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Antoine Archange Raphael
Harmony and contrast, the female impact, book 2
This is the second volume of the original work entitled Harmony and contrast, the female impact, book 1, recently published by www.lulu.com
Yolanda, five years before, offered her body to Peter as a new untouched temple to worship daily. Actually, according to her own words, she gave him a “safe and sound body, an ingenuous soul and untapped passion”. Her lover is the concretion of all the good things she wants from a man. Her passion almost caused his death. Fortunately, another Venus, a nurse called Fay, pulled him from the darkness of coma and the claws of death. They get married and intend to live happily ever after. Suddenly, five years later, Yolanda, coming from nowhere, has returned and donated the same burning temple to Peter. Would that love reiteration end up in another disaster?
Undoubtedly, I met my wife, the first time, under extremely trying circumstances that seemed to show many affinities between us: concern for others, irresistible optimism and genuine love for transcendent values. Material possession has never obsessed us.
I think these positive elements of our philosophy of life have laid the foundations of our harmonization that has never waned, to my knowledge.
However, as for me, even if we didn’t meet under special circumstances, Fay would be my choice. She happens to embody the ideal womanhood. Why would I think this way? I may never decipher this puzzle, because its roots may plunge into my tendencies and a great deal of imponderables defying the most advanced scientific inquiries.
I only assume that my departed father’s influence on me has something to do with it.
Remembering how he has formed my concept of woman¬hood and a host of other beliefs tells me how close we were before he died. I also feel certain regret for not having him around to guide me with his natural wisdom.
His “lecture” on “ideal womanhood” turns now so clear in my mind that I sense his presence.
On a clear Saturday, my mother, along with some close female friends and relatives, went shopping on Jamaica Avenue, in Queen, one of the New York Boroughs.
Going to that commercial area on the first day of weekend had the complexion of some kind of ritual they would not miss for anything in the world (despite the crowd of prospective buyers bumping against each other).
Those women kept Sundays for church activities and family gatherings.
They often took their daughters along to initiate them early to this kind consumerist habit and to exhilarating funs: eating at MacDonald, Burger King, and other fast-food restaurants (not to mention the cheese shops).
Apparently, they had the time of their life.
On that particular Saturday, my father seized the opportunity to have a “man to man” conversation with me.
We sat on the sofa side by side.
We had intended to watch the football game on our fifty-six foot inch TV set, but he changed his mind. His pieces of advice, that day, took precedence over anything else.
In a deep but melodious tone, he “pictured” the type of wife he would like me to have, as well as the kind of man he hoped for me to become.
“Peter, listen to me good,” he started in a voice that seemed to indicate that he had a premonition about his imminent death. “I adore your mother, and what I am going to tell you, in her absence, comes from the bottom of my heart.
“I know that the world keeps changing at a rapid pace, to such a par that we get the feeling of racing constantly against time. Anyway, it looks this way.
“All happens very quickly through the Internet or by computer. Similarly, women more and more have turned as much educated as men and aspired to high positions in the administration and private industries.
“Yet their evolution in the fabric of history shouldn’t alarm men. It should rather appease them.
“Families may become stronger, more independent of the hazards of existence, the more so as one check may barely satisfy family primary needs, with the galloping cost of leaving increase throughout this world.
“I remember the time I could buy groceries with twenty dollars and return home with bags of food. Today, sixty dollars can barely satisfy our basic needs.
“That’s not all. We must meet an increasing number of other obligations created by modern living.
“Therefore, let me suggest the following: you shouldn’t marry a woman for show, for her beautiful and proportionate legs, for her dove eyes, angelic smile, and her powerful mind astonishing the world.
“Of course, she will glow with beauty and charm (he giggled). In fact, I wonder if Nature or God, in these days, do not make all women beautiful. For some unexplained reason, wherever I go, I see nothing but angelic creatures (he giggled again).
“Anyway, you shouldn’t mix her up with an object of display. You should look for someone you love, someone you would like to stay with, in the intimacy of your house.
“Think about it: your children, some point in time, will leave you; your friends and relatives will grow old and won’t be able to remain closer to you and to move around as much as they can. Thus, your wife must be the concretion of your dream; she must share your bed, your goods, your moments of sadness, your instants of joy, until you grow old and die.
“Life seems funny and aimless. It only looks like a journey that will end up in total darkness.
“We wish it could go on forever, but I have just expressed a dream. All of us have to make this eternal journey. It is an irreversible law.
“Yet, when the family story goes according to the pattern I have just described, we may talk about a ‘happy ending’.
“Your wife must become a source of joy to you and give you the impression that you are the captain of the ship, although, between us, we know she is the real chief.
“You must also consent to sacrifice yourself for her, but she must deserve your total commitment.
“She must be sweet. That is a plus.
“She cannot be obnoxious, snappish and fussy. A man’s home should represent his castle, not a hellish prison.
“If she gets home before you, she shouldn’t hesitate to start dinner, as you would return the favor in case you should get home ahead of her. Some of modern women, becoming ‘financial partners’, want to share responsibilities on a fifty-fifty basis, no matter what. In reality, they spend all their time remonstrating and making certain that both parties respect this equal partnership.
“You don’t need such women; they will make you miserable and cranky.
“When you reach home, your wife should welcome you either by a warm kiss, a gentle hug, a sweet word, anything that makes you forget the rough time you might have on the job; and vice versa.
“This is very important: as a professional (and I am speaking from experience), you will have to deal with lots of rude people, who curse for no reason, who yell at you, who sometimes are ungrateful to you, to such a par that you may believe that God has sent them to test your patience. You may help a fellow one today and you say hello to him tomorrow, he looks at you as if you have lost your marbles. You will be happy if he asks, “Do I know you?” They firmly believe that they are in the business of receiving, not of giving. They do not always know the meaning of respect for others, since they do not have self-respect—to start with. Yet, you cannot afford to reciprocate in kind. No, Pete, you cannot.
“Many corporations expect you to behave like someone the public can look up to, as a teacher of good manners; otherwise, they won’t need you. A professional is supposed to be calm, understanding, compromising.
“However, he is also a human being. He would also like to enjoy a kind treatment from others. Where else can he receive such humane treatment that he lavishly gives others? He, certainly, can receive it at home.
“Without the feminine sweetness your mother showers me with, life would be so miserable to me.
“But this is not a one-way situation, in which the wife only has the duty to please and shower sweetness. You, too, as a man, must try to make her happy.
“For one thing, she can’t fill you with sweetness if you push her away roughly; if you make her feel she is not needed.
“Therefore, even if you experienced a rotten day on the job, even if you thought that life did not worth a penny, you should never ignore the lips that greet you; you should never push back the hands thrown round your neck; you should never ignore the smile that her face is shining with.
“These precious lips, these velvety hands and this angelic face could be your last resorts, the only true human and civilized manifestations you may experience for the entire day.
“You should never believe that household duties fall upon your wife’s shoulders by right, as if the marriage contract leads straight to slavery. No, she is not your slave.
“Such belief comes from an outmoded conception of social intercourse. In these days, men take care of children, do the laundry and the cleaning, and cook food.
“Actually, the best chefs happen to be men. If you don’t know how to cook, then get some training; buy a cookbook on the quiet and surprise your wife with some fancy dishes. Believe me, she will love that.
“As a matter of fact, I have a better idea. Occasionally, spend some time with my sister, your aunt Emma.
“She works as a gastronomist and a chef in one of the finest hotel restaurants.
“When your wife comes back home, give her a warm welcome: a kiss, a hug, a box of candies, a little gift—or whatever. Always give her the impression that she is welcomed in her own house, that she occupies an important spot in your heart, that she always keeps her status as a revered and admired princess.
“Those exchanges of sweetness, kindness and mutual assistance, these family positive habits, as the marital existence strengthens with time, will grow more and more natural, normal, almost like reflexes.
“I have just touched on the secret of marriages which last forever and which keep couples of eighty years of age going hand in hand, a broad smile on the face, as if they overcome the contingencies of existence...”
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