Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mothers & Sons, 20

The next evening Servi climbed the long flight of steps to Claudia’s flat. He had bought a fire engine for Paulo and a bouquet of daisies for Claudia. He imagined, with a little felicitous care, with the kind application of love, taken in common sense doses, as men and women and their children had done for centuries, he could fix the life of Claudia and Paulo. 

Wasn’t it all a simple exercise in the basics of human nature? The love of a mother for a son. This was as powerful a terrestrial force as gravity. It was what attracted him to Claudia, the firm manner in her bearing, her posture, the way she washed and dried a dish with absolute maternal authority. This was the type of love that must be pulled out along from its roots and removed from the detritus of less noble emotions.

Servi stopped short: Claudia’s door was open, but she was not making love to her husband, nor was Paulo on the floor, cutting out collages from a magazine on the living room floor. The flat was empty all but for some stray items: a pile of newspapers, a box of old clothes, two or three broken toys scattered in a corner. Servi rushed down to the concierge.

“Excuse me,” Servi asked the old woman in the lobby office with a mesh cage. “Has Claudia Sacerdotti moved? The woman in 13F?

“Moved?” the woman spat. “More like fled. She just packed up and ran in the middle of the night like she was wanted by the police. And she stiffed me for three months rent!”

“You don’t know where she went?”

“No,” the woman shot Servi an icy glare. “If I did, I’d make the bitch pay the back rent, wouldn’t I? And if it wasn’t for that rent, good riddance. Too many men coming and going. Two much screaming at that little boy. We don’t need that trash around here.”

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