Monday, December 04, 2006

The Black Icon. Third mini-chapter


Chapter Three

Now, eight years later, Sophia lay under her tile roof, sighing as she breast-fed the new baby. "So what if Michael has golden hands?" she asked herself, "All I do is work and raise children. Just how is my life different from that of anyone else in the village?" She recalled an old Jewish woman's observation a years back, when Sophia had been told that the Ukrainians were working people and that was the extent of their genius. "Now I believe it," Sophia said to herself.
The baby leat out a series of slow burbles and began worrying the breast, nudging it playfully. "Finally had enough, have you? Yout hungry little squire. Just because you have that thing between your legs you think you're entitled to everything, don't you my lord?"

"Hmgurff," said the baby.


Time to christen the baby. "Genyk," they decided to call him Sophia has insisted on the name. Genyk was good
enough for her grandfather, wlho had once been reeve of the village, and the name was good enough for MIchael's first son.
Michael, busy and preoccupied, couldn't care what the name would be. He had a son, and that was the main thing. Before Genyk, there had been Katerina, and how helpful she already was with Sophia recovering from the birth
Now Sophia, strong and healthy once more, left Genyk in charge of little Katerina and was back in the fields.

On her knees, digging up the pototoes, smelling the black earth, pausing every so often to stare at the hoary old man clouds, thrusting the spade into the earth, prying it up, watching the tubers jerk up through the moist humus. Sun beating down, bringing a little faintness every time sho rose to go to the next clump.

It had been the same when she had stayed with her grandmother. The endless work, the mind-numbing fatigue at the end of each day. Now, with two children and the house mortgaged to pay the bills, there seemed to be no end to this. It would take years to pay everything off. And Michael wasn't getting much work, with talk of war and all.
Lately, he had taken to drinking.
He would come in from the Korchma, all smiles, eyes glazed, trying to make love to her and she, in her anger would hit him with whatever was handy."You should be glad of such a man,:" he would protest while fending off the blows. "Most Galicians beat their wives."She would let fly with the broom. "A saint, you married a goddam saint," he would cry while locking himself up in the children's bedroom.

He was such a curiouls creature. Bright, stupid, pompous, humble, cheap, generous, conceited, modest. Sophia still could not figure him out. Making love like a whirlwind, rising up in the morning like a tyrant and crying over the children's trifles at night; going to a wedding and becoming the drunkest one there, dancing with everyone in sight, boots flying, on table tops, over the flat claytop stoves, upon which people slept at night, ,singing of his Hutsulka, mountain girl sweetheart, kissing every woman in sight. But if any man would as much as look at Sophia, she knew from experience that Michael would flatten him. Sophia did not know whether she loved or hated him.

"He's a fool," she finally decided, filling her last bag, tying the cord and lifting the sack up on her shoulders to carry it towards the house. There woul be nine more of these potato bags before the sun would hang red above the trees flanking the Towmach brook past the village.

.........end Black Icon, Chapter Three.




EA Monroe said...

Thanks, Ivan. I like how you've gotten into Sophia's thoughts about her man -- or any woman's thoughts about the man she's married to for that matter. I look forward to Michael's SOLILEQUE. Do his thoughts run counterpoint to Sophia's thoughts? Hope you get rid of that flu bug soon!

ivan said...

Thanks, Liz.

Checking the old depth gauge.
Gotta blow ballast soon.

Shesawriter said...


Just dropping in to say hi and hope everything's going well with you and yours.


Josie said...

Ivan, Michael is certainly an extrovert. I think he is very likeable.

I'm looking forward to reading more.


Josie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
EA Monroe said...

comment deleted... was that the ballast blowing, Ivan? ;)

ivan said...

Heh, Liz.
I don't think anybody's ever accused you of sleeping at the switch.
Sharp chick.

ivan said...

Hi Tanya.
In Newfoundland-Labrador,Canada, where they speak so candidly and colourfully, they would describe a bout of the flu thusly:
"Snap it again.
It's got me by the balls!"

It's got me.

Thanks for enquiring.
...I am trying to like Elliot Yamin.
He finally got his recording contract, huh?

ivan said...

Hi Josie.
Glad you like the character of Michael.
Something of a Steppe Dancer, no?
I am sure that in the end, Sophia loved him.

ivan said...

Did I accidentally delete somebody?


Josie said...

Yes, I can just see him dancing, by the way you describe him.

That commented deleted was me. For some reason my comment posted twice. And rather than actually look like the total idiot that I am... I deleted the second post.

Off to enjoy my Brussels sprouts now.


ivan said...

Holy crow!
You guys are brining this site luck.
More hits in the last two hours than Muhammad Ali on George Chuvalo.

ivan said...

Sweet Sela Carsen, author of Not Quite Dead (Samhein), has mantioned that my Black Icon is up again here.
One of these days I'm going to learn to highlight, but Sela's blog is What Was I Thinking, and is easily googled.
I like the writing in "Not Quite Dead". I cheated and found some text here and there.

Sela Carsen said...

Feel better soon, Ivan!

Josie said...

Yes, I hope your flu is better soon.

Back at work with the robots today...


ivan said...

I fear they are going to have to put me down, but I refuse to go to de doc.
Last time I went, they nearly turned me into a turnip.
Actually, with the full moon banging down, I may yet evolve into a sea urchin.
They masturbate sea urchins to get RNA, do they not?
I may as well be a sea urchin.

Actually, as I look over my life, I realize I have been something of an urchin for sure.
Used to eat my dessert plate after the dessert,fight wildcats, slay scores of Philistines with the jawbone of an ass, go on mammoth drunks, have three girlfiends at once, write great sprawling novels in a month, jam with Glass Tiger for weekends on end, finding myself finally as a rock singer and soon getting tired of it, and stopped only when I ran for Mayor and they damn near killed me.
Talk about Guns'n'Roses.
Those cats were carrying guns and roses. Actually, violin cases and lillies, in advance, for me.
Felt like the guy in the crazy old MAD Magazine Don Martin cartoon, where this wild man is spinning madly on a big Hakim Optical centgrifuge: Ivan is making a spectacle of himself again.

Wish I could do real good scat writin', but I'll leave it to the younguns.
Chuggalugged a good journalism school once and have never gotten over the effects.
I am not like Kurt Vonnegut Jr., who moaned, "Give me back my youth"--I am still forever eighteen, but this freakin' flu has got me hallucinating and I may have to reach into the private rum stash on which is printed, "In case of emergency, break out this."
Already have, actually.
But it only holds back the full moon for a while.

EA Monroe said...

Hiya, Ivan. You can't stay sick. We're running off to Mexico soon! You know what they say, "Youth is wasted on the young."

I'm supposed to be working (like Josie), but I'm trying hard to goof off as much as possible.

ivan said...

Yes, Liz.
You, Josie and I are running off to mexico, and Erik Ivan James will be the Hummer driver.

But then I look at erik's blog today and he really is driving a hummer.

What Erik has wrought!


If we go to Mexico with Erik, he will do us all!

Omigod, I wonder if he got a tattoo as well.

Read it and spew coffee all over your monitor as you pee youself with laughter.

At least I did.



ivan said...

Thanks for the get-well, Sela.

I seem o be improving, but it's more like artificial life. Rum Toddies. Hey!

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