Spanish Arch: An excerpt

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Vallery-3-Drawer-Bedside-Table-in-Antique-With-Fuschia-Details-31I was born almost happy.

Happy literally was the Spanish name of my mother wanted for me. No name, no local name, only a hope that in the farthest stretch of language knew -. A language that once reached the world, the Netherlands, Africa, North and South America, the Philippines only music goes deeper and deeper penetrated.

I say “almost born Happy” because the name of me instead is closed due to the load of a bureaucrat neglected to name the Holy Catalan Feliu was only one letter changed my death -. Yes, death – certificate.

My father was abroad this year, working as a customs officer in the colonial Cuba. In the afternoon, my mother began labor pain, the older sister of my father changed in a better dress for church. Mom leans on a chair near the kitchen door, legs apart, ankle inward, as my body weight drop kick your pelvic floor. When the aunt prayed to go together, Mom Bleached woven straw against the chair.

“I’ll light candles for you,” Tia said.

“I do not need prayers I need -.” My mother moaned, her hips from side to side fishing, trying to find a position where the pain subsided. Freshwater? A urinal? “… Help” was all he could say.

“I’ll send Henry to get the midwife.” Aunt pushed the ebony comb with thick gray streaks in his hair mass. “No, I’m even on the road. Where is Percival?”

My older brother had slipped out before minutes, heading for the bridge and drycleaning along which local shepherds led their flocks. He and his friends, often hidden cards in the middle of the shell and broken canes game orange-scented vinegar.

Percival was old enough to remember previous disasters in sharp detail, and he did not attend another. Mom last baby died a few minutes after birth. One had previously survived for a few days while my mother hovered near death, plagued by fever induced by infection. Campo Seco, that was not the only possibility.

My mother was the midwife who had moved with her husband, a butcher before the village four years.

“You do not wash your hands,” Mom gasped “The last time I saw them using broken hinge clip Flakes …” – She writhed and put the heel of your hand on the back -. “Scales Rust ”

“Ridiculous!” Aunt attracted lace mantilla over her head. “They care about nothing. We must pray instead.”

My two other brothers, Enrique and Luisa remained stoic face backyard groans my mother wiped amniotic straw tablecloth on the floor five years Luisa; blood smear writhed in wet towels, seven years Enrique and crashed into a large porcelain bowl. disappeared during the third dive, blue flowers in the background painted cup under a pall of smoke rose water face down.

Vallery-3-Drawer-Bedside-Table-in-Antique-With-Fuschia-Details-30Thirty minutes after leaving the aunt, the midwife came. Mom was panting and exhausted his bed, pushing with all his strength, as he struggled to keep his eyes open. She sought the dirt under the fingernails to increase midwife. his neck turned each step was followed midwife flashes of tools in a calico place on the nightstand and display the cord reel gray cotton to catch the flight network spirit must cover roast Metzger. If the hands of the midwife came near tried to close the knees to protect me from harm Mama. But to push momentum could not be stopped. Came.

And then – just as suddenly – I get stopped. What moves too quickly stopped moving at all. Mom bulging belly and wrinkled last time, and then cured in a time of contraction, implacable. His slack-jawed. A blue vein bulged at his temple. Henry, in the doorway, trying not to see between her legs, where the combination of tense, pearly flesh and wet hair reminded him of jellyfish washed, broke against the banks of weeds. The midwife took the remark and grabbed the sheet up on legs of mom and high, rounded belly. This gesture hid a disturbing vision, but has more attention to what was visible: the red face my mother twisted beaded with sweat and pain.

“Here,” Mom said later, the story of my birth say, “is where they decided to rebel. Every time someone pushes too hard, you do the opposite.”

In fact, I was determined: foot twisted to the neck, the back of the only exit for. A churro life tied in a bow.

The midwife groaned as her hands pressed, pushed and massages under the tents of single sheets, a question obscured his face. Enrique oblivion, the paper ripped and complained at the sight of a small purple scrotum appear where a head coronation should have been. She saw him ten minutes turn the fabric of her apron with red fingers. Then panic succeeded. ignorant incredulity, with Enrique and Luisa turned round eyes, which brought up and down stairs, next to the lowest level in full face.

The midwife had gone to look for her husband, who was two blocks away, wipe their soiled hands. You have my brother or shouted from the balcony of a foot fleets children of our neighbors sent. But it was not a brilliant woman. And he knew that a third of infant mortality in an expensive Invite family gossip. He could imagine the dark sea of ​​handkerchiefs that on this day — salute the back of the head to avoid any neighbor woman and rounded shoulders, her flat, if he died, and my mother with me.

Left without help, my mother in her determination she screamed and tried to breathe more deeply. She felt safe with the missing midwife willing to accept what happened. She asked Luisa a bottle from the cellar to collect and keep the lips, despite nausea let him drink a little. He called Enrique to come and take the tongs, dip and rub in a bowl with hot water, to be ready.

“They do not open very well,” he said, struggling with oval handles. They were filled by the twisted and black with small pieces of leather sewn Enrique recalled a horse sweat iron color. “Are the songs to separate?”

“Forget it. You ask. Use your hands.”

He paled.

Mom heard Luisa began to mourn, and ordered to sing – everything a popular song or “Vamos a la Mar” a happy turn, all sang in picnic trips to the Mediterranean coast.

“… Eating fish on a wooden plate …” Luisa sang several times, then !! “I can see that something is a foot”

Another pressure. A narrow back. With the help of Henry, a shoulder. My mother lost consciousness. I was told that I was there for a while, to keep the image of the blind indecision, head denies my doughy body. Until Enrique, decisive enough for two he stepped forward and pushed a small hand in the dark, with the latching finger to my chin.

After my last asked the slick appearance, I mounted from the womb of my mother, not by the cable in her afterbirth. There were no punches; No Cry Cry. Mom surface again briefly to tie into consciousness with instructions Enrique as cable with the gray wire in two places, and cut as the purple cable between the two flattened.

He entered the womb of my mother, but I did not root. One of my legs dangled over the other, the joint alarming sagging hip. Nobody made the white residue clogging my little nose. Mamas arms lay beside her, too tired to kiss me. There was little sense. My eyelids contract. My chest does not swell.

“It’s cold,” Luisa said. “We must wrap.”

“It’s cold,” Henry corrected.

“A child,” My mother seemed pleased and entered her wet cheeks to revive what had happened before and would happen again: the pain of your adrenaline reflux grows, incapacitating fever, diving in the confused dream could undo. “The Tell midwife was not his fault. The notary come to the door. There is a blank card with an envelope in the drawer with the money. Enter the name for it, so there’s no mistake. Aníbal Feliz Delargo Domenech”

She gritted her teeth, hoping to calm a cramp. “Is it cold in here, Luisa?”

“It’s hot, Mom.”

“The notary will inform the priests” – a breath of air is sucked, and then bit her lower lip – “. And the scribe”

“The writer?” Luisa asked, but do not tell Mom.

“Enrique – who knows how Hannibal writes how his great-uncle.”

Henry shook his head.

“As the winner of Carthage, the man with the elephant.”

“I do not know how,” my brother protested alarmed by the desire to write my name, which had been prepared by the drama of a baby from the womb reluctant.

However, the task list and presents long future – a letter to Pope, a visit, a funeral – the last of the resistance Mom had run out. She closed her eyes and turned his head from side to side, trying to catch a breeze difficult to reach. She began, “A-N-Me-B …” Then again he lost consciousness.

Copyright © 2007 Andromeda Romano-Lax

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or any information storage and retrieval system information without the written permission of the publisher.

Ministry of approvals, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando: Requests for copies of permissions for each part of the work must be at the following address in harcourt.com/contact online or mail sent, Florida 32887-6777 .

The above is an excerpt from the book The Spanish Arch Andromeda Romano-Lax
Published by Harcourt, Inc. November 2007. $ 25.00US; 978-0-15-101542-9 Copyright © 2007 Andromeda Romano-Lax

Author
Andromeda Romano-Lax was a journalist, travel writer and a serious amateur cellist. The Spanish Arch is his first novel. She lives in Anchorage, Alaska, with his family.
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