The Ink Well Prompt #71: THE DARK SIDE OF FAME
At Colegio Humboldt everything was joy. The seniors were graduating as high school graduates. So, after passing the last exam, they met in the main office with their principal, Mrs. Mirlet Weber. This lady, sweet and firm at the same time, was the soul of the school. Her perseverance made it the best school in the city. Everyone who graduated from the school achieved great professional success. She, at 70 years old, was still active in management. Her face had undergone cosmetic surgery, thus preserving the freshness of youth. With her slender figure and dressed in warm colors, she could pass for a runway model, but her passion for teaching led her to graduate as a teacher and found her own school. From there she guided the lives of children and adolescents.
Mirlet remembers with pleasure when, at a meeting with the parents of her students, she would stress to them .... and at the same time a smile of satisfaction would appear on her mouth:
-Quality instruction is important but, in my classrooms, I also teach human values, protocol, etiquette and general culture.
On that special day, from her desk, sitting in her fuchsia armchair, you can hear her firm voice correcting her students:
-Slowly, Marianita, walk slowly. You are a lady and you are in a meeting, behave as you should for this occasion. Please, leave the race for when you are on the sports field.
The students look at each other's faces, some smile, others mutter under their breath:
-Not even because we graduate stop correcting ourselves.....
Mirlet is like that. With that manner he is a reference in the city.
That was the fifth graduating class. Everyone would be happy to know the other side of their principal. She would give a party to all the graduates, next Friday morning, in the gardens of her house, where everyone would be surrounded by the lush orchids, roses, and saman trees. Of course, they would all wear their uniforms, so as to avoid social conflicts.
Everyone arrived punctually at 9 am. It was a requirement to attend the event. The butler ushered the young people in.
-Come in, Mirlet is waiting for you.
The students were amazed as they entered the main hall of the residence. A painting by Manuel Cabré adorned the room, the fine mahogany furniture upholstered with gobelin called the attention. So did the beautiful gilt-edged mirror and Capodimonte figures. The whole room breathed an indescribable charm......
The evening was spent among congratulations, a fine buffet and promises to meet again, someday, again. They would keep in their minds and in their hearts all the moments lived at Colegio Humboldt. Before the end of the afternoon, Mirlet proposes a toast, raising the crystal glass filled with Moet & Chandon champagne, a shy smile appears on his lips, while tears flow uncontrollably:
-Congratulations young people. I'm proud of your student record. I wish you all the best in your professions. I know that some of you will carry the name of the school to the pinnacle of fame.
More than one cried with emotion..... Each student would follow the course of their lives. Among them, Adán Schmidt and Marianita Guzmán would eventually stand out. He, as a famous neurosurgeon touring the world; she on the fashion catwalks. The two young men had not seen each other again until they met on a plane bound for Italy.
Marianita quickly gets up from her seat, the plane goes into turbulence..... she stumbles, falls over a handsome gentleman she thought she knew.... she sees his face, his sad eyes lost as if disconsolate about something. She thinks what could happen to him, but immediately reacts:
-Excuse my clumsiness.
He fixes his gaze on her splendid smile full of optimism. And then he asks sparingly:
-What is your name?
Here the sadness was erased from Adam's eyes...with joy he embraces her hastily. Marianita did not understand but remembered Mirle's teachings....slowly Marianita, slowly....and discreetly gets up from Adam's lap.
-I'm Adam Schmidt. Don't you remember me?
-Ah! Adam, the intellectual of the group... it's good to see you again.
-There's an empty seat here, if you want you can change and we'll talk. Adam replies
So he did. During the flight they talked about their lives. It was thus that they resumed the friendship that would later turn into romance. Three months after that meeting, they decided to unite their lives. They got married in the intimacy of their family. Eventually Marianita would leave the catwalks to devote herself to her home. Precipitous decision ....
-My husband Adam, the famous neurosurgeon Schmidt, does not attend me. His profession is always the most important thing. Not even when I had my abortion did he come to the clinic with me. I feel a coldness inside me, as if a black shadow is covering me and will not let me move forward in life. I have not become pregnant again. That fills me with melancholy, I shake it off by taking a mild drug. The doctor didn't even notice..... What wise advice Mirlet gave me: slow down Marianita, slow down. And what did I do? I let myself be carried away by the moment of passion. Today will be different. I'll put on my best dress. I will prepare the dinner she likes so much and then .... This will be the last chance. I feel my existence drying up, little by little, like the pale roses in the garden....
Marianita had ceased to be the cheerful lady Adam knew. He did not realize it, he only talked about how proud he felt with the last recognition received at the Academy of Medicine.
That night he arrives at the house, the perfume he always wears announces his arrival. Marianita receives him expectantly.... The dinner served, on the fine white tablecloth embroidered by her mother-in-law Leonor, disconcerts him. Suddenly he thinks, looking discreetly at his wife, too much planning, is she going to congratulate me or did she also forget my greatest recognition I received as a doctor?
The evening passes without congratulations. Adam's face shows anger, he tries to hide his frown and comments:
-What do you think about going to visit Mirlet tomorrow afternoon?
Marianita's heart skipped a beat. At last the two of them were going to do something together. The memory and the joy of seeing Mirlet again flashed through her imagination. She quickly thought of bringing her the famous cherry pie that she liked so much, but her joy abruptly declined when Adam, without thinking of his wife, commented:
-I heard today that she is ill. I would like to observe her personally as a doctor.
Marianita discreetly, trying to pull herself together, answers him:
-I think it's fabulous.
They finish dinner. She sets the dessert on the table when the phone rings....
-It's an emergency. One of my patients has taken a turn for the worse. Excuse me Marianita, I have to go. But remember I'll pick you up at Mirlet's house.
Marianita ended up being disappointed. But that night she was kept alive by the desire to visit Mirle.
Adam arrived punctually. Marianita, elegantly dressed, got into the car with her cherry pie. In fifteen minutes they arrived at Mirlet's house. They were attended by Mirle's nurse, the butler had left years ago. Bewildered, they could not get over their astonishment. .....
-What about Mr. Junker? Marianita quickly inquires.
-He died two years ago. But maybe Mirlet remembers them. .... answers the nurse.
Seeing them, Mirlet just smiles. She doesn't speak. She is no longer the proud lady of her students. She no longer even recognizes her memories. Marianita could not bear to see her like that. She quickly left Mirlet's house. All her past was turned upside down. She arrived home, went up to her room, hurriedly took her pills .... wanted to forget everything.
The next day her body was found lifeless. Her husband there understood, too late, that the pride of being a famous doctor, cut short his happiness.
The dark side of fame by María del Carmen Sánchez Copyright © 2022
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)