Theodore McKenzie

His shirt, damp from the humidity, outlining his lean built and his broad shoulders, bonded tightly onto his skin. Like tiny crown jewels, droplets of sweat constellated on top of his straight yellow hair – comparable to the colour of the corn kernels. In fact, Theodore remembered other boys referred to him as a corn child, not to mock him or anything – except that he stood out among the rest of the children whose skins were less pallid and whose hair was as dark as burnt wood.
Theodore, when he was a child, on his way home from school, used to pass along the tiny path in the middle of the cornfields. Cornfield farmers usually allotted space in between rows of corn so that it would be easy for them to cut grass and weeds that ‘affect growth of maize’ at least that was how Simeon, an ageing lanky tenant who lives in a shack near the foot of the mountains, explained it. Simeon’s wife used to beat him up with corn stem every time he comes home drunk after swigging a jar of coconut wine concocted by the residents in the valley. Theodore remembered the paths to be always free of weeds and he thanked Simeon and the farm workers for that. The brownish soil formed mounds and crests just like those of waves, and when it rained – as it always rained – water cruised along the paths, and the soil glued firmly on his shoes, like sticky rice cake fixed on one’s tooth – elevating his black leather boots a few centimeters more. Theodore could not bear walking like that and he would often take his boots off and walk barefoot towards home. Although sometimes, the blades of corn leaves protruding towards the path and towards him, would cut gently through his skin as a knife with a jagged edge would cut a pinnate leaf, leaving linear marks on his arms.
When he was a boy, Theodore recalled going home one day after school, passing through the fields, towards the end of the vast plantation where a lone Baroque-inspired mansion formidably stood. His house was the only structure that could be seen from afar – even if it was viewed from the hills or from the mountains or tens of kilometers away. Its red brick roof looked like a red piece of cloth on a yellow floor during that time of the year, as the plants were almost ready for harvest. The corn’s golden kernels still sparkled under the setting sun casting a red glittery reflection on each bead. Almost everyday on his way home, as he approached his house, Theodore would always hear his mother playing music, humming a tune or fingering Wagner on the piano. He didn’t know Wagner nor liked his music but his mother manipulated her favorite musical instrument with passion, a kind of ardor, which Theodore had never seen in someone else’s fingers or behavior.
Today was a strange day though. On his way towards the door, Theodore didn’t hear the piano nor hear his mother humming a tune. Instead he heard his father’s voice. It was shaky but apparently angry.
"What do you mean you don’t know where she went" his father was interrogating Teresa, one of the housekeepers.
" She is gone Senor Leopold. I looked everywhere. She was not in her room either."
"Are you sure you looked in the neighborhood for her"
From the doorway, Theodore saw his father’s anxious face, his brows creased and his lips parted and shaking like a leaf hanging onto a stem.
"We have looked everywhere and we saw one of the suitcases"
His father swiftly interrupted the young maid.
" She wouldn’t do that!