بخش 06

کتاب: ملت عشق / فصل 6

بخش 06

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متن انگلیسی فصل

Ella

NORTHAMPTON, MAY 18, 2008

Bested by the tension that followed the argument with David and Jeannette, Ella was so drained she had to stop reading Sweet Blasphemy for a while. She felt as though the lid of a boiling cauldron had suddenly been lifted, emitting old conflicts and new resentments in the rising steam. Unfortunately, it was no one other than she who had lifted that lid. And she had done it by dialing Scott’s number and asking him not to marry her daughter.

Later in her life, she would deeply regret everything she’d uttered during this phone conversation. But on this day in May, she was so sure of herself and the ground beneath her feet that she could not for the life of her fathom any dire consequences from her intrusion.

“Hi, Scott. This is Jeannette’s mom, Ella,” she said, trying to sound jovial, as if calling her daughter’s boyfriend were something she did all the time. “Do you have a minute to talk?” “Mrs. Rubinstein, how may I help you?” Scott stammered, surprised but ever so civilized.

And in a no-less-civilized tone, Ella told him that although she had nothing against him personally, he was too young and inexperienced to marry her daughter. Upset as he might be to receive this call now, she added, someday in the not-so-distant future he would understand and even thank her for warning him in time. Until then she asked him to kindly drop the subject of marriage and to keep this phone conversation between the two of them.

There was a thick, dense silence.

“Mrs. Rubinstein, I don’t think you understand,” Scott said when he finally found his voice. “Jeannette and I love each other.”

There it was again! How could people be naïve enough to expect love to open every door for them? They looked at love as if it were a magic wand that could fix everything with one miraculous touch.

But Ella didn’t say any of this. Instead she said, “I understand how you feel, believe me, I do. But you are too young and life is long. Who knows? Tomorrow you might fall in love with someone else.” “Mrs. Rubinstein, I don’t want to be rude, but don’t you think the same rule applies to everyone, including yourself? Who knows? Tomorrow you, too, might fall in love with someone else.” Ella chuckled, louder and longer than she intended.

“I’m a married woman. I’ve made a choice for a lifetime. So did my husband. And that’s exactly my point. Marriage is a serious decision, which needs to be considered very carefully.” “Are you telling me not to marry your daughter, who I love, because I might love an unidentified other in an indefinite future?” Scott demanded.

The conversation went downhill from there, filled with distress and disappointment. When they finally hung up, Ella headed to the kitchen and did what she always did at times of emotional unrest: She cooked.

Half an hour later, she received a call from her husband.

“I can’t believe you called Scott to ask him not to marry our daughter. Tell me you didn’t do this.”

Ella gasped. “Wow, word gets out fast. Honey, let me explain.”

But David interjected tensely, “There is nothing to explain. What you did was wrong. Scott told Jeannette, and now she’s extremely upset. She’ll be staying with her friends for a few days. She doesn’t want to see you right now.” He paused briefly. “And I don’t blame her.” That evening Jeannette wasn’t the only one who didn’t come home. David sent Ella a text message informing her of a sudden emergency that had arisen. There was no explanation as to the nature of the emergency.

It was so unlike him and against the spirit of their marriage. He might flirt with woman after woman, could even sleep with them and spend his money on them for all she knew, but he had always come home and taken his place at the table in the evenings. No matter how deep the rift between them, she always cooked and he always ate, gladly and gratefully, whatever she put on his plate. At the end of each dinner, David never failed to thank her—a heartfelt thank-you that she always took to be a coded apology for his infidelities. She forgave him. She always did.

This was the first time her husband had acted this brazen, and Ella blamed herself for the change. But then again, “guilt” was Ella Rubinstein’s middle name.

When she sat at the table with her twins, Ella’s guilt gave way to melancholy. She resisted Avi’s pleas to order pizza and Orly’s attempts not to eat anything, forcing them to munch on wild rice with green peas and roast beef with mustard glaze. And although on the surface she was the same hands-on, concerned mother, she felt a surge of despair rise in her, a sharp taste in her mouth, sour like bile.

When dinner was over, Ella sat at the kitchen table on her own, finding the stillness around her heavy and unsettling. Suddenly the food she had cooked, the outcome of hours of hard work, seemed not only dull and boring but easily replaceable. She felt sorry for herself. It was a pity that, at almost forty, she hadn’t been able to make more of her life. She had so much love to give and yet no one demanding it.

Her thoughts turned to Sweet Blasphemy. She was intrigued by the character of Shams of Tabriz.

“It could be nice to have someone like him around,” she joked to herself. “Never a dull day with a guy like him!”

And somehow the image that popped up in her mind was of a tall, dark-looking, mysterious man with leather pants, a motorcycle jacket, and black hair that fell to his shoulders, riding a shiny red Harley-Davidson with multicolored tassels hanging from the handlebars. She smiled at the image. A handsome, s@xy, Sufi motorcyclist riding fast on an empty highway! Wouldn’t it be nice to get picked up while hitchhiking by a guy like that?

Ella then wondered what Shams would see if he read her palm. Would he explain to her why her mind turned from time to time into a coven of dark thoughts? Or how come she felt so lonely even though she had a large, loving family? What about the colors in her aura? Were they bright and bold? Had anything in her life been bright and bold lately? Or ever?

It was then and there, while sitting alone at the kitchen table with only a faint glimmer of light from the oven, that Ella realized that despite her high-flying words denying it, and despite her ability to keep a stiff upper lip, deep inside she longed for love.

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