Did you know that A Summer for Scandal has a companion?
As much as I loved writing from Emilia’s point of view, I was always curious about her sister Susana’s inner thoughts. So much of A Summer for Scandal revolves around Susana and Luis’s relationship that the story didn’t feel complete to me until I had given them a way to voice their thoughts.
A Lifetime for Love is a fairly short story retelling the events of A Summer for Scandal from Susana and Luis’s perspective. This is how it starts…
Arroyo Blanco, 1911
Susana Cruz was deathly afraid of green lizards. She was wary of all kinds of lizards as a matter of course, even the tiny brown ones everyone knew were harmless, but the green ones were by far the most horrifying. When they weren’t lurking, invisible, among the glossy leaves of the philodendrons growing outside her bedroom window, they were making their way inside the house and burrowing into dark corners where they might spring out at her if she dared disturb their peace.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Susana,” Emilia said, coming to the rescue after Susana’s scream of surprise had startled her away from her typewriter. “Lizards are harmless–not only that, they’re useful to have around. They eat roaches.”
Susana had been hearing variations of that for most of her twenty-five years and it didn’t make her more kindly disposed toward the creatures. “I’d just as soon not have reptiles taking up residence inside my vanity,” she told her sister with a shudder.
Disagreeable as it was to have lizards appearing among your hairpins, it was even worse when they leapt from branches and landed right on your lap–exactly what happened the very next weekend as Susana and her friends had coffee in the patio of Rosa Castillo’s house.
They had arranged themselves in the shade of the mango tree in wicker chairs brought out from the porch, heedless of the minuscule flowers and stems that occasionally drifted down. Susana had just set down the pretty flowered demitasse on its saucer and rested it against her knee and was leaning forward to inspect the embroidery on Carmen Vidal’s new handbag when something heavier than a flower plopped onto the brim of her hat. She hardly had time to be startled before the intrepid lizard decided to seek a more comfortable spot and ventured down onto her cup with another leap.
It was virulently green and as long as her hand, with a tail that tapered to a thin point and swept unpleasantly over her wrist.
Several things happened at once–coffee sloshed down the pale peach skirt of her dress, Susana jumped to her feet and threw up her hands, causing the cup to go flying, the lizard scurried off to safety as the other girls echoed her cry and spilled more than one cup in their surprise…and Susana, her skirt now stained and her hat knocked askew, lifted her gaze in time to see Luis Rojas come around the mango tree.