“My sweet child,” he´d say laughing, while he fixed my toy. “Broken toys, they’re like many of the problems you’ll run into as time goes by. Never think that they’ll fix themselves on their own. Don’t put them off for another day either. If you do, there’ll always be a next day, because every day is in itself, its own tomorrow. That´s how they’ll end: caught up forever, as sad toys without a proper fixing”.
One more stripe… doesn’t really matter to the tiger
The years went by… and Felicia grew up to become a beautiful little girl with a sweet disposition, as well as, impressively good-looking. Many of her fine features were unquestionably inherited from her mother. Since she was a child, Felicia’s mother was beautiful, a charm she upheld until the end of her days.
So, it happened that one lovely, sunny morning, after waking to a beautiful, clearly illuminated sky, one of the rare few that occur in Bogota City, but when they happen, those days make living in the city worthwhile… Felicia cautiously walked into her parent’s room.
Taking advantage of the fact that everyone else was downstairs, she walked with confidence and decided steps to her parent’s huge bed. Very carefully, she reached under the pillow and quickly retrieved the bag. Cautiously, she untied it and removed one of the quarter-cent coins.
Immediately, she proceeded to tie and replace the small green bag, just as she had found it. Then, she put the coin away, inside a small hidden pocket in her dress. It seemed so easy for Felicia. With innocence and quite naively, she never considered the possibility of her father realize there was a coin missing. The little bag was so full of coins, surely one little coin would never be missed! At the time, Felicia was barely eight-years old.
For a long while, Felicia’s father laughed, enjoying the joke on him. Then, he answered:
“You are completely right, like always, my dear. I really don’t understand what came over me, nor why I worry and fret like that. Bad times never last a hundred years, and if they did, we wouldn’t sit waiting them out. Am I right? So, if it’s alright with you, I’m going to keep this little bag as a lucky charm. What’s more, I’ll hide it under my pillow for safe keeping!
He got up and refilled the bag with tiny one-quarter of a cent gold coins and smiling, showed it to his wife, as he said to her:
“Madam, while I sleep with my quarter-cent fortune under the pillow, what do I care about riches worth millions of pesos. Am I right?” He ended his speech by taking her in his arms and said in a soft voice: “Actually, my real fortune may not fit under the pillow, but it does fit in my arms. I owe you my thanks for troubling yourself about me, for cheering me up, and for releasing me from silly moods, when we have so much to enjoy among us.”
That night, they were very happy when they went to bed. Felicia’s father let his dark thought go and to their pleasant surprise and great fortune, nine months later… Felicia was born.
When I think of my grandfather and his influence, profoundly imprinted on me by his passage through my life, memories of my broken toys come to my mind. Those damaged playmates of my early years, which life had ravished and invariably ended in his delicate hands searching for help. It was enough that he saw me walking towards him, possibly carrying one of my knick knacks or a broken down toy, for him to drop everything on the spot, in that same instant, and no matter what, rush to my aid.
“What would you think if I told you that the antiquarian guaranteed that they had belonged to King Midas?” She answered, while a soft chuckle escaped from her lips and her honey-coloured eyes sparkled.
“What? Don’t tell me you fell for that one! That guy is a fake, just like everything he peddles in his quaint little spider web, he’s disguised as an antiquarian’s shop” her husband inquired, surprised at her remark.
“Of course not, dear. I confess that I may not be too bright, but God helps me get along.” She answered, openly laughing merrily.
“I liked the thought of it. Imagine, my dear sir. To live like that poor king and to have everything you touch, turn into gold. I’m sure that in the long run… it must be quite boring. So, thinking along those lines, I must admit that I was genuinely seduced by the idea of possessing if only a bit of that man’s famous gold, even though it’s only a lie!”
“At the time, I also thought that it might come in handy someday,” she added thoughtfully. “And, you see, my dear, at least for the moment, I’ve rescued you from those bleak thoughts about the end of the world”, she said, smiling warmly, as she placed her hand on his.
On how many occasions, our problems turn out to be… as big as we perceive them to be
Felicia’s mother, trying to lift his spirits, surprised him with a gift. She had bought the present, some time before, during a trip they made in Europe. It was one of those things that are bought on a whim, but she had felt that it would come in handy someday. It was indeed that little green bag with the red bow tie.
“Sir, it seems to me that for several days you have been very troubled. My heart aches to see you so downcast and dejected. So, I have a small gift that may cheer you up a bit,” she commented somewhat saddened, for her husband had been down and out for quite a few days.
The husband, upon looking at the present, returned from his gloomy state of mind and his sad musings on the ups and the downs of the world markets. He reacted with a smile when he saw the bright colours of the bag and his face became animated once again.
“Now, what do we have here, I wonder?” He asked with a genuine smile filling his face, and for a moment, forgetting his nonexistent woes.
“Well, you see, this little bag contains a small amount of gold coins. I purchased them at the antiquarian’s shop. Maybe now, with the problems we’re going through, they may be a help for you to arise from such momentary financial problems, my dear.”
Though she had carefully maintained a serious tone in her tone, the better to match his state of mind; anyone who knew her better, would have failed to detect a slight playful trace of sarcasm in her voice.
Fortunate is that person that can find a treasure in the passing of each day in life
As it happened and for reasons unknown to her, Felicia’s father always kept this certain bag under his pillow. It was a small bag, made of green silk, which he would tie with a small silk, red ribbon. Inside, the bag contained quite a few small coins. The coins were all the same size and design. Each coin was worth a quarter of a gold cent.
But, as everything in this life has an explanation, the little green bag, with its shiny small coins equally had its own story.
It was a short time after that, Felicia’s parents married. The event was most lavish, for both were heirs to fortunes that even the most audacious of accountants of someone else’s money had to admit were effectively uncountable, or rather, should be considered invaluable.
Both were descendants of shipping tycoon families. Their ships sailed the seven seas, and if not, at least did frequent the known oceans of that long-ago time. It could be said that they had no worries and everything in their life was taken care of. There were a few years to go until Felicia was born into the family.
They lived comfortably in the Chapinero neighborhood, in a small, but cozy mansion. Sometime after they returned from their honeymoon, a world economic crisis occurred. It worried Felicia’s father severely, for their fortune was at a risk of diminishing from decidedly opulent to merely ridiculously rich. For that reason, one night during dinner, he found himself dejectedly considering the tortuous ups and downs of life.
Grandfather Jairo was the comet that suddenly appeared or disappeared from the skies of my childhood. Constantly traveling, Grandfather was born into this world, bearing the gift of being present in different places at the same time, tucked neatly under his arm. Even when he was far away, I always felt him next to me, as I pictured his smile in my mind: a smile as eternal as it was untiring.
How many loads we carry on our back, not letting go, until death does us the kind favour of taking them away
The only person that knew the story and the reasons, behind Felicia’s unquenchable search and persecution of those souls that departed to never come back, was precisely her husband who was, of course, Felipe’s father.
In those happy and carefree times, when they were still young and deeply immersed in that timeless process of courting, Felipe’s father was finding it extremely difficult to understand how Felicia could involve herself so profoundly in matters that had anything to do with spirits and ghosts. He just couldn’t imagine anybody else their age being so attached to these issues…
“Possibly in a much older woman, who also has nothing else to do,” he thought, “but she’s only eighteen; I am barely eighteen, and all this seems just too odd…”
It was to Felipe’s great comfort and spiritual peace that one Sunday afternoon this unfathomable mystery was resolved. This took place many years ago and shortly before they were married. At the time, they were firmly engaged. that Felicia broke up crying disconsolately. From one moment to the next, Felicia went from laughing gaily to despondently crying. This happened that Sunday afternoon while they were comfortably sitting in the parlour, in Felicia’s parent’s house and drinking coffee and enjoying some cinnamon cookies, her mother had just baked in the morning.
He had asked her, for he was certainly a bit concerned, about that mania she had for establishing contact with the world of spirits (of course he mentioned it rather tactfully as: this deep interest of hers).
Unexpectedly, Felicia overwhelmed, burst into tears. Once she had recovered herself, she proceeded to quietly tell him about these certain sad events that went all the way back to her early childhood.
The afternoon dragged on slowly and gradually turned into the evening, as it began to get dark. Meanwhile, and for the first time, Felicia narrated those events that she had kept hidden and buried deep in her heart for so many years.
Life and persons may be sweet, but never too much, for they risk becoming boring
Precisely for those reasons, Felipe had discovered in Angelica, this refreshing vision of a woman of the world, the presence of a person who advanced with firm, confident steps, a mind that was highly intelligent with her feet stolidly planted on the ground and adamantly not given to mystical speculations. Therefore, in those quiet moments, he found himself terribly confused and without knowing what to think.
Felipe and his wife interchanged glances, full of significance. Brief glimpses, almost instantaneous, but they discretely transmitted their mutual preoccupation concerning grandmother’s mental stability.
Pilar was trying to imagine the thoughts that went through Felipe’s mind. Childhood friends, Pilar met Doña Felicia since she was yet a child and knew her quite closely. In the beginning, she was overtaken by the staggering physical beauty of her future mother in law, which was truly breathtaking. For sure, the same thing happened to Felipe’s father at some time. Yet, as she got to know her better, her perception with respect to Felipe’s mother changed drastically.
It’s not that Felicia was a bad person. Quite the contrary, she was that kind of a person in which there is no room for evil. Too innocent and naïve, Pilar would think in this matter. Something like the arequipe sweets from Uraba, the kind they made down by the Atlantic coast. O rather the passion fruit candies from the Santander region that Felipe found so delicious. Those that that you barely enjoy… because they are just too overly sweet! Too sugary and, at the same time, much too bland… she concluded.