We Have Been Called

We have been called
Noel set the phone in its cradle. He sat on the edge of their bed. “We have been called. It’s them.”
Adela petted Clotilde and tossed her Lydia’s green ball. They rose and walked outside. Clotilde burrowed her snout into the spot just outside their door where Adela has seen her bury a goat’s hoof yesterday afternoon. She’d brought four goat’s hoofs home on four successive days, and buried them all over Matilde’s yard. Adela was glad she had a private dog life and yet, could curl beside her when she settled in the rocker in Noel’s studio to half doze with Pulgarcito.
“We’ve got to tell them I’m pregnant.” Noel slid behind the driver’s wheel of Adela’s Oldsmobile. Clotilde followed her into the car.
“They won’t like us showing up with a dog.”
Adela shrugged. “Good cover. We’ll look so normal.”
She scanned the street up and down and watched look up and down the block for his shadow big blue car before starting the car. “Not there. How do you like that?” He took her hand. His own was cold and clammy. “I don’t think they care that you’re pregnant.”
Adela waved to Matilde who sat with Lydia on her lap on the front porch. They played topi, topi, topi, gently butting each others’ foreheads. Big girl Lydia loved that baby game. Everybody wanted to baby Lydia. Everybody wanted to make up for her being born to that puppy-dropping bitch. Adela almost brought this thought to speech but Noel’s absorption kept her quiet. It occurred to her it wasn’t safe for her and Noel to go meet these guys together. But they’d been called and they were going. He pulled into the parking lot by the old Club Marino, the only beach club in Ciudad Vieja. Still silent he strode ahead of her past the cracked concrete, onto the dingy sand littered with bottles and paper diapers. She closed her eyes for an instant against this assault on beauty. The others are waiting, straddling the wall of rocks separating the Club Marino’s beach from the public beach.
Not thinking, she stroked her belly. She didn’t care what they wanted now, or what Tomasa Monte might have done in her place. She had Pulgarcito to think about now. Enrique was holding forth to his best friend and constant listener, Emilio, two other intimates. Enrique came from money. He always assumed the right to speak. To speak infallibly. But who wanted to be led by someone who didn’t know he could fail? Emilio was raised poor. He always knew to appear to be listening. He knew to toady, to appear to please, to trip all over himself to please. But who ever knew what he was really thinking? They’d been friends since grade school and spoke in telegraphic code. They finished each other’s thoughts. Or, as Noel said, Enrique thinks for both and Emilio reads his mind.
The Party created this military arm. The Party’s end must be near. She hushed the thought. Tomasa Monte would not think it. She tried to form her image in her mind, in the space between her eyes. Tomasa’s squarish glowing face with the impish grin pushing at the edges of her mouth and the bright, bright eyes…Tomasa whose thoughts were out in the world, not stuck in the muck in the back of her own mind like Adela’s thoughts, who saw the future and what needed to happen on any given now to make it come to pass. Still, Tomasa’s future had not come to pass. But it was promised. Yet this was not a pre-Revolutionary situation. But Noel said, how can you tell on an island that desperately needs a revolution all the fucking time?
She trembled for Pulgarcito as she and Noel reached the other two, whom they must address by their war names should they need to use names at all. Enrique was Alejandro. Emilio was Abelardo. Noel was Camilo. Adela was Celia.
From Alejandro’s grin she can tell he’s talking about a woman. One time, after a Party seminar on Socialism, Utopic to Scientific, held at a boarding school on the foothills of El Pico, she’d been heading for the bathroom and found herself walking behind him. The corridor was long and he kept looking back at her. Both of them were walking opposite the rest of their group who were heading to the parking lot where Alejandro’s wife, Betzaida, was shepherding 100 people into 20 cars. Racing down the hallway he kept turning back to look at Adela. She guessed he thought that she was following him! She spied him going into the dorm room of a student, a voluptuous high school girl with black curls. As he stepped into the room he shot her a sideways look, enlisting her to collude with him, not to tell his wife. She never told her, not even now that Betzaida was her supervisor at the Presidio’s InfoDesaparecidos. Women who chose not to know hated to be told and Betzaida barely suffered Adela as it was.
But she wasn’t following him then. She was going to the bathroom. The thought formed in her mind she didn’t want to ever think before, before Pulgarcito. She didn’t want to follow Alejandro anywhere. He wasn’t to be trusted with Pulgarcito’s life, or Noel’s life, or her own. Nor was any of their lives to be sacrificed for the vision of a man who snuck into high school girls’ dorm rooms while his wife herded 100 people into a cars. She wouldn’t follow Alejandro wherever he meant to lead her now.
Resigning from the Part y was a breach of discipline. If you resigned you were subject to expulsion! Noel reached their comrades first. She looked at him for a beat but his face was set for silence. So she spoke. “I’m pregnant. Noel and I resign.” Noel showed no surprise. Nothing.
Alejandro turned his entitled bespectacled face her way. “Is it that simple?” He sometimes stuttered and he did now. She shrugged. She turned on her heel and walked away. She didn’t know whether Noel would follow but she didn’t look back. She heard him behind her and took in a long deep breath. He’d followed her into the Party. Maybe he was happy to follow her out. He had a witnessing interest, an anthropologic interest. He wanted revolution but could not tell that it was up to him to make it. Let Alejandro and Abelardo carry on. Politics was their true expression.
They drove home without once running into their blue shadow car.
That night they lay in silence in their little bedroom on their three quarter bed, leaning against the headboard and each other, holding hands. Clotilde lay stretched between their legs. The only light came from their tiny television set which showed the news. A massive traffic jam all the way from Ciudad Vieja to the highway to El Pico had been caused by a proliferation of tacks tossed onto the road at every intersection. The ELA was being blamed. Had it been theirs?