ï»¿Divide by Two"
by : Francisco Arcellana
"They have set down a line of adobe blocks, three blocks wide and two blocks deep, across the lawn between their cottage and ours," Belle said.
"Yes, I know" I said. I walked to the window and stood there, looking over at their cottage. The piano music from the cottage came strong and clear. "I was here this morning when he brought those blocks home" I peeled my shirt; it was soggy with sweatâ€¦" He carried the blocks in the baggage compartment of their car. It took him all three trips. He had three boys with him to help." I shook my shirt in the cooling air and walked to my room. "And I know where he got those blocks too. There is a ...view middle of the document...
I knew where my undershirts would be and it didn't take me long to find them with my hands. I pulled one out and was putting it on while I walked back to the sala between the book-closet and the bathroom, one arm through one armhole, half out of the sando shirt the neck of which I held open with my hands. I looked at Belle. "Come again, Belle?" I asked.
Belle said again the denunciatory words.
I got my head through the other armhole, got into my shirt. I walked on to the sala.I didn't know how tired I was until I fell back on the lounging chair.
Belle picked up the footstool, brought it near my chair and sat down. "The least thing they could have done is to tell us first about it".
I felt very tired and shut my eyes and didn't say anything.
"Don't you think they owed it to us?" Belle asked. "Out of regards for our feelings shouldn't they have asked us how we feel about a fence?"
The piano music threaded through the words like a leitmotif. "How is that again, Belle?" I asked.
"They have no regard for us", Belle said. "They don't care what we think. They don't think we feel. As far as they are concerned we are not human".
The piano came jubilantly threading through the words.
"Is that right, Belle?" I asked.
"Don't you think they should have at least gone to us and said: Look here, you! We are putting up this boundary, see? You keep to your side of these markers and we will keep to ours, understand?" Belle said.
"Do you really think that?" I asked.
"Yes I do", Belle said distinctly. "Don't you?"
"I don't know", I said. "I haven't thought about it".
"Well then", Belle said, "think about it. You can start thinking about it now".
I wondered why the words came ringing clear to me. Then I felt and sensed that the piano had been closed. Suddenly the night was silent. Suddenly the night was still.
I rose from the swinging chair. I walked to the globe traveler near the wall outlet, plugged the cord and snapped the lid open. Belle followed me. I was playing the range disk for music when Belle leaned forward and snapped the lid shut.
"What's the matter, Belle?" I said.
"There's nothing the matter", Belle said.
"Well, then get off", I said. "Get off them and get off me".
Belle was silent for a moment. "It is she", she said.
"What about her?" I asked.
"I don't think she likes me", Belle said.
"She doesn't like anyone", I said. "What makes you think so?"
"I have given her things", Belle said. "They don't seem to make an impression on her. I gave her cheese on her last birthday. She didn't even thank me".
"Why do you have to go around giving things for?" I asked. "Maybe she doesn't like cheese. Maybe cheese wasn't such a good idea".
"She doesn't like me", Belle said, "and she doesn't like anyone to like me. When he gave me flowers from her garden, I don't think she liked that".
"Who would?" I asked. "Maybe the flower wasn't such a good idea either".
"He was also being friendly as I was", Belle said.