Scene 1: Dining room
Narrator: the elder monzon was waiting for his wife to speak. He had finished breakfast and had just laid down the newspaper through which he had been glancing. Across the table, his wife played absently with a spoon. Her brows were knitted, but a half smile kept twitching on her lips. She was handsome, well-preserved woman and her husband was thinking, a great deal more clever than she allowed herself to appear. Doña Sofia: it is about chitong. He doesn’t want to continue the law course he is taking, the boy has a vocation, Celo. He wants to study for the priesthood. Celo Monzon: when did he speak to you?
Doña Sofia: about a month ago, the first time. But I told him to make sure. Last night, he said he was sure. Of course, you have noticed how devout he has been lately? Celo Monzon: (stands) well, I would have never expected it of him. Doña Sofia: (shooks her head) has he not always been quiet and reserved, even as a boy. Celo Monzon: yes, but not noticeablely of a religious temper. Doña Sofia:only because he did not understand then. He has taken a long time maturing Celo but I think it is for the best. Now he knows what really calls him, and he is really very sincere, are you glad? Celo Monzon: it is a career, like all the others. Did he say what seminary? Doña Sofia: We can talk about that over later on. He was afraid you would refuse. Celo Monzon: what does he take me for? A heretic?
(servant enters, and cleared the table)
Doña Sofia: (stood and followed Celo Monzon to the sala)
Scene 2: Sala/Living room
Doña Sofia: Celo, when are you going to see your father? Nena called up last night. She was crying. She says she can do nothing with the old man. Your cousin Paulo is not there anymore to help her. It seems the old man broke a plate on his head. Celo Monzon: (left hand, placing a hat on. Right hand, on the door knob. He then paused and looked very old and tired) Doña Sofia: (goes nearer to cello and placed a hand on his shoulder) why will you not let him have his woman again, Celo? He does not have very long live. Celo Monzon: (stared at sofia fiercely and angrily) Please do not be vulgar, Sofia.(he growled) Doña Sofia: (forceful smile)
Narrator: For all the years they have lived together, he was still startled by a certain nakedness in his wife’s mind; in the mind of all women, for that matter. You took them for what they appeared; shy, reticent, bred by nuns, but after marriage, though they continued to look demure, there was always in their attitude toward sex, an amused irony, even a deliberate coarseness, such as he could never allow himself, even in his own mind or with other men. Doña Sofia: well (removed her hand on celo’s shoulder) he has certainly become wild since you drove that woman away. Nena says he refuses to eat. He takes what is served to him and throws it to the floor, plates and everything. He lies awake the whole night roaring like a lion. Yesterday, Nena said, he tried to get up. She was outside and not hear him. When she came in, there he lay on the floor, all tangled up in his blankets, out of breath, and crying to the heavens. She called in Paulo to get him in bed again, and he grabbed a plate and broke it on poor Paulo’s head. Narrator: Monzon did not look at his wife’s face; he knew very well what he would see. He stared at his hands, huge, calloused, and ugly, and he was a little boy that cowered beneath them and the whip they held. FLASHBACK: (celo’s father) “lie down, you little beast! Lie down, beast!” (Celo) “not in the face father!, Do not hit me in the face, father!” (Celo’s father) “I will hit you where the thunder I want to. I will teach my sons to answer back. Lie down, you beast!” Celo Monzon: (stared at his hands)
Doña Sofia: your father never could live without a women. And now you have driven that one away. It is death by torture. Celo Monzon: you certainly could choose your words. You know very well what the doctor said....