He came back home at around eight in the evening, after a long day of exhausting work with the bulldozer. Usually, he woke up at 6.30 in the morning, with just one hour break to have lunch. He was working digging a trench for a new electrical network up in the mountains, and the whole machine vibrated each time the bulldozers hammer and spade tried to perforate the rock, while removing the smaller rocks that came out of the hole. His arms were in pain and his legs were numb after the long hours sitting. He was truly exhausted. 


He said hello to his wife, took a can of beer from the fridge, and sat on the couch in the living room. He took the TV remote control and put on the public television channel; the news had just started. His wife was preparing dinner and while the food was cooking, he started to set the table.


From the living room, he asked his wife:


"Where's Juanito?"


"He's in the bathroom."


"In the bathroom? So, he must have been locked in there for about an hour, because I haven't seen him since I came home" he replied, slightly annoyed. 


"Yes, I will tell him to hurry up for dinner."


The woman went to the bathroom and gently knocked on the door. 


"Juanito, how much longer do you have left, honey? Daddy is already here and we are going to have dinner."


"Well, Mummy, I'm masturbating now. Im nearly done."


"Ah, thats fine, darling, keep going and enjoy, son. Just make sure you wash your hands when you are finished."


Ten minutes later, Juanito walked out, with a smile on his face, a smell of perfume and hair gel and wearing expensive trousers and a polo shirt. He walked towards his father, greeted him with a kiss and said:


"Hello, Dad."


"Hello, son. I don't know how you can take that long in the bathroom, you've been there for over an hour. Did you find a job today?"


"No, Dad, not today."


"And when will that lucky day arrive?"


"I don't know, Dad" he answered with his head down. 


"Don't you start bothering the poor child, Manuel. He's unfortunate and stressed enough already for not having found a job."


"Look, Matilde, your son hasn't worked at all in 37 years, he still lives with us and without even helping at home, and now you come and tell me not to bother him! I've been working really hard for 45 years, and I still have another 5 years until retirement, plus another 15 years of mortgage to pay, and this asshole of a son of yours is going to reach retirement age without having worked at all."


"Why are you like that, Dad? As soon as you come home, its horrible to be here! Im not even hungry anymore. I better go out with my friends; at least they will understand me. Mummy, give me some money, I've nothing" he said to his mother, who was coming from the kitchen with the dinner. 


"Here you have 10 euro, and don't come back home too late, honey."


Once she was alone with her husband, she said:


You have to be more careful with the way you talk to the boy. Don"t you realise he doesn't have anyone else apart from us? It's your fault he's not even eating dinner. "


Manuel stopped eating, stared at her face for a while, holding his knife and fork, and didnt talk again for the rest of the meal. After he finished eating, he went to the bathroom, brushed his teeth and had a shower, which made him feel better. Then he went to his bedroom and went straight to bed. He patiently waited for his wife to go to bed and pray as she did every night. 


After she finished praying, they made love like they hadn't made it in a long time; with fiery passion. She thought that would be the make-up for the argument at dinner time, but he knew it was the last time they would make love. 


They said goodnight to each other. He waited until she was asleep, got up, silently took the bag he had packed earlier and left the house. He drove to the train station, and when he got there he closed his car and threw the keys into a sewer. He took the first train to Madrid; he wanted to be in the capital early next morning. 


At eight o’'clock, he went to a branch of his bank and took out all the money he had in his savings account. He took exactly 14,230 €, leaving 1.37 € in it. He put the envelope with the money in the inside pocket of his coat and cut his bank card into pieces. 


He had breakfast and took a taxi to the airport. He looked at the information screen. He was lucky; in two hours there was a direct flight to Istanbul, so he approached the desk.


“"One ticket for Istanbul, please.”"


“"Return or one way, sir?”"


“"Just one way, please.”"

While he waited for his flight, he bought a green felt hat, as the one he used to wear everyday had been left in the bulldozer. He was paying for some new sunglasses he had also bought, when he heard the call for passengers to board. 


"Passengers with destination Istanbul, please proceed to board through gate number seven."


When he was already flying, he took a deep breath, and smiled, relaxed for the first time in a long time.


"Screw both my wife and the boy! Ive always wanted to go to Istanbul!"

Rafael Antonio Castro Cotrino.-

© 2015 by Antonio Bernal.