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LIVE LAUGH LOVE: July 2022

At 85,I vividly remember that day

It’s a Saturday afternoon in July 1986. I’m at home in High Bridge, New Jersey and it’s hot. Hot and sticky—and the lazy fan is not making a dent in the withering heat. I’m at the dining table writing the semi-annual report for the bank I work for, but it’s difficult because my deep-fried brain is stalled like an overheated jalopy.


The only thing I can think of is how good a cigarette would taste right now. My future husband and I are newly together and Jacques says he doesn’t like kissing an ashtray, so I quit smoking. I know my lungs will thank me for it.


My hair is sticking to the sides of my face and neck, so I go and get a hairbrush. Returning to the table, I brush my hair and pull it up onto the top of my head into a ponytail and put a band around it. Slight relief. Not a lot. I put the brush on the table and prod my brain to write. But my brain is urging my mouth to continue begging for a cigarette.


My mouth wants something, anything—mostly a cigarette—so I go into the kitchen and take a ripe peach from the bowl on the counter. I also grab a dish towel to protect my white linen shirt and pants.


Just as I sit back down and take a bite of that juicy peach, I hear the screen door open and shut and I listen to Jacques’ footsteps as he walks through the kitchen. My heart was aware of him even before he shut the screen door and it’s throbbing in my chest. He peeks into the dining room and that handsome smile lights up his face and his mesmerizing, cornflower blue eyes seize mine. I feel like a schoolgirl with my first crush, and I giggle a little.


Smelling of masculine sweat and freshly mowed grass, Jacques leans over my chair and kisses me on my peachy, juiced-up lips. Then he wordlessly takes the band out of my hair, picks up the hairbrush, and begins brushing my hair. I take another bite of the peach; the towel slips off me and peach juice runs down my chin onto my white linen pants. I don’t care. As he slowly and tenderly brushes my hair, I lean back against the chair and give myself over to the sensation in my scalp. The peach rolls out of my hand and plops on the floor. Jacques could shave my whole head and I wouldn’t stop him.


I forget about a cigarette.


A los 85 años, recuerdo claramente ese día

Por Ellen Wood

Es una tarde de sábado del mes de julio de 1986. Estoy en mi casa de High Bridge, Nueva Jersey, y hace calor. Se siente caliente y pegajoso —y el ventilador, perezoso, no hace nada para aliviar el tremendo bochorno. Estoy en la mesa del comedor escribiendo el informe semi anual del banco para el que trabajo, pero es difícil porque mi cerebro frito está trabado como el motor de un coche recalentado.


Solo puedo pensar es en lo bien que sabría un cigarrillo en este momento. Mi futuro esposo y yo acabamos de empezar nuestra relación, y Jacques dice que no le gusta besar un cenicero, así que dejé de fumar. Sé que los pulmones me lo agradecerán.


El cabello se me pega a los lados de la cara y el cuello, así que voy a buscar un cepillo. Al regresar a la mesa, me cepillo el pelo, me lo recojo en la parte superior de la cabeza en una cola de caballo y lo rodeo con una banda. Esto me produce un ligero alivio. No mucho. Dejo el cepillo sobre la mesa y animo al cerebro para que escriba. Pero el cerebro insta a la boca a seguir suplicando un cigarrillo.


Mi boca quiere algo, cualquier cosa —especialmente un cigarrillo— así que voy a la cocina y tomo un melocotón maduro de la bandeja que está en el mostrador. También tomo un paño de cocina para proteger mi camisa y mis pantalones de lino blanco.


Justo cuando vuelvo a sentarme y le doy un mordisco a ese jugoso melocotón, escucho que la puerta mosquitera se abre y se cierra y oigo los pasos de Jacques mientras camina por la cocina. Mi corazón estaba consciente de él incluso antes de que cerrara la puerta y late con fuerza en mi pecho. Jacques se asoma al comedor y una hermosa sonrisa le ilumina el rostro. Sus fascinantes ojos azul aciano se apoderan de los míos. Me siento como una colegiala con mi primer amor y dejo escapar una risita.


Oliendo a sudor masculino y a hierba recién cortada, Jacques se inclina sobre mi silla y me besa en los labios, que tengo jugosos y con sabor a melocotón. Luego, en silencio, me quita la banda del cabello, toma el cepillo y comienza a cepillarme el cabello. Le doy otro mordisco al melocotón; la toalla se me resbala y el jugo de melocotón me corre por la barbilla hasta los pantalones de lino blanco. No me importa. Mientras Jacques me cepilla el cabello lenta y tiernamente, me recuesto en la silla y me entrego a las sensaciones que me pasan por el cuero cabelludo. El melocotón cae de mi mano al suelo. Jacques podría afeitarme toda la cabeza y no lo detendría.


Traducido por Teresa Dovalpage

Author

  • Ellen Wood

    Ellen Wood, born in 1936, is a prizewinning author, columnist and former management executive. After her youngest child began school, Ellen started an in-house ad agency and won 16 awards for annual report and advertising excellence, including 4 national awards. Five years after her mother died of Alzheimer’s, Ellen experienced early symptoms (she has the gene, APO-e4). At 68 she developed a program of mind/body/spirit techniques that proved so successful, she wrote and published “Think and Grow Young,” followed by “Joy! Joy! Joy!” (now retitled “The Secret Method for Growing Younger,” Volumes 1 and 2) and gave inspirational speeches. Since 2018 Ellen has been the ad agency for NorthStar Tire and Auto in Questa, NM. Ellen started painting in November of 2020, having dabbled at it in her 20s, and gave herself a new name: Maruška, her father’s middle name. She is overjoyed to be part of a big, loving, kindhearted family. You can find her paintings at www.northernnewmexicoartists.com/ellen-wood