There was a party at the house of the newest couple of residents of Jardim Balneário Meia-Ponte, a sector located in the northern region of the city of Goiânia. Ricardo, a tall dark-haired, strong and always well-dressed man, was also known for being a devoted husband to his wife. He worked as a production manager in a factory that processed most of the dairy products of the main brand of milk that flooded part of the shelves of grocery stores, supermarkets and bakeries scattered along the avenues of the city, the former GOGO MILK. The factory occupied an immense area within the Fama sector.
Adriane, his wife, was a redhead with light colored eyes and a very slender body that, with her fine features added to her simple gestures, made her presence even more remarkable for the always sweet tone of her voice. Adriane worked at ‘O BOTICÁRIO’ and, along with her co-workers, it can be said that she also helped to beautify the sales counter of the most famous cosmetics franchise in Brazil.
That night, due to the high volume of sales leading up to Valentine's Day, Adriane entered the dim room feeling too tired, so that she barely remembered that it was her birthday.
“Surprise!” A very large group of guests shouted in unison seconds after she turned on the light in the room. As tears of joy poured from Adriane's green eyes, everyone around them began to sing: “Happy birthday to you...”
Soon Ricardo came out of the back and approached Adriane to hug her. He approached with a smile plastered on his face and kissed her on the cheek.
“Congratulations my love!” he said after the kiss, “I wish you a very long life... by my side.”
At the couple's residence, friends, family and brothers from the parish that the couple used to attend on weekends were gathered.
“Before we cut the cake” said Father Joaquim, responsible for the parish, “I feel in my heart the desire to say a prayer.”
After the children were taken to the back of the house, because of their usual noise, the guests were silent, outstretching their hands towards Adriane and Ricardo. When everyone was ready, Father Joaquim began his prayers.
“Almighty God and Father” he spoke to God, “on this very special night, we cannot help but thank you for all that you have done in our lives...”
Then he coughed once or twice more and asked to be brought a glass of water.
“We know that” he spoke to God again “as it can happen in our life, there are many trials that we have to face. But we believe with all our hearts that, in the end, You always show us the way.” After he coughed again, he drank water again, “Your Word tells us that we are under Your Grace, Lord, and that we are covered by the mantle of Your immense Love. That's why we pray,” he prayed more earnestly, “bless this couple! Guard them from all the snares of the enemy! Keep them from all harm!
And everyone said “Amen!”
Soon the children came running back, and the guests crowded around the table.
“Who will be the first piece of cake for?” someone near the table asked.
Adriane walked to the center of the table and began by thanking the guests for coming. But a crowd in the back started to provoke, and to shout: “Speech, speech, speech!”
“Good night guys” she said, holding the spatula before placed next to the cake. “First I thank God for another year of life, huh? I'm getting old... Secondly, I'm grateful for Ricardo's life, this wonderful husband that God has given me: a loving, understanding partner who, despite his busy work, still cared to prepare this beautiful surprise for me together with you.”
“Who will be the first piece of cake for?” Someone near the table repeated the question again.
“So,” Adriane said with the first piece of cake already balanced on the spatula. Then she turned to Ricardo and spoke in a very romantic voice, “for sure the first piece of cake is for you my love...”
The same crowd in the back started yelling at Ricardo: “Speech, speech, speech!” Even Father Joaquim joined in the fun. After clapping, he said something like: “Now let's be quiet and Ricardo will speak.”
When trying to escape, some guests surrounded Ricardo and led him back to the center of the table.
“Well…” he started shyly, but then he loosened up, “what could I say about this woman, if not that she is exactly the woman I asked God for? She is affectionate, companion, dedicated and very understanding... In fact, I have no words to express the great love I feel for Adriane...”
At the end of the speech loaded with words of affection, the exchange of affection between the two followed. The guests clapped non-stop. Only a while later they lined up in front of the table, with Adriane being helped by Ricardo: she sliced the cake and passed it on to him, who filled it with various delicacies and distributed it to the guests. After that, the party went on until the wee hours, with lots of good music, dancing and games, until the time advanced and the clock hands ticked midnight. As most of those present at the party worked the next morning, very early, little by little the place was thinning of guests.
That same night, a violent maniac who had escaped from the nearby municipal prison, peered through the dark streets of the sector. As soon as he approached the couple's residence, he became curious about the movement around it, so that, as he had nothing better to do, he ended up stopping to follow the last remnants of that night hustle fading in front of the barred gate: engines of vehicles and with goodbye kisses, slamming of doors and waving of hands. Then, behind a mango tree, he followed the conversations.
“Adriane,” Ricardo said after making sure he had the vehicle keys, “everyone is gone. Now all I have to do is take Mom home.”
“Mrs. Ninny” asked Adriane to her mother-in-law, “don't you prefer to sleep here? Ricardo can take you home tomorrow.”
“I would love to, daughter” answered Mrs. Ninny “but I can't. Pedro, my bricklayer, agreed with me to show up at my house very early in the morning.”
“Can’t you give him a call?” Ricardo intervened in the conversation.
“Yes, Mrs. Ninny…” amended Adriane.
But the old woman could not cancel the appointment, as the bricklayer was in great demand.
“I’m afraid not” Mrs. Ninny replied, with a sad look in her eyes. “The landlord has been on my back for days. The residents downstairs can't stop complaining about my leak. Rightly so, right?”
“Ah...” sighed the couple.
“I’m sorry, my daughter-in-law” said the old woman soon after “but it will have to be some other time, okay?”
“Oh, all right” Adriane sighed with a sad look, worried about the hour.
After that, Ricardo turned to the woman and asked if she would like to go along, after all, he would have to leave her alone.
“Would you mind if I stayed?” Adriane asked “I'm dying to take a shower and...”
“Of course I don't mind my love,” Ricardo said, “I can imagine how exhausted you must be with all this rush.”
After saying “thank you!”, Adriane again showed concern about the schedule. Ricardo consoled her.
“Don't worry,” he said, “I'll be back soon.”
“Right” agreed Adriane “but you don't have to hurry, ok?”
At that, Mrs. Ninny intervened and said that if her son ran too much, she would pull his ears herself.
As soon as the car rounded the corner, Adriane got in and closed the gate. The maniac, who had been following the course of the conversation, soon crossed the street and entered the vacant lot, next to Adriane's house.
From Jardim Balneário to Mrs. Ninny's residence — located in the Bueno sector — it took at least an hour of driving.
“Take it easy, my son” asked his mother as he fastened his seat belt, “there is no need to hurry for us to arrive.”
“Sorry mom,” replied Ricardo as he entered a roundabout, “it's just that with the streets deserted, I don't even notice when I'm speeding...”
“How are things at home, son?” Mrs. Ninny changed the subject. “With all those people around, we didn't even have time to talk properly, right?”
“Ah, it’s alright…” hissed Ricardo, a little sadly. “It's just that…”
“Is there something going on that you want to share with mom?”
“Well,” he said with the same sad tone, “I don't even know how to tell you...”
“Is it something serious?”
“Yes mom.” said Ricardo. Then he flashed the warning light and turned into a street on the right.
“So talk. What is going on?”
“The usual... And then some...” whispered Ricardo. Then he revealed in a bitter voice, “Adriane insists on having a child soon...”
“Well, on this subject, I'm not going to interfere” clarified Mrs. Ninny. But after the mother saw the sadness sink in her son's eyes, she ventured to say, “Anyway, Ricardo, a son always fills the house with joy.”
“I know that, Mom...” Ricardo retorted. “There's only one problem...”
“What problem, my son?”
To be continued...
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