A Secret Grave 103 – Animation of Lovers

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Mercer couldn’t be one hundred percent certain his mother was having (or about to have) an affair with Sergio Hochman, but he was fairly sure. The man visited frequently and Mercer saw him and Caroline whispering together with the animation of lovers, hugging or touching one another when they thought no one was looking. He learned that Hochman and his wife were estranged and that when Caroline got all dressed up and went out at night, it was to meet Hochman. That made Mercer furious. He was just sixteen and not very good with words, but when he had a chance he confronted Caroline. “What’s with you and that guy?” he asked.

Caroline’s face paled slightly. “Nothing. He’s a brilliant writer and professor. I enjoy talking to him.”

“Dad’s brilliant, too.”

“Yes, of course he is. I love your father, Mercer. It’s just that it’s good for me to be away from Texas for awhile, that’s all.” She kissed him lightly on the top of the head and that was the end of the conversation.

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Cheating husband

Sergio Hochman (Bob Baffert, Dormant Braincell Research Project,https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/)

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But Mercer decided then and there that it would be good for him to stay on in La Paz and keep an eye on his mother, even though he didn’t really want to. The thought of Caroline and Sergio Hochman sleeping together filled him with anger and disgust. He had signed up for classes at Austin Community College starting January 17, but chose to blow them off in favor of “chaperoning” Caroline – a dumb idea, he realized later, as he had no control over what his mother did. He tried to talk to his uncles and aunt about her behavior, but they just clucked their tongues and smiled at him as if he were a two-year-old with no clue of how the world worked. Mostly he spent the next two months massaging his grandfather’s limbs. He would enter the old man’s bedroom and almost immediately a sensation of warmth would flow into his fingers that made him want to place his hands on Jorge’s swollen wrists and knuckles and hold them there until all pain dissolved and faded away. He was so good at this that Jorge would call for him to come sit at his bedside every morning and afternoon. “Oh my boy,” he’d say in Spanish. “What am I going to do without you?”

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Healing hands

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This began to worry Mercer who wanted to go home to his own house and life and bed. Caroline, meanwhile, seemed to be getting more and more involved with Hochman and there wasn’t a damn thing Mercer could do about it. He’d see the couple deeply immersed in conversation at a nearby café, or walking down the street arm-in-arm, their bodies touching, or stopped for a lingering kiss in the shadow of a doorway. “They’re supposed to be the adults,” he’d think, misery entering his heart. He found himself hating his mother, a feeling he’d never had before. Finally, in late February, he asked her to arrange for his flight back to the States, something she was only too happy to do.

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To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ https://afremov.com/UNDER-THE-RED-UMBRELLA-PALETTE-KNIFE-Oil-Painting-On-Canvas-By-Leonid-Afremov-Size-24-x30.html

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