‘House of Chirimías’

Drawing by Juan B. Olalla Rodríguez

With one sip, the sky drank the red wine of La Sabika. The sunset shattered into pieces like the embers of a dying fire. While her fingers danced on the keys of the oboe, her feet, in her battered old shoes, hung high above the river, away from the stone wall where she was sitting. Quenco moved his head to the rhythm of Granada and, cuddled against her, his beloved owner, he idly looked at the tourists passing by. Majestic, the Comares Tower raised its haloed head among the dark trees. From under its petticoat, the Reúma Hotel leant out, modest and chipped, a doll’s house drawn on its façade. Memories slipped down its scaly dome and a little suitcase full of dreams rang with voices from the past.

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‘All Souls’

you are alone

I am alone

but sometimes

loneliness can

be

a flame.

Mario Benedetti

 

A ray of sunlight filtered through the filmy curtain of the bedroom window. Slowly, as Maria opened her eyes, she savoured the heat of her skin. The night had startled her with dreams so that she now felt an urgency to get in the car and collect her mother and Aunt Reme to take them to the cemetery. How strange! She had never felt like this before about All Souls’ Day. Yes, of course she remembered the dead, sometimes she even talked to them, but she seldom visited the graves. Maybe because the old sepulchres oozed mourning, reeked of oblivion. What a terrible smell! Yet this day she wanted to touch the marble and feel the fire of remembrance burning on the other side.

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Mirage

I am a woman who no longer understands anything. This doesn’t matter, nothing matters to me any more. I am wrapped in silence, as a wave on non-reason, quiet and opaque, flows over me, leaving a trail of memories in sepia, photographs of my grandmother, my grandfather, photographs displayed on the chest of drawers here, in my bedroom. Like beer spilt on hot asphalt, words dissolve even as they emerge from my lips, from my mind. I am no longer the real protagonist of my own story, the story you are reading, for I have become a mask, a discoloured puppet, articulated by worn-out strings, moved by a superior and anonymous force. Introvert woman, femme fatale, chaste girl, witch. Masked? None of these. I am the mask.

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