Unannounced (II)

by The Juicer

Continued from here.

Part II

     We moved to Tulla so we wouldn’t have to pay rent. Aunt Beth owns a coffee farm that Ma now supervised, while I waited for us to save up enough money for college. Tulla was smaller – it was impossible to get lost. We hardly saw the army here or the shiny new cars. I had no friends but Ma kept me busy with errands. Sometimes, I liked being here, especially in the mornings. Sitting out on our front porch with Aunt Beth and Ma and looking at the valley below. The way cottony mist hung about as the sun filtered through it, yellowing the red roofs. Soft cattle bells mingling with dull hooves. The hills changing color through the day, fading into cool shadows at night.

     I told my friends in Bogota that I was on a short vacation on a beautiful farm, that we’d just discovered our family had old money. Acres and acres of land that grew more lush with coffee crop every year. Ma overheard me talking to Cecilia once and from the look on her face, didn’t like it. But she just shook her head and closed the bedroom door in a hurry. Ma seemed less and less bothered with what I talked about with my friends. They were miles away anyway.

     “Aunt Beth makes the best tinto, right Ma?” There were four of us gazing at the valley today.
     “Yes. She hasn’t taught me the secret yet.” Ma was bringing her brightest yellow cups to the porch. Red flowery mats covered the old rickety table. It was all too much. Ma liked playing host.
     “I love Colombian coffee. Somehow it never tastes this good back where I come from.” Gerrard was moving the coffee cups here and there, no doubt making a show of helping Ma.
     “That’s because it’s not Colombia back there!” Ma laughed. Her English had improved, I noticed. I was beginning to notice something else – she liked Gerrard.

     Gerrard reached for his coffee and smiled at me. It had been like this since yesterday. Ma and Gerrard, talking. Gerrard helping Ma in the kitchen, setting the table. Gerrard pouring wine for everyone last night and now coffee. Aunt Beth grunting or nodding when not telling Ma which crockery or silver set to bring out. Gerrard looking at me from the corner of his eye, when no one else noticed. The sounds of Tulla, receding.

*To be continued*

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