Thursday 6 January 2022

Cesar, Maria and a few Skeletons.

The train doesn’t stop in Quenque.

So Cesar got off at the ruins.


Quenque lies in the folds of a deep valley, tourists don’t go there so the train just pushes on through; once four o’clock has passed the sun doesn’t bother either.

The evenings are cold.


Cesar was hungry and he knew that the ruins could wait; they had stood on the mountain for thousands of years, they could wait a little longer. He watched the train pull away into the forest and then turned and started walking along the rails back towards the tunnel.


At first his stride was out of step with the timbers that made the track but soon he adjusted his gait , relaxed and started whistling. He had expected there to be a lot of litter to contend with but the way was remarkably clear; he found a silver dollar and a shoe just outside the tunnel.


The tunnel was short and he could still see the light at the far end as he stepped inside, the noise of the forest disappearing as he did so. No birds whistled with him now, and soon he too fell silent.


And  thought of Maria.


It made him sad that she had not taken the train with him, instead choosing to stay in the village where the rains washed through the street in torrents. Rivers she called them. She was standing in one when she had waved goodbye.


‘I’ll catch you up’ she had promised, the four o’clock sun falling awkwardly across her face, making her squint.

‘Wait for me’.


He would wait, but he was not sure that she would come; she did not care for ruins.


‘They are the skeletons of the past, they make me sad’


She had smiled when she had said it, but her voice betrayed the truth; tomorrow was more important for her than yesterday.


Cesar felt like he was becoming yesterday as he strode through the tunnel towards the dying light beyond and when he finally emerged and saw the village below him he discovered he was suddenly depressed.

Depressed and damp, for now it was raining.


He jumped down from the tracks and slid down the muddy slope towards the stony streets , fumbling for the piece of paper in his pocket. He dropped it in the mud twice before he was able to check the address; Calle Major 23.


Viente-tres, Maria’s birthday, perhaps it was a good omen.



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