Matheus began to hack uncontrollably and covered his mouth with a handkerchief to collect the inevitable phlegm of emphysema. Isabella hurried from the hut to her crimson-faced husband’s side. She grabbed Matheus’ pipe and dumped the ashes while shaking her head at him in disapproval. “Why do you burn our dwindling minutes together, when you are the most precious thing in my life?” She kissed her husband’s forehead. “And Lucas, you are too young to know this, but the only thing that matters is love. Only a minute ago, I was happily playing marbles with two remarkable little girls. They are the only souls you need for a fulfilling life.”
“Anything I must do, I am doing for them,” Lucas replied defiantly.
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