The Ofi Press Magazine

International Poetry and Fiction from Mexico City

New Fiction: Story by Emma Whitehall

By Emma Whitehall (UK)

Published in Issue 30. The North East Special Edition: Displacement (Part 2).

Waiting 

Do you know how hard I tried not to love you? Even now, I don’t think you realise quite how many formal events I spent in dire fear of embarrassing myself – my napkin or theatre program crumpled in my hand, nails digging into the paper to stop myself reaching for you.

Even after you knew, and I had a willing ear to blurt my adoring, clumsy endearments into, every time our families held some dinner or another, you would catch my eye while playing the piano as your sister sang, and smile at me – the barely repressed giggle of a girl with a secret - and I’d blush and look away, try to hide the bliss I felt. It wasn’t the proper way for young ladies to behave. Not then.

So, in hallways and quiet moments, we’d press our hands together, cheek to cheek, and whisper the half-mad promises and declarations of youth in love. As you sat at the piano in your aunt’s home, my fingers would idle through your blue-black hair. Do you remember the one and only time you tried to teach me? Even though you giggled at my useless fingers stumbling across the keys, when you applauded my efforts I wouldn’t have been happier on a stage in front of thousands.

Not long after your aunt passed, and you inherited her home, you paced your room; turning over plan after plan, story after story in your head, trying to work out a respectable reason for us to live together, alone. I crossed the room in a flurry of skirts, caught your arm, and told you I would wait, for as long as it took, for us to be together. I’d waited this long, after all. You smiled, with tears in your eyes, and from your jewellery box took a pretty silver locket on a chain and clasped it around my neck.

“I can’t give you a ring, but this will be just as fitting.”

I don’t remember what happened as I left your house. A flash of pain as my back hit a wall, or perhaps the floor, something sharp in my side, the hot stickiness of blood…the world fading to black.

You never left the house. You went on to do so many concerts, earned so much money…yet you never left the little house where we last were together. I drift from room to room on the memories that we made, the memories we never had a chance to make. I watch you with your nephew’s children, all smiles and presents. And once they’re gone, I watch you sit at the piano, and play into the silence. My locket rests on your dresser, and as you look at it tears threaten to fall. Incorporeal, my fingers try to brush them away, to stroke the silver threads in your hair – you are still beautiful to me – and drift across the lips I never kissed. I’m still here with you, always. I’m still waiting, my love.

 

About the author

Emma Whitehall is a writer and performer based in the North East of England. She specialises in Flash Fiction - fiction of fewer than 1,000 words - with a Weird and dark fantasy twist. She has been published in UK literary magazines such as Alliterati, Short Word, and the North East magazine Material. She recently released her first collection of fiction and poetry, “Kallisto’s Tales”, which can be found by searching lulu.com or at her website, www.kallistotales.m1inet.co.uk

 

The translator, Adam Fry is from the UK and currently lives in Mexico where is the education officer for The Clipperton Project. Adam is a Newcastle University graduate.

Esperando

Traducción por Adam Fry

 ¿Sabes tanto trataba de no amarte? Hasta hoy, no creo que te des cuenta de todos los eventos formales que pasaba con este miedo terrible de avergonzarme – mi pañuelo o folleto del teatro arrugado en mi mano, mis unas agarrando el papel para pararme de tocarte.

Hasta después de que te dieras cuenta, y tenía alguien a quien decir mis frases torpes y cariñosas, cada vez que nuestras familias organizaba alguna cena, atraías mi mirada y me sonreías mientras tu tocabas el piano y tú hermana cantaba – la risita apenas escondida de una chica con un secreto – y me ruborizaba y voltearme, intentar a esconder la alegría que sentía. No era la manera apropiada para una mujer joven de comportar. No en aquellos tiempos.

Entonces, en pasillos y momentos tranquilos, nos agarrábamos de mano a mano, mejilla con mejilla, y susurrar las promesas locas y declaraciones de la juventud enamorada. Cuando te sentías al piano en la casa de tu tía, mis dedos acarician su pelo negro-azul. ¿Te acuerdas de la única vez que tratabas de ensenarme? No importa que te reías de mis dedos inútiles arrastrando las teclas, cuando me aplaudió no hubiera estado más feliz en frente de miles de personas.

Un poco después de que tu tía falleció, después de que heredaste su casa, caminabas en tu cuarto, pensando y pensando en pretextos en tu cabeza, intentando a pensar en una razón decente de poder vivir juntos, solos. Cruce el cuarto, la tela de mi falda ondulada, agarre tu brazo y te dije que esperaba, tanto como fuera necesario, para que estuviéramos juntos. Había esperado tanto de todos modos. Sonreíste, con lágrimas en los ojos, y de la caja de joyas sacaste una cadena con un hermoso medallón de plata y me la pusiste en el cuello.

 “No te puedo dar un anillo pero esto será adecuado”

No me acuerdo que me paso cuando me fui de tu casa. Una sacudida cuando mi espalda se golpeó con la pared, o quizás el suelo, algo filoso en mi lateral, la sensación pegajosa y caliente de la sangre.

Nunca te fuiste de la casa. Después dabas tantos conciertos, ganabas tanto dinero…y todavía no te fuiste de la casa pequeña donde por última vez estuvimos juntos. Floto de cuarto a cuarto sobre las memorias que compartimos, las memorias que nunca tuvimos chance de hacer. Te miro con los hijos de tu sobrino, puras sonrisas y regalos. Y cuando se van, te miro sentado al piano, tocando en el silencio. Mi medallón todavía queda sobre tu cómoda, las lágrimas casi se caen en cuanto la mires. Incorporal, mis dedos tratan de enjugarlas, a acariciar los rayos plateados de tu cabello – todavía te veo bello – y acarician los labios que nunca bese. Estoy contigo, siempre. Todavía espero, mi amor.