‘Hey Granma, what was Grandpa like?’ asked Rosa to her angelic Grandmother Maria. Maria was vacant, reminiscing deep into her dreamscape when this question was asked. Maybe that was why Rosa brought it up? she thought, as she intently stared out the window. Dreaming of the land she and her late husband once occupied many moons ago. Perched on the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, it breathed in the life forces of the mountain range with every spin around the sun. Gaining strength and abundance the more its occupiers gained strength and abundance. A mutual symbiosis of sorts that was as harmonious as it was powerful, and it was all Maria’s. For a few short years she lived out her wildest dreams with the man of those dreams and her beautiful baby Daughter Julia.
As Maria sits there, in the front room of her daughter’s terraced house. Situated in the inner-city suburb of Malasaña where prosperous lives are lived in and amongst the modern ways of Madrid society. Cafes, bars and upmarket vintage stores line each street as flags sway from the balconies above. Colour is all encompassing with the subtleties of the new way of life. A place so detached from the type of existence Maria knew down in the south all those moons ago. She becomes tongue tied as to how to answer her dear Rosa.
How could Rosa possibly understand the context to my torment. Losing the love of my life at 26? grimaced Maria. To lose him so tragically and without the faintest notion of the rattling grief destined to develop. Maria was inexplicably hit for six, bringing her down to the bare-boned knees. A compromised tile of the proud barn roof was all it took for poor Maria to be widowed so young. So vulnerable are the young, she thought. Widowed with a young girl already bouncing off of things and another brewing inside of her. Growing ever more present and alive with each new tragic day that passed since the death of his Father. Not knowing that one day soon he will pop out into a world of travesty and torment. My world of travesty and torment. She grimaced once more.
Before Marco’s passing life was as simple and as beautiful as Maria could have perceived. Each day rang true to simplicity; and hard work to create that simplicity. We would wake early to collect the eggs from the hens that laid the night before. Marco would usually do this while I would start warming some butter in a pan and boiling up a healthy pot of coffee. After our eggs and coffee, we would tend to the cows, checking for any ailments and collecting their milk. They were the healthiest of cows, with bladders almost popping. It was never a hard task to get them shuffling their hoofs into line, where creamy lines of goodness would ensue.
We would then move on to the sheep. The sheep were more hardened individuals than the cows. They were wary of outside influence, so it was always a swift check for the sheep. Just to make sure no preying wolves of the night had stopped by. Once they were all accounted for and with no obvious disease or disorder it was on to the pigs. The pigs were so majestic in their filth. They had evolved beyond normal social constraints of beauty and instead decided upon being as present as piggly possible. Clever beyond belief they would always sense us leaving the sheep and would go about preparing themselves for the morning feast. Vying for pole position to the trough. It was a calculated affair, that would undoubtedly leave the wittiest pigs up front. Don’t ask Maria how their pig minds worked as she’s a mere human and this is pig world she’s thinking about. After being humoured and humbled by the pigs we would then stroll back to the cottage to check on our beautiful girl who would just about be waking from her own little strength gain.
Each night she gained more strength through the art of child sleep. Her body would deplete itself every day with the chasing of hens and the eating of flowers so much so that by the time it was night she was disastrously delirious and would go into the deepest of slumbers that I can only relate to the gaining of strength. Which was a good thing, because she was going to need every last bit of it as she was soon to be fatherless.
Each morning after she woke, we would bathe Julia and go about fitting some kind of clothing to her. It didn’t seem to matter much as with the turning of a corner she was naked again, running after some kind of animal. Real or fictitious was of no concern to Julia, she was always running after something. Julia has remained in this constant desire for the what’s next her entire life. Which is how she found her way into the Palacio de las Cortes, and is still running, running in the form of changing our country.
The days would roll on in this fashion for a few years. Marco being the rock that we clung to, myself being the blanket we found warmth from, my daughter’s imagination left to grow wildly free and the animals growing fat and happy until their eventual slaughter. All of us feeding off the open-handed magnificence of the majestic Sierra Nevada.
Maria shudders and brings herself back to the current landscape. She was off pondering on old emotions through the window of time, but now she’s back. She instantly sees beautiful Rosa still intently cross legged and waiting for her mystical Granma to reply. Maria can see the same burning white flames of passion and desire in Rosa’s eyes as she did in Marco’s. She ponders a few more moments on this and finally let’s Rosa in on the secret. ‘See Little Rosa, your Grandpa was too much for this world, he was a king, a king of the stars he must have been. He created such a beautiful family, our family, and it’s in us living that he remains ever-present. I can see him now sitting on the back porch of the stars smiling down on you right this very moment’. Rosa looks up above the roof, above the clouds, above it all and smiles back at her dear Grandpa.