The Small Key

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The Small Key

By | September 2011
Page 1 of 5
THE SMALL KEY by Paz latorena It was very warm. The sun, up above a sky that was all blue and tremendous and beckoning to birds ever on the wing, shone bright as if determined to scorch everything under heaven, even the low, square nipa house that stood in unashamed relief against the gray green haze of grass and leaves. It was a lonely dwelling, located far from its neighbors, which were huddled close to one another as if for mutual comfort, it was flanked on both sides by tall, slender bamboo tress which rustled plaintively under a gentle wind. On the porch a woman past her early twenties stood regarding the scene before her with eyes made incurious by its familiarity. All around her the land stretched endlessly, it seemed, and vanished into the distance there were dark newly plowed furrows where in due time timorous seedlings would give rise to study stalks and golden grain, to a ripping yellow sea in the wind and sun during harvest time. Promise of plenty and reward for hard toil! With a sigh of discontent, however, the woman turned and entered a small dining room where a man sat over a belated midday meal. Pedro Buhay, a prosperous farmer, looked up from his plate and smiled at his wife as she stood framed by the doorway, the sunlight glinting on her dark hair, which was drawn back, without a relenting wave, from a rather prominent and austere brow. "Where are the shirts I ironed yesterday?" she asked as she approached the table. "In my trunk, I think" he answered. "Some of them need darning" and observing the empty plate, she added, "do you want some more rice?" "No" hastily, "I am in a hurry to get back. We must finish plowing the south field today because tomorrow is Sunday." Pedro pushed the chair back and stood up. Soledad began to pile the dirty dishes one on top of the other. "Here is the key to my trunk" from the pocket of his khaki coat he pulled a string of nondescript red, which held together a big shiny key and another small, rather rusty -...