ï»¿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.
â€œYes, I know,â€ 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.â€œI was here this morning when he brought those blocks home.â€I peeled my shirt; it was soggy with sweat.â€œHe carried the blocks in the baggage compartment of their car. It took him all three trips. He had three boys with him to help.â€I shook my shirt in the cooling air and walked in my room.â€œAnd I know where he got those blocks, too. There is a ...view middle of the document...
â€œShe is no Turk but she keeps playing the Turkish March,â€ Belle said.
I knew where my undershirts would be and it didnâ€™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.
â€œIt is unkind, inconsiderate, not neighborly, not nice,â€ 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.â€œCome again, Belle?â€ 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 didnâ€™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.â€œThe least thing they could have done was to tell us first about it.â€
I felt very tired and shut my eyes and didnâ€™t say anything.
â€œDonâ€™t you think they owed it to us?â€ Belle asked.â€œOut of regards for our feelings shouldnâ€™t they have asked us how we feel about the fence?â€ The piano music threaded through the words like leitmotif.
â€œHow is that again, Belle?â€ I asked.
â€œThey have no regard for us,â€ Belle said.â€œThey donâ€™t care what we think. They donâ€™t mind what we feel. As far as they are concerned, we are not human.â€
The piano came jubilantly threading through the words.
â€œIs that right, Belle?â€ I asked.
â€œDonâ€™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?â€Belle asked.
â€œDo you really think that?â€I asked.
â€œYes, I do,â€ Belle said. â€œDistinctly, donâ€™t you?â€
â€œI donâ€™t know.â€I said. â€œI havenâ€™t thought about it.â€
â€œWell, then,â€ Belle said, â€œthink about it. You can start thinking about it now.â€
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.
â€œWhatâ€™s the matter, Belle? I asked.
â€œThereâ€™s nothing the matter.â€Belle said.
â€œWell, then get off,â€ I said. â€œGet off them and get off me.â€
Belle was silent for a moment. Then: â€œIt is she,â€ she said.
â€œWhat about her?â€ I asked.
â€œI donâ€™t think she likes me,â€ Belle said.
â€œShe doesnâ€™t like anyone,â€ I said. â€œWhat makes you think so?â€
â€œI have given her things.â€ Belle said. â€œThey donâ€™t seem to make an impression on her. I gave her cheese on her last birthday. She didnâ€™t even thank...