In an instant, their gazes intertwined. Manuel said nothing when he was discovered by Lark. The strong impression that Lark received when seeing her father cheat on Hilda, caused her heart to clench full of disappointment, wrapped in an unpleasant acidity that ate away at her feelings.
Lark quietly released the curtain and walked back to where the children were waiting for their toys. Raising both hands over her face, she wiped away her tears, and with great effort, drew a smile on her lips to tell the family that was waiting for her, that there were no more toys.
After a while Manuel approached where Lark was and without giving any explanation, he began to act as if nothing had happened. The following days were totally different, Manuel hardly stayed at the stall during the day, as he returned to living his life in a disorderly way: playing, drinking, and dating women. At night he stayed with Lark to help with the sales. He seemed like he had freed himself from chains when he was caught cheating on Hilda.
Lark’s life became sentimentally unstable in a catastrophic way; since she felt guilty of being an accomplice of her father by keeping quiet and not saying anything to Hilda about the constant adventures that Manuel had had in different towns. Every time she returned home after being absent for several months, she couldn’t look in Hilda’s eyes, so Lark always looked away from her to the point where the melancholy in her eyes was lost in the absent space of truth as she was lovingly embraced by Hilda.
Lark did not return to school, leaving aside her studies and becoming a merchant by falling into Manuel’s profession. The time they spent in Jutiapa was relatively short, compared to all the trips they made to sell their products at the fairs in the different towns of Guatemala.
Time continued its rhythm governed by the hands of the clock, while the months left like the dry leaves that fall from the trees when winter arrives. The years passed from season to season and the spring of youth overflowed abundantly to embellish all of Lark’s physical attributes, framing her face in a highly attractive way to all who looked at her.
On the day that Lark turned seventeen, Hilda prepared a party for her. The whole family was gathered around the dining room table, when Lark suddenly stood up and said, “I want to confess something to everyone!”
Lark’s words made Manuel’s face pale, who was dumbfounded by the uncertainty of what his eldest daughter wanted to say.
Lark sighed deeply trying to feel the courage she needed to speak. However, she closed her eyes and stuttered a little as she said, “I signed up for a singing contest at the fair in the next town we’re going to.”
Lark’s siblings screamed with excitement. Hilda started clapping her hands. Manuel breathed calmly. Lark continued speaking in a gentle way after having felt her heart return to normal, “You know I like to sing, and it has taken me a long time to decide. But I feel ready to do what I like. “
“Your siblings are on vacation, they have no school for two months and it has been a long time since we went out as a family, so on this trip we will all go to support you in the contest,” Hilda said very happily.
At that moment Manuel intervened, “You have a very beautiful voice, and I am sure that you are going to win the contest. I am also happy that Hilda and your siblings are joining us on this trip, now we are all going to eat now because today we are celebrating your birthday. “
Lark’s nervousness before telling everyone about her participation in the singing contest disappeared when she saw that her family welcomed the news with joy and supported her decision to participate in the singing contest. Then Lark sighed again, closing her eyes for a moment and when she opened them again her pupils reflected the brightness of the resolve that flashes within each human being when they begin to materialize their dreams, with the freedom to live their own life.
TO BE CONTINUE…