A Story of Hate and Love

Sandra wept inconsolably into her pillow. Sad memories returned to her mind, deepening her grief and taking her breath away. Her stepfather would wake her up at 6 a.m. to clean the entire house before she left for school. On her knees, polishing the floor with a cloth, until it was dry. If she didn’t he would beat her savagely. She didn’t understand why he hated her and mistreated her so. She was then only 16 years old.

As she cried quietly, dark thoughts filled her head. She wished that her stepfather would die. How many times had she asked God to let him die in an accident or of an incurable cancer? That was the only thing she could do in her impotence. The Almighty did not oblige. Her stepfather always returned and continued to make her life miserable.

Isabel, her mother, knew that her daughter cried in the locked room; she suffered along with her but said nothing. She could not contradict Pedro. They had been married for 15 years, and had two daughters together. Sandra was the offspring of her first relationship, and Pedro had helped raise her since she was five. Isabel was grateful to this merciless, dim-witted man, who married her and took her out of a difficult situation in the Sierra Maestra Mountains.

One night, when everyone was asleep, Sandra slowly and silently opened the front door and ran until her feet couldn’t take any more. A truck startled her. She was far from home and the lonely highway reminded her of stories of assaults that had occurred in the area. Fear made her hide in the tall grasses. She could not believe what her anger had pushed her to do. She felt so sorry for herself that once again cried inconsolably.

She thought about jumping in front of one of those fast cars. But she would be crushed and her mother wouldn’t recognize her. With a piece of glass she found on the road, she scratched her wrists. She wanted to go into a deep sleep and never wake up. But she didn’t make much of a scratch. She realized that she didn’t have enough courage to end her suffering existence.

She needed someone to listen to her. She heard music coming from Laura’s house and she dared to knock on the door, despite the lateness of the hour. Laura was surprised to see her. Sandra fell into her arms, crying. After drinking a glass of water and telling her sad story, she accepted a drink of rum. One, two, three …, now she was dizzy, everything was spinning. She felt as if Laura was undressing her, fondling her breasts and kissing her.

Everything went black. She awoke with a terrible headache. She was completely naked and alone in the house. She had only vague memories, and could not understand anything. She had decided not to go back, she couldn’t bear to face her stepfather. Laura appeared, and surprised her with a kiss on the lips. She was now thinking clearly, but was not sure what had happened between the two of them hours earlier.

Laura was an independent woman, who had been living alone for a year after her divorce. Sandra had known her since high school. She had been aware of the special way she treated her, but not to the extent of suspecting that she was in love with her. In these circumstances, she had to choose between the despotic abuse of her stepfather or the emotional stability and love that her friend offered her.

A month later she was completely changed. In her face the will to live was apparent. Freedom was in her hands. She was in charge of her own life. She kissed anyone she wanted or who wanted her, no matter the sex. She was like she really wanted to be and now there was no one to stop her.

Five years later, Laura and Sandra, two lesbian professionals, are a happy and stable couple. They await the response of the Spanish Embassy to travel with an employment contract. They both know they need only a one-way ticket.

Laritza Diversent

Photo: Two nude women, by Pablo Picasso, painted in Paris in November 1945.

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