Separation of Books

"The Mayor traveled to the capital to visit his family," with a cynical smile, the attractive secretary of the border city's municipality informed those who asked about her boss or wished an appointment.

The red Blazer, driven at full speed by the young politician, who was accompanied by his chauffeur and a bodyguard, threaded its way down the main avenue of the capital and, after entering a residential neighborhood, it parked in front of an attractive home.

The man rang the doorbell nervously and when his wife opened the door, he asked, "Did you have them change the lock?"

"Yes," she said, looking at him without blinking.

He returned her gaze alternatingly while he said, "I'm here to get all my things."

"Then, come in," she said, letting him by.

The man walked slowly through the luxurious living room-dining room and stopped in front of the library.

In one row of books was written: Susana. In the other: Guillermo.

"I see you've already separated your books from mine."

"That's the way it is. I wanted to save time because you're always in a hurry with all your political activities," she said as she squatted down on the rug.

"Well, once again, you're wrong. I'm not in any hurry; the results of the elections are already in and I won it fair and square."

Later he observed his wife, more beautiful than ever in her sporty outfit, calmly seated, and he asked himself how he could separate from her.

An angora cat entered swishing and waving its tail as he approached his mistress, purring. Susana petted its belly and lifted into her arms.

Guillermo observed the library awhile longer, then suddenly exclaimed, "What are you doing with my books mixed in with yours?"

"Which ones?" she asked, without moving and without stopping petting the cat.

"The Shoes of the Fisherman," he responded.

"You gave it to me during our honeymoon in Rome; don't you remember that we read it together and after getting so excited about Cirilo Lakota, we decided to attend the papal meeting so we'd meet the first Polish pope?"

"Nonsense! Idiocies of a fool in love!"

"It's too late to be sorry. Everything was really beautiful while it lasted."

"You always feel too much, but think too little, just like all women."

Susana let the cat go, and he departed as swishingly as it came in.

"Ah! You're going to keep this book by Willa Cather, too?"

"You gave it to me on our first anniversary."

"Obviously I gave in to you too much."

"Maybe, but later you got rude, even violent."

"I did what I had to do to counteract your spoiled little girl whims."

"How could I make love to a man who everyone thinks is the father of his secretary's child, and who has a bed everywhere?"

Guillermo kicked the bookshelf and shouted:

"You're going to also keep A Leaf in the Storm?"

"Just a minute! You know good and well that I bought that book in the fair in the plaza, after I sold my first painting."

With a sharp gesture, he threw the rest of the books over the rug.

Susana sighed loudly.

Guillermos walked up to the windowsill and, his backed turned to her, he stayed a long while in silence. Suddenly, turned toward his wife, he said in a barely audible voice: "I didn't come to look for my things, but for you and the kids. Let's start over again." She straightened stiffly and responded:

"That's no longer possible. Everything ended when you let your ambition for power dominate you and you turned into a stranger to us."

"Then you consider me a stranger?"

"Yes. A total stranger. The children practically don't know who you are."

He fidgeted with his hands and there was another long silence. Then, he put the key over the piano and said, "When I come to visit you I'll ring the bell like any other stranger."

The way he slammed the door when he left made the glass rattle in the windows.

A very quick and discreet locksmith accompanied by the Mayor's bodyguard disarmed at midnight the lock that Susana had changed. The job finished, both men climbed up the stairs.

The following day, Susana, checked into a hospital due to a brutal blow, heard on the television the judge's decision in the border city.

"The honorable Mayor Guillermo Mujica was awarded custody of his minor children for having encountered his wife, in their very marriage bed, in the arms of a locksmith, according to a reliable source."