Mother, I've Lost Faithbysoupwarsproject©
[An excerpt from BUTTERFLY ARMAGEDDON, a SOUP WARS PROJECT]
Life on the porch was lazy and nice. The breeze blew lightly through the decorative wrought iron bars that enclosed the space. Songbirds tweeted sweet melodies. Analís sat on her rocking chair, knitting something or other, as she ate freshly baked cookies. At that point, her craft could've been a small blanket or an aspiring tablecloth. Hernán read a book entitled, "Overcoming Anger," while lying on the hammock with a tobacco pipe in his mouth.
"Hi Analís," Carlos chirped as walked in. When his mother lifted her head to greet her son, she became speechless. Carlos gave her a peck on the lips and continued en route to his room. She considered asking Adelina for some enlightenment, but thought better of it. She was Adelina after all. She knew instinctively that telling Hernán would be a bad idea. She quietly left her chair and chased after her son with knitting and tools in hand.
"Carlitos," she called out as she knocked, "are you in your room?"
"Yes Analís." It bothered her somewhat that he stopped calling her mother, like usual.
"Are you decent?" Carlos answered by opening the door wearing nothing but the kinky black curls on his head. He held an old Bible in his hand. Analís covered her eyes with her left hand. "What is wrong with you?"
"Everything..." Carlos tore out pages from his Bible at random. "Thanks for asking." He gently eased the door shut.
Analís knocked again, "Darling, do you want to talk about it?"
"No." Carlos sounded detached. "Just don't make me anymore meals. I won't eat them"
"What is wrong with you?" Analís's concern became more urgent. She knew something snapped in him.
"I don't know. What's wrong with everyone?" Behind closed doors, Carlos admired himself in the mirror. His hair was a thick with loose curls and some frizz from the humidity. His body was everything that he wanted it to be. He plopped himself onto the bed with closed eyes. He drowned his sorrows in fantasy.
"Is there anything I should know?"
"Yes." Carlos explained, "I'm going to starve myself because I'm sick of living in a world without love."
Analís cried out from the hall. "Your son refuses to eat or wear clothing. Please do something about him."
Her husband responded lazily, "He's an adult. He can do whatever he wants."
Analís opened the screen door and stomped into the porch, a begging her husband, "Talk to him."
"What's the point?" Hernán blew rings of smoke out of his mouth. "It was only a matter of time until he went nuts." He took another drag from his pipe before he added, "It's actually surprising he stayed sane for as long as he did."
"Ooh!" His wife angrily stormed back inside the house, hoping to talk some sense info the boy. Analís tried to reason with her son for over an hour, but to no avail. She retreated to the kitchen to prepare a cake. She started some rice with roast chicken and checked the beans in the crock-pot. As everything cooked and baked, she continued with her knitting.
Carlos walked out to the porch with an old tote bag that used to belong to Candi. Everyone stared at him, but no one dared say a word. As he made his way out of the yard, Analís announced that dinner was ready. Everyone was hungry, but no one really wanted to eat after seeing a naked man carrying a pink tote bag. It was too weird, but they had dinner anyway. Adelina stayed for dinner, but left for her crack binge shortly after she stirred the contents of her plate.
Carlos journeyed to a special place between Hidalgo, Alcalde, Independencia and Liceo streets, just north of the main Cathedral. Overgrown plants, tall grass and weeds overtook the once impeccable park. The beautiful monument was finished in 1954 to commemorate Guadalajara's most illustrious men and women in the fields of science, art, literature, politics, justice, education and basic human rights.
The mausoleum consisted of several bronze statues surrounding seventeen Doric columns holding up a gigantic ring with Spanish words meaning, "FROM JALISCO TO ITS ENLIGHTENED CHILDREN," engraved upon it. Inside the rotunda, over one hundred urns filled with ashes were lovingly stored. Grass grew between the cracks of the white limestone and cement walls that separated the inner areas of monument from the mess that had once been a lawn.
Carlos sat cross-legged and still nude next to the long extinguished "eternal flame" located on the very center of the rotunda. He read Milton's Paradise Lost and laughed at it as if it were a comic book. His only sustenance was a litter bottle of water. When he was not reading, he napped on the hard floor. This was his protest against life in general. He figured that starvation was a relatively painless way to die and that was his intention. The dying among those who had contributed much to the progress and betterment of the civilized society he knew before the SOUP Wars would be an honor.
Reading comedy helped him deal with the hunger pangs. If his life was miserable, he figured that he would end it in the most pleasant way possible. Carlos had worked diligently on perfecting himself after he lost his baby fat when he had full-blown MIAIDS. Now healed, he decided that his body was a work of art and that clothes detracted from its beauty. The current society (or whatever was left of it) and its twisted mores could go to hell.
On the next day, over a snack of crunchy grasshoppers and tequila, Guillotine and Hernán speculated as to why Carlos was running around naked like a freak. Guillotine complained ad nauseum, "It's a pity he's so uptight and impotent. He's so hot." She followed these complaints with graphic and rather disgusting descriptions of sex acts that she wanted to perform on him, much to her father's chagrin.
Analís knitted. She did not even pause to make food. When anyone complained about the current state of affairs, she simply replied, "Make it yourself." By the second day, the novelty of the gossip wore off for everyone. Regardless of whether Carlos was on anyone else's mind or not, his mother kept on knitting a present for him.
On the third day of Carlos's literary nudity and hunger strike, Analís finished knitting something for him to wear. She rode a bicycle with the new clothing item in a green backpack. She searched all of his favorite haunts, until she finally reached the park. Her son was still reading quietly. Her footsteps disturbed the solitude of the memorial. She didn't greet her son; instead, she gave him an order. "Carlitos put some clothes on!"
"All I ever do is read and prepare for death." Carlos kept on reading without lifting his head. "It doesn't seem like there's much point." He did not want to deal with her. He tried to keep his emotions dammed up just as she often did.
"Will you at least wear this serape I knitted for you? I worked on it day and night."
Realizing that she was not going to leave, Carlos sighed deeply and offered an alternative. "I would rather walk with you."
As her son stood up, Analís tightly clutched the woolen craftwork to her chest, in order to hide her body's reaction. She blushed brightly at the exposed body. She noticed that it resembled a Greek sculpture, as they exited the circle together.
Carlos sensed his mother's embarrassment, so he covered what he could with his large calloused hands. Neither mother nor son would make eye contact or move their lips as they headed to the unkempt grass. Images of his mother in her fair-haired younger days, invaded Carlos's head. He tried to ignore them. The young man finally screwed up his courage and managed to make some small talk. "Analís, why don't you dye your hair anymore? You're almost not blonde." He bit his lip and winced after he finished his comment. The days of golden hair still haunted him.
She twirled her faded yellow tips of her curls between her fingers. "The stores ran out of my favorite hair bleach." Analís giggled and made the mistake of looking at her son. Their eyes locked as they strolled through the mausoleum's path. Her breathing strained. He had made his feelings for her very clear in the past. It made for an awkward silence.
Carlos blushed as well and told her, "You're still beautiful." She had gained a lot of weight over the years, but her light olive skin still looked soft and supple. Her dark coffee-colored eyes were still as glassy as he remembered them to be in his youth. Her eyelashes were still long and black. Despite the cruelty of the past few years, Analís was still the most beautiful angel. If there were a god, Analís would have been its masterpiece. He felt that way since he was a little boy and he doubted that those feelings would ever change.
"You look like Hernán." Analís bit one of her nails. "I wish Hernán still loved me." She tried to pretend that she still loved her husband. She didn't.
"I am not Hernán." Carlos stated dryly. "I still love you."
Memories of Gigi and her husband violating the vows she made to God sickened her. Analís could not stand the fact that he had given her accursed daughter four boys, when she only had two children. He actually had given her three, if she counted Candi's adoption. Sadly, Candi, like most of México's population, was gone.
Hernán never made any effort to earn Analís back, let alone apologize for his actions. It was obvious that he held her in the utmost contempt. She hated him for what he had become. He deserved nothing but suffering. "What happened to my husband, Carlos?"
The dam was cracking. Carlos tried to delay the inevitable. "Dad is sick. Maybe he did what needed to be done and, maybe not. It's destroying him in either case."
Analís wished that things had been fair and equitable, if they were to remain unacceptable. She would have even settled for different. "What happened to you my boy? Carlos paused, his fists trembling as he stared fixedly at the ground. "I want balance, but the sickness is destroying me too. I hear voices in my head that tell me that I exist in a world without love. They devour my humanity and fill the vacuum with hopelessness. How is anyone supposed to fight that kind of despair?"
"I still carry that sweet little card that you made for me when you were a little boy." Carlos gasped at her words. "That is how I fight mine. You were the only person who has ever loved me unconditionally. You try to understand us." He placed his hands on Analís's shoulders and flashed a short-lived grin.
"You always give so much of yourself, despite everything that's happened." Analís slowly dropped the serape. "Don't allow them to destroy you." The draping of the dress on her chest betrayed her. "You need to keep on fighting. You are the only friend I have left." She lifted her right hand to stroke his cheeks and jawbone. "I beg you not to leave me alone in this earth. Her son closed his eyes as she told him. "I love you too much to let you go."
"I love you too, but I need..." Her index finger touched his lips. He suckled it without forethought, but stopped as soon as he realized what he was doing.
"You don't really want to die. Not after everything we put Gigi and Candi through to help you live." Her eyes became watery.
"Did you ever ask me if I wanted to live when I had the chance to die?"
Analís stood dumbfounded. "What?"
Carlos's eyes grew wide and feral. "Analís, I want balance, but, I can only achieve it by getting the sickness out of my body. I only see two options..."
Her intuition knew exactly what he wanted. "It isn't right to wish for such things. There are other choices." "I don't want them." Instinctive desperation weighed very heavily on Carlos's body. "Please... make love to me." He pleaded pathetically, "That is the one thing I truly desire other than death."
Analís grumbled, "I don't even remember what it feels like anymore," in an admission of complete sincerity and resentment. Carlos eyed her moist lips. He longed to taste her. "I became smart and handsome so you would fall in love with me." Her lips quivered as she felt his words penetrate her body. "Why won't you fall in love with me and help me achieve a state of nirvana?"
Analís was completely ignorant of the Eastern philosophy that her son gathered in his studies. "What's nirvana?"
Carlos spoke in a reverent and almost prayerful manner. "It's the place where there is no anger, or hatred or apathy. It is a place where there are no wants or needs left unfulfilled. It is not the north, nor the east, nor the south, nor the west. It is the place where one is enlightened and reborn as the essence of the Universe."
"You mean eternal life in heaven?" She would soon find out that her son contemplating something far less palatable to her soul. "I want absolute peace." His feral eyes became wilder in spite of his voice becoming softer. "I want freedom from the wheel of life." His words pierced her soul like knives. "I want nothing."
Analís assumed to know what he meant. "You should be ashamed for wanting such a thing."
Carlos collected himself, "I am not ashamed and neither should you." His mother was taken by surprise at the fact that he would even assume that she should have any reason to be ashamed. "No one here wants to see your shame." He hugged her tenderly as joy returned to him, "I am not here to judge. I am here to love and serve you, so I can break the binds that are preventing me from finding my inner peace."
"Let go of me." Discomfort afflicted her entire being. Her breasts betrayed her, as did the goose bumps on her skin. She felt a dull ache in parts of her body that she would never mention in polite company. This was not something that she would normally feel. The sweet voices of pagan demons celebrating the spring rites were trying to take over her body. They reminded her of how much this man looked like Hernán when he was loving and handsome. She forgot to pray to God again for more protection.
Her baby was a chubby little innocent and this handsome stranger was not. He looked like Hernán but he was better. This man actually desired her. He was the one who started it. Would it really be her fault, if he turned her on? He actually wanted to give her something that even she was too afraid to give to herself. Didn't she deserve this little indulgence, just this once? She deserved all the wonderful little things that her evil daughter had. She wanted to give her husband the one thing he could not create. No one other than Carlos needed to know how she got it. It would be their secret. He wouldn't have to know either. Only she would know.
Carlos let go of her as soon as she made her wishes known. He did not want to force himself on her. He had no right to make her to feel violated. Death seemed preferable to her distress. This is why Carlos wanted to commit suicide. He knew that she was unattainable. She was his mother. He wanted her to go away and leave him to die in peace among the great men of Jalisco. Then, a small peck on the lips dispelled the gloom.
The dam broke and the rush overwhelmed them both. They locked into an embrace accented by increasingly deeper kisses. Analís nearly swooned, but her lover slowed her fall with his chiseled arms. She pulled him down, so she could taste him again. Although he had kissed Candi on the lips, he did so awkwardly and with his mouth puckered. Analís had never given such a kiss to anyone, not even Hernán. In between kisses she whispered, "Are we foolish to do this?" The object of her affection responded in the affirmative.
She pulled up her light yellow sundress and unclasped her tarnished white brassiere. Her small breasts were no longer pert. He didn't care. His instincts reminded her of cravings long forgotten as her clothes fell. He could almost taste the phantom ambrosia of sweet milk. Her body was a mystery and he delighted in discovering its many surprises. At her urging, he stroked the one unexposed area of her body. She yelped. He withdrew his fingers and asked, "Have we crossed the line?"
As a single monarch butterfly landed on top of a golden dandelion growing on the weedy lawn, Analís delivered a declaration. "We are crossing it."
Carlos slipped the elastic cloth out of the way and buried his fingers into the final taboo. At first, the viscosity of the fluids was off-putting. However, as her body became more yielding and receptive, her stickiness melted into slippery nectar that awakened his masculine instinct. Her groans were a siren song. He longed to become one with her, but he feared that his dysfunction would not allow him to join her fully. She didn't care. "Make love to me."
Carlos stammered nervously, "I can't."
Analís prompted her lover to roll with her so she could be on top. She showered his sparsely hairy chest with small pecks. She slowly crawled down and kissed Carlos's rippled belly. She followed the trail of hair with her tongue until her head bobbed up and down. Her saliva felt like fire. Blood shot through his capillaries and his fluids readied themselves. The vibrations of her humming were excruciatingly addictive. He had never felt anything like it in his entire life. Analís released his manhood on the nick of time, gasped and blushed. There was more for him to experience, as he prepared to open a window of enlightenment.
Carlos gazed at the miracle his lover had performed. He glanced at the creation and its creator. The woman invited him to enter her body. He impaled her and shouted, "Thank you," with tears forming in his eyes. He moved slowly so he could savor every single second as his dreams materialized into reality. Her depths sent chills through his body. Copper-tanned skin glided against olive skin drenched in sweat. She begged for more. It had been so long and he was perfect.
He gave into his instinct and moved at the speed of his desire. Everything else ceased to exist as ecstasy overtook consciousness. At that moment, there was nothing left to desire. Carlos clenched his teeth as her insides embraced him in trembling anticipation. What he repressed for his entire life, shot out of his body. It was far too soon. He howled, and Analís screamed along with him, digging her fingernails into his back until they drew blood. Startled by the high-pitched noise, the little butterfly on the flower flew away. Crystalline drops of joy trickled down the young man's cheeks in response to the fulfillment of his destiny.
Slowly and gently the tide of passion subsided, leaving Carlos riding the easy waves of post-coital bliss. For a while, Analís rode those waves with him. He peeked at her with a mischievous grin and slid down fully intending to bring her pleasure again. The realization of what she had just done finally hit home when he mumbled, "God finally answered my prayers." She looked up into her baby's eyes, and saw the bliss still there, stronger, than it was during the forbidden act itself. "What did you just say?" Analís felt her son's intense hunger and it made flesh crawl. Analís found herself sinking into the drowning waters of shame. He tried to silence her with another kiss, but she turned her face and pressed his away.
Carlos was puzzled and hurt by her reaction. "Didn't you enjoy it?"
"It doesn't matter how I felt." His words woke her up to the reality of what had just happened. "This despicable act had nothing to do with God!" She was as bad as her husband was and perhaps worse. She acknowledged that what she had done was wrong, before she went ahead and did it anyway. She pushed Carlos off and hastily rose to her feet. "What was I thinking?" She knew that the cloudy nightmare that dribbled down her legs was divine punishment.
Carlos felt even more nauseated than his mother did when he revealed that, "This was the most beautiful thing I've ever felt in my life." He could not understand her reaction at all. "Didn't you feel it too?" "You ought to know that evil often cloaks itself in beauty." A chill ran Carlos's down back at the sound of Analís's voice.