Light of the lights
Written in Spanish and translated into German.
A short story.
Light of the lights
Copyright © Genoveva Serra Caselles, 2008
All rights reserved.
Deposito legal V- 1073 - 08
Valencia, June 2008
Translation, cover design and lay-out:
One day in summer I went down to the beach to carry on looking for those pretty shells I was selling the tourists every Sunday after Mass.
Father Andrew always gave us milk rolls while we were leaving and when I was given more than one I shared them with my friends until one day I gave John's little brother the only one I had. The agreement was that he would sing me a song and tell me a verse whereupon I had to give him the roll.
How that summer passed. So quickly, so quietly and so cheerfully. Full of shells, with big waves some days and the scent of my Mediterranean Sea I mourned so much years later when from far away in space and time I enjoyed its breezes and nightfalls.
It was on one of those days when I saw the charm of a smile for the first time and eyes that, looking at me, turned towards me a vast amount of emotions with plentiful tenderness, confidence and involvement as an accomplice.
From time to time when I close my eyes I suspect his gazing looks that made you realize that you could rely on him, that he was your friend and exactly that was what he expressed approaching me the day we got to know.
One of my canvas shoes had got unlaced and I tried to lace it up again stepping with one of my feet onto the kerb. It was so sweltering that I knew I would feel dizzy getting up again after having bent down. But he was there in that very moment smiling at me and without one single word I knew he always would be there, would be my friend forever, I could rely on him and his warm hands would never ever let me fall down.
At the sight of this sensation he needed a little while to speak, but didn't introduce himself. Not that essential, isn't it?
His parents lived in Mals House. It was a corner house sunken under trees, impossible to contemplate the beauty of its existence behind all that vegetation. It was far away from mine and so we didn't frequent the same places. Neither did we have the same friends. Our parents didn't participate in the same fiestas, so that our meeting-point had to be the way out from church. Occasionally I'm thinking that the most wonderful instant of my live was the one when I saw him.
On monday evenings my friends and I used to go to see the sunsets. We took some food with us and down there in the sand at the seaside, breathing the scent of the sea, of heaven and interminable time, we were telling stories, we were singing, kissing and from time to time we even heard that somebody whispered into our ear he loved us, that he was in love, and we were the woman of his life. I didn't go out with any of the boys those days. I intended to convert me in Lewis' friend and something more. But he was so stuck-up that I eclipsed and after having stood me up twice we hardly spoke together. He laughed at my freckles and my curly hair, said I'd hide the shells there I was looking for on the beach, that my father's nose was excessively big and my mother went out on the porch at night with a pinafore. That's why I decided to watch how the others kissed and loved each other. And if I was not that nice and attractive, then what? It touched me to look at the stars and thought the man who was loving me would be behind that one or the other may be. He would embrace me, would give me warmth and love me lifelong. He was, may be, behind the one that shone so bright, oh no, behind that other one that seemed to be bigger.
I can't remember exactly which monday it was. I can't think of the date. But when they all were singing, taking a bath or playing I felt that someone was observing me. I looked around me but didn't see anybody. I looked again and again perseveringly as I had felt something like a shiver. The next morning I went early to Mrs. Johnes' house to run her errands of the flower shop. It was a very nice looking shop. In its porch there hung the climbing plants and when the morning sun appeared through them you've got the feeling you may feel something similar in the jungle. Colours and scents. Lights among vegetation. Magic and adventure waiting behind them. Flowers and flowerpots. And there, in the middle of all that, Mrs. Johnes. She nearly was part of that strange and familiar vegetation. - She will always belong to us, you nearly feel that the twigs, the leaves and the flowers are intimidating you and up to your life they will tangle up and will speak to you. And if you listened they'd tell you many tghings.
I was given instructions, an errand of flowers with ribbons for a residence, a house on a corner with so many trees that you cant make it out.
When I reached there after a slow and quite ride on my bike taking care that the boxes won't move in the back, nobody opened. First I thought I had the wrong address. But that wasn't the case. I insisted and after a while a tall and severe looking man approached the fence to open me.
- Hello, I said, - I'm running an errand for the lady of this residence. I've got some very nice and delicate flowers, would you be so kind to sign right here.
- Just a moment, young lady. Would you please accompany me. The lady will attend you at once.
I followed him to the house. While we were walking I looked from one side to the other. There was so much to look at. Secially a pond and its fountain that was feeding it with so much water in a cascade of flower petals rose and blue coloured. The water showed these colours and inside of the pond there was an enormous number of little fish swimming comfortably without paying attention to the heat, enjoying life and asking themselves who I was when they got aware of me.
All over a sudden a huge dog, good-natuerd and hand-licking, received me. It wagged its tail so much that its movements were scaring another little one that had left the house, too.
- Come here, Filipe. Don't bother the girl. Come back.
But Filipe had forgotten that he had a master and who was giving him food every day. The cook with her coif came after him whereupon he escaped running away rapidly. - I think you won't eat today, Filipe.
And that was the moment when he appeared, finally he came up to me. Once again he looked at me so sweetly. There was his smile, his hands, and when he then turned towards me I felt I had to hand over the flowers without delay as they would wilt.
- Good morning, I said automatically. I believe he answered, yes I think he said something. But I'm not shure, because including the house behind him, his house, had disappeared, just like the noise of the fountain, neither the pond, nor Filipe stayed in my retina, as well as th tall man who had remained by my side. The world as a whole had vanished.
Yes, and it was by day, but suddenly all turned dark and I saw many stars, behind one of them, the biggest one and not the one that shone most, just there it was him who was there. Yes, it was him. He had to be the one.
He took my hands and then, when he told me his name, the box with the flowers inside was waving in my hands. He hold it tight, the moment was so nice, so distant the world I had left behind, that I started vibrating while I asked me if all the time I only was waiting for sombody to hold my hands tight when I was trembling. Possibly my beloved shells would have told me the welcome news. May be that if I had hold them just in front of my ear they would have told me of him. Why didn't I do it? Would they have predicted my future? May be. I possibly should have payed more attention to the little things. But if the stars kept a surprise for me, couldn't it have been a secret?
I only could start saying that those nice and delicate flowers were delivered up by Mrs. Johnes' flower shop, when he interrupted me.
- Those are very nice and delicate flowers, he said and hushed for a short while, than added, - like you are.
At that moment a tear, soft and gliding, covered my cheek and I bowed my head. He raised it smoothly touching my chin. When I wanted to hand over the box he said:
- No, no, they're for you. I had to give them to you as a present here, in this place. I'd never given a present to a girl and I thought this environment would be the most adecuate for me. I apologize for having you made coming here.
That was the moment when I turned round quickly to run away. The box fell on the ground and the flowers dropped out, some leaves fell apart.
When I reached the fence I knew why I had been running away. Because I had been fleeing. Because you have to keep rapidly those magic moments, if they are such, so that they won't escape. Because, if not, for whatever things or proceedings they could be damaged and the magic could be destroyed. So for that reason I wanted that instant to be mine and that no word, no gesture would spoil having been able to reach the stars and to look what had been behind one of them.
And he came back, came back for me one day in summer and held my hand. And he kissed me and told me that he'd love me and would never leave me. And when we then walked together picking up shells on Mediterranean beaches I knew we would be together forever.
When I now look at him and feel again deep down inside what I had kept in my heart and nobody ever could get out, my affection and my love burgeon forth towards his being, towards that man.
Towards that man, who nearly fourty years later gives me shelter at night, protects me by day. He speaks to me softly and accompanies me because one day we both will turn back to his star together, the one he brought me, the one I kept in secret, or were it the shells, or Filipe? May be he knew. He knew it at the very first day he got to know me, for that reason he wagged his tail so much.
I now know it, may be I always knew? Because I was alive the day I got to know him, alive since then, to the end of time. Because I kept the magic in my heart and never, never again I'll let it go.