An old woman or the last betrayal

by Carol Stampone

Who to blame? My eyes? My eyes were lying to me. They did not help me to see all the words anymore, even with the glasses. Still, I knew that I only had myself, so I did not give up. I know that I
was wrong. I should have stopped driving when my eyes starting to betray me. I did not.
Probably because I am use to betrayal. My mother was the first one to betray me. First with that little lie, “ice cream for you, my sweet pie”. I loved ice cream and Mother knew it. It had been a tough day for her. She wanted to protect me. So the offer of ice cream. But we had no ice cream. How mother could offer something that she did not have? Old habit, her whole life had been like that. Always offering what she did not have: extra blanket, unconditional love, ice cream, more time. That evening, after dinner, mother gave me cream, with that fake smile. Fake smile to offer fake ice cream. I was only four years old, but I could see that something was wrong.
_ Where is Dad?
_ He went to buy more ice cream, for you, my sweet pie.
I tried the fake ice cream and I figure out pretty fast that it was the stuff that father like to have with his coffee, and Mother use to say that it wasn't healthy to have so much fat every day. He uses to nod and to have it anyway. Then, he use to leave and he just came back some time when I was already sleeping.
But that evening Dad did not show up. Neither the next day or the next or the next. Weeks, months, years went by and Dad did not come back.
The truth is that I never saw Dad again. After a while, I stopped waiting for him. But Mother never stopped waiting. She couldn't. Each day that she waited she disappeared a bit more. First she lost weight. The big ass and the legs, that before looked like two strong trees, disappeared first. Later was the time of her fluffy arms. Her belly went inside. At last, her face started to disappear. In the end she was a dead-alive. She lost her joy, she forgot the meaning of a dream, she forgot her plants and our cat. Somewhere in the middle, she also forgot me.
When I was fifteen Mother left me, for good. I came back from school and Mother was on her chair, cold, her eyes open, still waiting for the return of Dad.
During Mother's funeral I heard, for the first time, about Dad's disappearance. There were no prove, but a strong probability that Dad had being killed. If by one of the 'betrayed husbands' or if by one of his illicit business colleagues, no one knew.
Grandma said that she would take care of me. I believed her. But then, I was so empty that I decided to let John touch me. Maybe I would feel something. John said that he loved me and that he wanted to have something special to remember me, to remember us. I knew that it was a lie, but I desperately needed to feel something. Anything. So I said “yeah, go ahead, but bring me some ice cream before you start it, some real ice cream, no cream”. He ran to the grocery store and came back all sweaty. I didn't care. I ate chocolate and vanilla ice cream while he put a baby inside me.
When my belly started to get bigger and bigger Grandma said that I was a bad girl and that I need to leave. I had being betrayed again. She had told that she would take care of me.
I waited the months that the baby needed to become a proper person and I made force to put him out. The nurse told me that it was a boy. She asked what was his name. I didn't know. I decide to give him no name. I gave him away. I was unable to love. I need to let him go. During a few nights I thought about his destiny. Then I decide that it was better to forget about it and let him go.
I grow old, alone. I survived. I took care of myself. I never ever let anyone get too close again. If it was just me there would be no space for betrayal, for tragedy. Right? It is always the others who brings tragedy to our lives.
I could never imagine that my own eyes would bring me my final tragedy. I did not see him. When I stepped on the brake it was already too late. His body was still warm, but there were no life inside it. He was gone. I had killed a stranger. My eyes had betrayed me, and now, a stranger did not exist anymore.  


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