Amparo’s Husband

Rosa introduced a man to me.
“This is Amparo’s husband”
she said.
We shook hands and grinned
at each other.

I  had met Amparo, a dark
handsome but unadorned
45 year old
mother of three`
some days earlier.
She was usually about the place
peeling vegetables,
helping her mother
attend to her father.

I knew her husband was away
for a while
(I had been told this much)
but I had not seen her
all that blistering day.

It was a thick Spanish night
hot and big as the plains
of La Mancha
which brought no breeze
other than red ovenlike breath
to this scented citrus grove.
A number of cousins, uncles and aunts
were assembled for supper,
their children placed and neatly indulged,
the aunts yelling with filled bosoms
and deeply sonorous senora voices,
bringing food to the little ones,
the uncles mumbling in chairs
or staring at their toes,
perhaps making an odd chess move
with a teenage nephew.

“This is Amparo’s husband”
Rosa said.
We shook hands and grinned
and as the man shook
I noticed that he barely concealed a hurt
behind his robust familial gusto.

“I am not just Amparo’s husband”
he said as jokingly as he could.
“My name is Balthazar.
I am Balthazar.”

He turned away
still laughing like
a tortured stag
and there was Amparo
wearing make-up
and a shorter dress.













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