She was almost 70 years old and the oldest in the neighborhood . She lived alone so, the children were a little afraid of her.
One morning, a gentleman in his fifties came to see her, he called himself « Monsieur Louis » and said he was Mademoiselle Rose's brother. He was really nice and easy going so, within a week he called everyone in the neighborhood by their first names.
Monsieur Louis was very fond of the bottle and spent his evenings in the company of young people.
On Saturday evening, after Mademoiselle Rose came home to sleep, Monsieur Louis went out in front of the house and sat down on a small chair with his bottle of rum, a little tipsy, with five or six young boys between 18 and 23 years old came to sit with him because Monsieur Louis always had a story they never heard of before from his younger days, and not once has he told a story twice within 8 weeks.
That day, one of the young people asked him:
⁃ “Why did your sister never get married?”
⁃ “It's a long story little one”, replied Monsieur Louis
⁃ “We have all night”, one of them said.
⁃ “I thought people here in Mariani liked to gossip about everyone ?“ He asked.
⁃ “Yes, but all we know is that she was heartbroken by a certain Adam.“ Replied one of them
⁃ “No, chuckled monsieur Louis, that is not quite the story. Let me break it down to you, guys.”
"It was a long time ago, Mademoiselle Rose was young, prettier than every girl here and ready for marriage; she had several suitors, but refused to give herself to any of them, she would say no man is worth her wasting her beautiful body to bear children, then wasting her time raising them, and cooking meals every day for an ungrateful man who sometimes won't even come to eat; do the laundry, clean a house for someone who, probably will have a younger mistress as soon as she appears abused by life. That was payback for most women and she didn’t want no part of it.
No, no man was worth it, no love is worth what women endure, not love from a husband, nor love from children. She wanted to be left alone, without a husband, until the end of her days.” »
⁃ “How did she get her heart broken, then?” Asked the younger boy
⁃ “You young people want everything to be so fast!” Exclaimed monsieur Louis,” I’m not done yet.”
« “There was a man, whom she said was her friend, he came to see her every day, so often that mom got tired of chaperoning them, his name was Adam, and he had become a friend of the whole family to such an extent that sometimes he was there to chaperone Rose and the other suitors. Adam was a nice, well-behaved, handsome boy and he slept with everything that moved, the rare times he didn't come home, it was because he was with a girl and Rose sometimes joked about it saying that 'he was busy with another who could give him what she wouldn’t. Still, Adam and Rose became very good friends, and shared almost the same philosophy regarding marriage, Adam wondered why devote his life to one girl when he could not get married and benefit from the favors of many?”
Three good years had passed, mom and dad gave up the idea of marrying Rose. I was just a child but many times I heard mom say that it would be good if Adam made up his mind to get married and quit come over to the house, and daddy told her that as soon as Adam is ready he's going to marry, men always say they'll never get married until they meet the woman of their life.
At the beginning of the fourth year, Mom fell ill and died a few weeks later. Pneumonia, we were told, I was 7 years old. Dad became inconsolable, stopped working, and eventually I realized that it was Adam who was feeding us at home.
Adam proposed to Rose because the locals started saying it was his way of paying Rose but she refused and said some gossips aren’t going to break her principles.
I think Rose discovered daddy's body in bed a couple of years later and Adam moved into the house two weeks after his funeral.
Rose and Adam kept separate rooms, and I never seen them together, not even once.
Adam was a civil servant, he traveled a few times but did not spend more than two nights away from the house. To help take care of me and the house, Rose started sewing for the people of the neighborhood. There were always people who came either to see Rose, or to ask Adam a favor in the house.
Adam was more like a father to me than a brother, he would take me to school, take me to my piano lessons, help me with homework, teach me how to woo girls and just like that 9 years had passed.
By the way, Rose is 16 years older than me. I had decided to join the military and I was only waiting until I was 18 to do so.
Once, I think I was 17, I caught them arguing: Adam wanted to get married and Rose kept her same beliefs. I heard Adam tell her that he wants to get married and that if she doesn't want to, he will marry someone else. And she replied that she didn't want to get married anyway and even if she wanted to she wasn't going to marry a womanizer like him. »
⁃ “Your sister is a bit strongheaded“
⁃ “You don’t know half of it, boy“,Answered monsieur Louis.
« “As I turned 18, Adam came home with Jacqueline, a young girl from the neighborhood, and told us that they were going to be married in his hometown of Tiburon in less than 6 months. They were congratulated and Rose helped with the wedding preparations down to the last detail but feigned a headache the day of the wedding. Adam made up his mind to stay in Tiburon and I rejoined the army, leaving Rose alone at home. She made a lot of money sewing back then so, I didn’t worry about her. When unfortunately two years later I came home from a gunshot wound during training,I found Adam at home as if he had never left. later that evening I learned that his wife had died in a difficult childbirth 10 months after their marriage and since then he had been at home. I fell into a depression, made friends with our rum and started hanging out at the local bar quite a bit. Four evenings out of seven Adam had to come and pick me up and almost carried me to bed. But one evening I started a fight with another local boy and left less than an hour after I got to the bar. I went home and straight into Rose's room to complain and I ran into Adam and Rose having sex. I was so shocked I left the room and the house. I spent two nights with a friend before I decided to go home.
On entering the house, I found them sitting in the dining room drinking coffee, I said hello to them and I insisted on speaking before explaining to them that I did not want to talk about what I saw and that it was was none of my business anyway. They seemed relieved instantly. I sat down on the table, drank some coffee and then I went to the beach.
Thirteen days after the incident Adam fell ill and died a few weeks later, we were told it was pneumonia, I was 21 years old.
Rose, looked like a ghost at home. She hardly spoke during the day, spent her days in the dining room drinking alcohol and her nights in the living room crying and talking about her regrets. She whimpered the same story every night: she should have agreed to marry Adam when he first asked her, She should not have let Adam marry Jacqueline, Adam was the only one who understood him and really accepted him, he was tenacious but she didn't want to have anything to do with him.
They had started with their romance only 5 months before his death and I believe that is what she regretted the most.
After two months, I had had enough of seeing her in this condition, I left the house and returned to my comrades by accepting a desk job in another department.
I came back every end of year for 10 years to make sure she was okay and I stopped coming when I got married because she hated my wife. »
⁃ “You never told us that you have a wife Monsieur Louis?” Wondered one of the boys
⁃ “I had one, She's been dead for almost 15 years now and I feel like I have mourned her already. So I came back to spend the rest of my life with my beloved sister,“ answered Monsieur Louis
⁃ “And why did she hate your wife?“one of them questioned.
⁃ “Well, I’m out of rum. And this story is too long to tell without another bottle” replied Monsieur Louis.