A fictional tale of family, of love, of hatred, of dedication.
|There was a man.
Antonio visited his Aunt Amelia one day when the Second World War was in its heat in the Far East. He wanted to apologize.
"I am truly sorry for my father and for the terrible things he said to you."
"I was hurt at first, Tony; however, I thought more about it, and I have forgiven him."
Antonio burst into tears. For a young man to cry in front of a woman, it was unheard of in the little village of Molina. Men do not cry. Men do not apologize to women. It was crap, of course; and Amelia knew that. However, she was a woman of great talent, a graduate of the Deaf and Dumb University in another village north of Molina. She was not actually deaf nor dumb. She studied in that University because she wanted to be a teacher to children who were either deaf or dumb, at birth or through sickness. She graduated with high honors.
Norberto was Antonio's uncle, the man who married Amelia, and who brought Amelia to the Molina village. Norberto was the eldest of the five Pastrano family, of which Antontio's father, Benjamin, was the youngest. Throughout his young days, Norberto had a passion: to study hard at school, go to the University in the City, and become a soldier. He had this unshakeable love for his country, that while in the University he became known as the Patriot.
Benjamin, Antonio's father, had 10 children and was not able to afford to feed him and his two younger sisters. So he and Norberto made a pact; that Norberto would feed and clothe Antonio and his two sisters as well as send them to school. All through the years, Antonio treated his Uncle Norberto as his father. He grew up learning everything Norberto taught him, and even decided after graduating from high school, to become a soldier.
Through all those years, however, Benjamin realized he made a mistake giving his older brother the care of his three other children. However, he kept all the pain in his heart, to himself, and never did he say any word of hatred or jealousy to any one. He never complained to his wife nor to his brother; and not specially to his mom and dad. There were times when alone in the house, he would castigate himself, that there were days he had to cover his body completely to hide the lashes he gave himself.
The worst thing that actually happened was when Norberto went away with his Regiment for exercises in the Pacific, where he acquired a bride. And brought his bride, Amelia, to Molina. Benjamin felt so ashamed, lost his cool, and with such anger in him, he strode to Amelia's house. He did not go in the house though instead he screamed from outside her bedroom window and began abusing her. He called her names, cursed her, shouted all sorts of horrid words at her until his face turned almost on fire. His screams and curses went on for almost an hour; however, Amelia, who was in tears in her bedroom, stayed where she was. She covered her ears most of the time as she cried her tears. It was unfortunate that Benjamin decided to abuse her when Norberto was away to another Regimental exercise. However, all his children were present, and were practically ashamed for what their father decided to do.
When Antonio apologized to Amelia, he told her he was ready to leave, and join his unit to go to the frontline of the war. Amelia felt so sorry for him and tried to persuade him not to join his unit at that time. However, he gave Amelia a big hug, and left. For days Amelia prayed for his safety, and for him to return to Molina. It was one of those very warm days when Amelia decided to go to bed early, and while she slept she dreamed of Antonio. She awoke with fear in her heart, which she could not understand. A few weeks later, she received news that Antonio died in the frontline.