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The Delvinico Triplet

The Delvinico Triplet
  Cathy Buburuz
varianta print

Cathy Buburuz



Publicat Sâmbătă, 16 Septembrie 2006, ora 09:14

      Back in the summer of 1956, when girls had ponytails and cars had chrome, I packed up my fishing rod, some sandwiches and beer, and headed for Caribou Canyon in my sky-blue Chevy, a gift from my dad on my seventeenth birthday. The car had seen its share of dusty gravel roads, judging by the many chips and scrapes on its body, but to a ponytail chaser like me it meant freedom and independence, drive-ins and fishing trips and, more importantly, backseat sex. Up until that day when Dad handed me the car key, on a Coca-Cola key chain, my sexual experience amounted to one playground hickey and an occasional French kiss at the Bijou Double Feature Movie House. But after the car, everything changed. Dramatically.

     

     

      As I cruised toward the canyon at speeds my father would have killed me for, a DJ with a laughing voice told me I could expect a record high and good music for the remainder of the day. So I cranked up the volume, cracked open a Pilsner with my teeth (a habit I've since abandoned after having my teeth capped) and headed in the direction of a fresh water lake so clean and clear you could watch the rainbow trout and pickerel follow your hook to its shore. Nestled in the arms of a thousand blue spruce, Clearwater Lake was a place of beauty, peace and quiet, and mystery.

     

      The area around the lake was a picturesque montage of feathery foxtails and pastels of fragrant wildflowers jutting our of silvery sand. I set my gear on a huge flat stone and spotted a squirrel a few feet away. It stood on its hind legs examining an acorn as though trying to decide whether or not the seed was worthy of storage. Apparently not. He dropped the acorn and scurried away. In the distance a loon cried and I felt as though I was the only person on the planet.

     

      Time passed quickly. Within four hours I'd caught about a dozen trout and a couple of pickerel. I'd forgotten my cooler so I returned the fish to the lake. I was halfway to the Chevy when I noticed a thin line of blue-gray smoke pushing its way upward through the pines like some thin wandering genie that seemed to motion, then beckon. I locked my gear in the trunk and headed toward the smoke. Perhaps it was a tourist's campfire or the chimney stack of an old trapper's cabin. I wasn't especially curious or interested, it was simply too early to go home.

     

     

     

      From the lake it seemed a distance of a mile or two but as I wandered further into the forest, over spongy moss and bulbous mushrooms, I realized that I had sorely underestimated the trek. About four miles in, I came to a clearing, a perfect square of waist-high grass surrounded on all sides by blue spruce, jackpine, chokecherry, mayberry, and the most spectacular vineyard I had ever seen. The twisted and knotted vines were heavy with silver-blue fruit that slithered up the sides of what appeared to be a giant white mushroom with chimney. Upon closer inspection I discovered that the dwelling was made out of smooth clay and straw. I was about to turn to leave when a very odd couple stepped out of the dark doorway onto the grass, their hands held high above their heads waving and flapping like birds. "Come, come," they chanted in eerie unison. "Come, come, come." Reluctantly I moved forward, half wondering if they meant me. They did.

     

      Through thin, dark crimson lips the frail and aged man introduced himself and his wife. "Tony and Maria Delvinco. From the Old Country. Been here a long time." Dressed in garb from another century, Tony looked like a half-starved backwoods undertaker. His equally thin wife wore a long silk gown that rustled like autumn leaves as she crossed the threshold of the hut.

     

      Mr. and Mrs. Delvinco were indeed strange but stranger still was the interior of their dwelling. Sliced in half by ebony curtains hung from brass hooks embedded in the roof, the little clay room resembled an alabaster half moon. All along the curved wall, from dirt floor to roof, were rows of ornate china cabinets with tiny glass doors. The shelves were filled with baby things, everything from dolls to rattles, bottles to diaper pins, a sort of baby museum. Or a memorial to a child. Maybe they were parents of a dead child.

     

     

      During a meal of venison, prepared on a potbellied stove, the couple chatted in broken English about their immigration to Caribou Canyon, the planting and tending of the vineyard from which they produced the finest wines, about their lonely but quiet existence, about their love for one another. But there was something unsaid. Something that hung in the air of the hut, something dark and heavy and forbidding, like the peculiar draperies that separated the known from the curiosity brewing on the other side.

     

      After several glasses of wine, I felt somewhat tipsy, more courageous. "The canyon is beautiful; it'd be a great place to raise a family. Do you have children?"

     

      "Just Triplet," Maria whispered in a voice so low that I wondered if I'd actually heard her speak. Her bony fingers fiddled with an edge of the intricately embroidered tablecloth that looked hilarious on the little red card table.

     

      Triplet. Surely she meant 'the triplets'. Or maybe she had given birth to triplets and two had since died. Or maybe her child's name was Triplet. Her broken English made it difficult to know her true meaning.

     

      "Come, we show you," Tony said as he rose from the table and wrapped his arm around the the shoulder of his thin wife. She looked worn and tired. It was as though she anticipated a hundred mile walk to show me her 'Triplet'. But Triplet was not far away. Triplet, sweet Triplet, occupied the room behind the curtain.

     

     

     

      Words cannot describe the horror that flooded my heart in that one paralyzed moment when my eyes were first filled with her. And it is even more difficult to relay how the horror transformed into deep rooted love that remains with me still.

     

      Asleep on her back, she wore an ankle length gown of white transparent gauze that did little to conceal the six shapely mounds that were her breasts. These, and the two extra heads perched upon each shoulder like exotic birds in unknown territory, were the most pronounced of her deformities. The others I shall not tell. Those secrets a man knows of his wife are best left untold.

     

© Copyright Cathy Buburuz
Sursa :   Imagikon
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