A woman dressed in black meandered to an unmarked grave tucked between burial chambers erected with the names of aristocrats whose family vowed to always remember, but never visited. She approached with roses as red as love, her fingers bled from the thorns she clutched as tears raced down her cheeks.
Arabella prowled closer, careful to remain undetected. The woman knelt before the stone, leaving the signature of her heart on the rough surface after she pried the thorns from her flesh and placed the roses at its base. With her elbows on her lap and her face in her hands, the metallic scent of blood filled her nostrils. Her tears ran red as the blood smeared on her face. She could be heard muttering something unintelligible between her sobs.
In her heart, the woman cursed the Fates. First, Nona, the Ninth, who in the ninth month of pregnancy assigned each soul the thread of life; second, Decima, the Tenth, for her measurement of the length of her lover’s life; for having taken him from her sooner than expected; lastly, Morta, the Dead One, for her role in deciding her lover’s manner of death; a cruel and inexorable misfortune.
And she cursed her lover, too, for succumbing to a destiny that did not include her. She had waited for his return, to see him again as she remembered him, a poor soul who had wandered through life without purpose until their paths had crossed. He was young and handsome when she first found him in a world of chaos of revolutions.
He was a poet with an unbroken heart, and so his writing lacked the depth he’d later find when she followed a different path. It was a road that in retrospect, she wished she had not taken, but seldom do we realize the heartbreak that awaits us when we forego passion for the excitement of something new.
In hindsight, she possessed the clarity she lacked in the moment and remembered the difference between the way Leonardo looked upon her when compared to the way Rafael eyed her. Whereas Rafael’s lustful stare made her feel desired, it was the innocent way in which Leonardo’s gaze avoided her eyes that the traces of undying love twinkled.
Leonardo Dominici—as he had come to be known—had written her love letters professing eternal fidelity, his voice timid when he spoke of love and filled with rage and jealousy when she decided to marry Rafael Trujillo. In the midst of his anger, he cursed her for leaving him, though he later chastised himself for lashing out with pain. And so, she moved on with her new life without looking back. As far as she was concerned, Leonardo didn’t fight for her, never realizing how often he argued with God on a nightly basis for the obstacles that emerged between them.
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