Luz Lanch de Bairacli Levy


The Silver Fox and other Stories
A collection of
 short stories

by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy


daughter of Juliette de Bairacli Levy.
Published online by Ash Tree Publishing

 


Obsession
by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007


The Silver Fox and other Stories - Table of Contents


Every Saturday, around sunset, my weekend neighbors drove by my house. Their silver Jeep was illuminated by the sun’s golden rays, coloring it a glorious shade of pale purple. They always drove by at the same time: half-past-five. From my balcony, I was able to see them descend into the valley below, stirring up big clouds of yellow dust.

Sometimes, very late at night, I was tempted to go outside and stand on the far end of our front porch to see if their light was still on.

One day, I walked with my dog as far as the turn to their private road. But then it began to rain very suddenly, so I whistled to my dog and ran home. That was as close as I had ever got to their house; even going that far demanded much courage from me. I was relieved once I reached my house, letting out a long sigh on entering through my front door. I should not push my luck too far, I thought, as I sat down, breathless, in the comfortable armchair.

I frequently watched the main road that leads to the neighboring town. At night, I could see its glittering lights sparkle in many colors, like tiny diamonds flashing in a fabulous jewel necklace That was where they lived, during the week, in that far-off fairyland.

On Sundays, they passed by, leaving our valley always at exactly the same time, and thereby ending their weekend stay. It was always just the two of them, him driving, and her sitting beside him silently, her long dark hair falling gently to her shoulders.

I made a point of staying at home on weekends, so as not to miss them as they drove by. I could not bear the thought of not knowing if they had come or not. It was a strange obsession that assailed my mind. I just had to know if they had come. I would only be at ease after having seen the silver Jeep pass by. I could not give an explanation as to what caused this obsession, but at the sight of that silver Jeep, my heart always leapt with joy, as if I was watching a miraculous spectacle. I would wait eagerly for the flash of silver as the Jeep turned in from the highway. An inexplicable pang of joy would hit me at the sight of the metallic vehicle driving up the hill – like a chariot of light launched from a lunar space station.

I found the soft golden rays illuminating the metallic body a breath taking sight! I always had to drop all that I was doing at the time and run out to the balcony to watch it descend into the valley below, which would be in shadow from the high mountain soaring above it. I felt compelled to stand at the far end of the balcony to get the last glimpse of the metallic gleam before it was swallowed up into the obscure darkness. Only then could I go back to my household obligations.

One Sunday in particular I remember the departure of the silver chariot carrying my imagination along with it. At half-past-five, it passed by my house right on time, making a strange rumbling sound as the heavy black tires climbed along the gravel road leading up from the valley. I dropped everything and ran outside to my front-porch to see it descend down the hill towards the busy highway.

I pictured them joining the long stream of flashing lights heading towards the city, stopping at a fancy restaurant along the way, having a light meal elegantly presented, then driving on into the city. Now that the traffic was not so heavy they would drive at a high speed, reaching their fine home in time to watch the nine o’clock news, switching on their magnificent television set placed in their exquisitely designed living room with long graceful curtains shielding out the night, creating a warm homely feeling.

She would go and change into something more comfortable than the usual long slacks she normally wears, not that I had ever seen her legs! I had always only seen her sitting upright in the front seat of the silver Jeep as they drove by. The man would recline back on the heavy leather couch facing the television. She would enter in light steps and sit tenderly beside him. Then they would dim the lights and relax peacefully in each others’ arms. . . .


“Mummy, the rice is burning! Can’t you smell it?” my eight-year-old daughter called out.
“I’m sorry,” I replied, “I’ll attend to it right away.” I was drawn back from the land of dreams.

“Something is burning,” my husband commented, walking into the kitchen
.
“It’s all right; all is under control,” I said smiling, still feeling a little numb and aloof. I must stop this silly obsession that is over-clouding my mind, I thought, attending to the burnt rice.

Nevertheless, with each passing weekend, it seemed to be getting more potent, rather than weaker. I was habitually drawn to the window to watch eagerly for the first glimpse of metallic silver, just as one would watch for the appearance of a rescuing vessel when stranded on a desolate island.

Then, one Saturday afternoon at five-thirty, I stood by the kitchen window preparing our evening meal, waiting to hear the familiar sound of the heavy wheels crushing the gravel. Six o’clock came, and yet no sign of them. I became impatient and snappy towards my family as home duties kept me away from the window. That night I had difficulty in falling asleep, as I kept listening for the familiar sound of the wheels rolling up the hill. Around midnight, I gave up.

The following morning I awoke early and ran outside to the balcony, in case they had passed by and I had somehow missed them, which was not likely, knowing myself as I do! I stood at the far end looking down upon the valley: The sun was rising slowly over the high mountains, filling the valley with a glorious golden light. I waited patiently for the golden rays to reach the bare patch in the pine forest, where I remembered once getting a glimpse of the silver Jeep through the pale green trees, but alas, there was no sign of it!

That Sunday was sheer torture, as I waited for time to tick on. At half-past-five, I went out to the balcony, and stood motionless, almost holding my breath as I waited. But again there was no sign of them. No flash of silver to light up the darkened valley, no familiar rumble on the gravel road.

They had disappeared, as suddenly as they had appeared two years earlier. I remember that first time: I was out in the garden, my attention was drawn by the unusual shade of silver. I watched them as they descended into the valley, and I’d kept on watching them ever since.

Now they were gone, maybe never to be seen again. But surely they would come back as usual next Saturday, and life could return to normal! Then the thought struck me: it meant a whole week, well almost a whole week – a whole six days, six unbearable days of anticipation and wonder. “I won’t be able to stand this,” I thought, pouring myself a large whiskey.

All that week they occupied my mind. But it was August; they might have gone away to some place for a holiday. Yes, that was it! They went away on a luxury liner, sailing the blue seas in great style, enjoying fine foods, and many pleasurable events, stopping off at enchanting ports, sightseeing, and roaming about carefree and gay. That thought filled me with envy, but it also set my mind at ease.

Another Saturday came and went, and there was still no sign of them. Nor on the following weekend. They have taken a long vacation, I thought, looking towards the shadowy valley enveiled in darkness as the sun went down behind the mountain. Four weeks went by and still no sign of them. They were constantly on my mind; I continuously pictured them in glorious settings, in various places on the globe.


Early one morning a farmer came by, leading two large cows. I knew that he kept them down in the valley. I ran outside and stopped him but then suddenly I felt ashamed for being so curious.

“Hello, good morning,” I said, “What lovely cows.”

“Thank you, Madame. Good day,” he said, and walked on down the road. I ran after him.

“Please, excuse me for keeping you, but do you happen to know by any chance. . .”

He looked at me perplexed. “Yes, Madame?” he asked standing still. “What is it that you wish to know?”

“Well you see, the people who live down in the valley, I mean on weekends only; they have a silver Jeep. . .”

“Yes?” he looked rather impatient.

“Do you happen to know why they have not been coming? For some time now,” I added, then I gave out a long sigh, having finally put my thoughts into words.

He looked surprised, then he asked, “Have you not heard what happened?”

“No,” I held my breath.

“They were killed, both of them, the man and the woman. The Jeep crashed into a truck while turning the curve, just before reaching the highway. Good day,” he then added, and went on his way, leading his cows towards the valley.

I stood there in shock. I had no idea of their tragic end. Now they were gone forever, never to be seen again. I felt a slight pang of relief mixed with guilt. I never even made their acquaintance, and yet they played such a substantial role in my life. I walked slowly back to my house, tears stinging my eyes and rolling down my cheeks.

 

by Luz Lancha de Bairacli Levy © 2007
for reprint permission, contact Ash Tree Publishing
PO Box 64 Woodstock NY 12498
or write to: wisewoman@herbshealing.com

 

 

Click here for more stories by Luz, daughter of Juliette de Bairacli Levy
The Silver Fox and other Stories - Table of Contents

 



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