“What are you watching?”
“Nothing,” she responded in apathy, her gaze never veering from the screen.
“Have you seen my keys?”
Marcelo misplaced his keys on a daily basis and Lucia always seemed to remember having seen them. She had that kind of memory. Photographic. She never had to look for anything.
“On the counter top in the kitchen, next to the fridge,” she said. Her enthusiasm was less than zero as she stared into space. The images bounced around on the television but she wasn’t watching them. To her, they were just lights dancing across a screen. She paid no attention to them.
“Are you O.K.?” he finally asked.
But she was not fine. She hadn’t been fine in months and he didn’t know how to fix it.
“I’m going to the store.”
“Watch out for strangers,” she said.
“Very funny. Do you want me to pick anything up for you?”
She tilted her head and turned to look at him. There were tears in her eyes. “You don’t have to try to cheer me up Marcelo.”
Ever since Lucia had lost her job, she had been like this, depressed, distant, lethargic, the opposite of how he knew her to be. This Lucia, this sad Lucia, was not the woman he knew. But it was the woman he loved. He saw her for who she really was. Saw through all the distractions and definitions that one might use to distinguish a personality. In good times and bad.
“You’re right, I don’t have to try Lucia; I want to try. There is no obligation involved in my actions, only love.”
She breathed out, relaxing enough to allow the faintest hint of a smile to creep across her lips.
“I love you too,” she said “but this has nothing to do with you Marcelo, I have been looking for a job for weeks. Each morning I wake up early, read the paper, search the internet classifieds and find nothing. No one is hiring. I have never been so frustrated.”
“Something will come along, Lucia, you are a talented beautiful hard working woman, when the time is right, when you least expect it, you will find something. In the meantime, do you want anything from the store?”
“If you see those new chocolate filled Oreo cookies, will you bring me a pack?” I saw a commercial for them just now and they sound delicious,” acquiescing from hint to smirk.
“I will look for them. No no, I will search for them!” he exclaimed. “Through distant and dangerous lands! If you would only flash me that smile again!”
She could not resist and grinned from ear to ear. He had that effect on her, and she would do almost anything for chocolate.
By Stephanie Cariker