and it was time to make a toast, Amanda raised her glass, ready to deliver her caustic speech and… the little girl interrupted her for the second time.

“Mom, the pixie is tickling granny again!”

“Which pixie?” Patrick asked, since Amanda did not want to run the risk of being ridiculed twice in less than an hour.

“The pixie who always comes around bothering granny. They day I get my hands on him, I’ll punch him in his nose!”

The little child’s innocence on the situation brought that awkward silence back again to the living room. Mrs. Brown went into convulsions. She had to battle frequently with sudden and painful contracting of her muscles and whenever that happened, tears could be seen on her face. Those who were closer to her could hear the sound of her body popping. It seemed that her frail body was about to jump out of bed. Her face turned red again and her face distorted with pain again.

“Why don’t you give her a painkiller or sedative?” Patrick asked.

“She can only take medicine for convulsions and pain twice a day. Next time it will be at midnight, otherwise she won’t sleep at all.” His younger sister told her.

After hearing that, the only thing that came to their minds was to determine how many nights has the younger sister been able to sleep earlier than midnight since her mother’s condition got worse as the disease progressed.

“32 nights. ”Amanda’s husband thought after a quick calculation.

Mathematically, he was right, but mathematics and reality do not always complement each other and this time reality was different and the answer too: less than 10 nights was the right answer. When she was not at home during those two nights, the force of habit made her wake up suddenly from time to time and… she was there, with her daughter, sleeping, snuggled down under the bedclothes as if she tried to hug her with her little arms. On those nights, she did not curse as her mother did, but said to herself: “Forward. I can only keep moving forward.” (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Like your family, perhaps (part II)

March 16, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book True stories told as fiction)

“Mom! The small pixie is pulling a prank on granny again. Her face is red!” The little girl said and the eyes of those present were truly upon Mrs. Brown. It was hard to know who was more surprised: Them, when she was grimacing in agony or her for being seen like a life in death.

“How often does that happen to her?” One asked.

“If she´s not sleeping, at any moment.” The child´s mother answered.

The room got very quiet. From her mouth and an orifice she had in her trachea, some kind of yellow and thick phlegm came out frequently. Every time that happened, she choked and coughed as if she were about to expel an organ. She had difficulty breathing and that was the moment when her face got completely red and turned into a copy of The Scream by Edvard Munch.

The child´s mother got up quickly to take the phlegm out while her brothers, sisters and other relatives became useless observers. When Amanda, the elder sister, tried to clean her mother´s mouth with tissue, she found herself with the child who wore a frown.

“No! My mother told me that we can´t clean granny´s mouth with tissue, but using that machine.” She said. “I don´t know how to use it yet. Having said that, she went back to her seat and returned to her business: To watch TV. Amanda joked about how well the child had been trained to help and Patrick said they were lucky and felt relieved by having their beloved younger sister living with their mother to take care of her. The child´s mother said nothing, but a strange smile appeared on her lips, a smile that, for sure, was not synonymous with happiness. An awkward silence reigned on every hand. Hence, all women went to the kitchen, men were talking about work and their children were using their smartphones.

Mrs. Brown took a mental X-ray of her brothers, sisters, brothers and sisters-in-law and only saw broken hearts. Later, it was the turn of her sons and daughters. She couldn´t swallow, took a deep breath and said to herself: “Raise crows and they will rip out your eyes. As God is my witness, everybody knows that I did not raise them. So, who are they who have left me with a stake driven into my heart and eyes to see them?” (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Like your family, perhaps (part I)

March 15, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

(Taken from the book True stories told as fiction)

“Happy birthday!” The granddaughter said while tilting 80 red roses forward so that her grandmother, with her head tipped to the side, could see them. And since children always know who to give the present, but never where to put it, the little girl gave it back to her mother and continued watching cartoons. Even her mother could not find a place without hesitation as the table was piled high with food and drinks: It was, after all, Mrs. Brown’s 80th birthday. However, the weird thing was not that, but the way all members of the family came to the party: With a perfect time difference of nine minutes between a car and another, which would make any stuffed person with Sherlock Holmes’s stories think that they were spying on each other or plotting against someone.

“Why didn’t Toby and Pamela come?”

“They are both working and moved out of the house. I don’t hardly see them anymore.” Patrick answered.

“It’s a pity!”

“You just wait a few years and you will see…”

“Lisa and Karen”, Amanda said to his brother.

“Yes, Lisa and Karen doing the same.”

Inside the house, at the entrance to a room near the garden, all of them were standing, waiting for their turn to greet the birthday person and full of uncertainty like someone getting information about how much money will have to pay for taxes this year. Yes, there they were, hanging on every word of greeting to avoid repetition. When they finished their cordial greetings, every one of them found a place in the living room to sit down and started talking timidly like exiles in a strange land, like strangers in their own family. (TO BE CONTINUED…)

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Tell me the answer: What is the bright side of living in the country when you are getting old?

March 8, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.


The bright side of living in the country is that time seems to go so slowly and the clock seems to have stopped. When you are getting old, that is worth a lot.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

A good laugh: The Lone Ranger

March 7, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

”Where is Tonto?” A man asked The Lone Ranger when he entered a small town.

”I killed him.” He said.

”You did what?”

”I just killed him. I can’t have anybody with me for company, bro. Don’t you know my name?”

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Curiosities: Why does a cobra rise up and flatten its head into a hood?

March 6, 2018

By Eddy Montilla.

Cobras are poisonous snakes that can reach from 4 feet long (1.2 m) to 18 feet (5.5 m, the King cobra, the longest in its kind). The female cobra is oviparous (an animal that produces eggs rather than gives birth to live babies inside its body) and lays 30 eggs on average approximately, which will bring new cobras to life in two months and something if they do not become the food of some mongoose. Probably, the most fascinating and well-known things about this reptile are its upright position and hood. And why does a cobra do that?

The best way to defeat small enemies or escape from big enemies is by letting them know that you are not afraid and by trying to fill them with fear too. That’s exactly what cobras pretend to do when they extend their ribs, which in turn will extend their loosing skin on the neck outwards. This impressive spectacle will make you run away as fast as Usain Bolt in his prime or lead you to the foolish idea of trying to take a selfie with the cobra as background since it is very easy to be captivated by it because of its shape, hood, upright position and all movies we have seen with people being bitten by a cobra (including Cleopatra, who by the way, probably died of other causes). If you choose the second option, keep in mind that you will be in another world in just 30 minutes if you do not receive medical treatment after being bitten since the venom will attack your nervous system.

Copyright 2018 All rights are reserved.

Photo: By courtesy of tableatny under the criteria of Creative Commons (Flickr, 3-3-2018).