I woke up agitated: beads of sweat were coming out of my body: a sticky fluid slides from my forehead. I lifted the sheets, stood up and dried my face.
I couldn’t believe it! Once again I had dreamt of Penelope…! I remember how the first time I woke up in a good mood and said to myself: “Wow, I immerse myself in literature and my favorite character visits me in my dreams”.
I turn around and see on my desk the thousandth letter I wrote last night. I want to read it before…:
My dear Hector,
I remember when I said goodbye that beautiful warm summer afternoon in Paris. Your love left an indelible trace.
We went on separate paths and life stopped making sense to me.
I returned to my country full of light and happiness, possessed by the soft garden you had planted in my heart.
You stayed in Paris. Our letters crossed the ocean more than a thousand days.
Your words stopped the day that you refused to love me. Or never loved me? How can I know? You promised to visit me in Mexico; and I to return to Paris. However, nothing came of it.
I wonder if you got my last letter in which I was telling you about my new job in Ithaca, New York.
After a decade I still wait for your return.
Thinking always of you
I tear the letter in many pieces and throw it in the garbage can. While I imagine Hector returning to my side, I write at night what I destroy during the day.
I feel the need to take off my wet pajamas and undress myself slowly while trying to get rid of that dream that is so difficult to interpret. I enter the bathtub naked.
The warm water washes my body, but not my worries. I turn off the faucet. I shampoo my hair, I soap myself softly, and feel as if Hector’s hands were caressing me tenderly in our intimacy. I get out of the bathtub. I sit in front of my dresser mirror and put on my make up, then I dress and go out to teach my classes at the University.
I evoke my last dream: I see myself walking unhurried, in downtown Ithaca, which is strangely deserted. I don’t have any idea where I’m going. It snows and evening falls. I stop in front of a Macy’s window. All of a sudden, I feel that someone’s touching my shoulder and as like spring I jump and turn my body; I see in front of me a beautiful slim woman with a tunic and a linen shawl, and she tells me: “Andrea, stop imitating me, do you understand me? I’m going to be more explicit, don’t make my same mistake, knitting and unknitting for twenty years waiting for Ulysses, What a waste!
It seems like my favorite character reads my mind, since I always thought that she was the prototype of fidelity and the patience of waiting. Or I suppose she saw my questioning and disconcerted look. The truth is that in the dream she talked before I could ask anything.
_ Twenty years is a whole life; nothing makes up for what one wasn’t able to do. For twenty years I was faithful, and I’m certain that he was not. I knew him so well; his vigor, passion and bravery. Many women might have fallen in love with him; and myself? I took care of Ithaca, raised our son Telemachus battled with my suitors that were only interested in the wealth of the island. No, Andrea, I regret it all now.
When he came back, we didn’t understand each other. We had grown up separately. He returned to Ithaca to realize that away from it he would be happier. Don’t let the same thing happen to you. You have time. Forget! Live! love!
Penelope goes away. Her regal figure gets lost in the dark. At that precise moment I wake up all sweaty.
Penelope’s words: “Love! Live! echo in my ears like drum of war. I finish putting on my make up and get dressed. I look at myself in the mirror and say: “It’s never too late to start to live, Andrea”. When I finish this sentence, I see her face reflected in the mirror, offering me a