Divide By Wo Essay

3145 words - 13 pages

DIVIDE BY TWO: 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 into 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 sweat.“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 in my room.“And I know where he got those blocks, too. There is a ...view middle of the document...

“She is no Turk but she keeps playing the Turkish March,” Belle said.

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.

“It is unkind, inconsiderate, not neighborly, not nice,” Belle said

I stopped beneath the light in the narrow passage from the bedroom to the sala between the book-closets 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 armhole, got into the 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 foot stool, brought it near my chair and sat down.“The least thing they could have done was 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 the fence?” The piano music threaded through the words like 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 mind what 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 at least have 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 asked.

“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 now the words kept ringing clear to me. Then I felt and sensed that the piano had been stilled. Suddenly the night was silent, suddenly the air was still.

I rose from the lounging chair. I walked to the globe-traveler near the wall outlet, plugged the cord in and snapped the lid open. Belle followed me. I was playing the range disk for music when Belled leaned forward and snapped the lid shut.

“What’s the matter, Belle? I asked.
“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. Then: “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...

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