Into thy hands (Luke 23:46)
That evening I bought plastic bags, a shovel and a silicone spatula at the local Chinese shop. Thus equipped, I went to the esplanade, the residents’ favourite place to take their dogs for walks. I scooped up the entire length from the harbour to the beach and returned to the office. Alejandro’s car was parked in its usual spot. With the spatula I rubbed the shit deep into the radiator grill, the venting slots and into every gap between the doors and the car body.
Then I went home, took a long hot shower and texted Raúl.
With the spatula I rubbed the shit deep into the radiator grill, the venting slots and into every gap between the doors and the car body.
On Holy Saturday, the streets and squares were bursting with people who wanted to witness the longest procession during Semana Santa
, the Magna
. Every church in the city mounted their Jesus statues on top of movable wooden floats, the pasos
, gilded or silver-plated and decorated with expensive fabrics, flowers and candles. Each one portrayed an event of the holy week, from Jesus’ arrival in Bethlehem to his resurrection. Barefooted, I squeezed under the wooden construction with fifty-one other penitents. Hidden behind velvet curtains, we carried the paso
on our naked shoulders. It weighed more than a tonne. In the afternoon sun the air under the paso
was scorching and, soon, we became waterfalls of sweat. The people in the streets were praying and weeping. Every now and then, a devout believer expressed his sorrow by singing a saeta
, an unaccompanied song and the masses fell silent to listen to the mourning. I prayed non stop during the six hours it took us to haul the paso
from its home to the cathedral and back. I prayed for my mother, who was struggling to adapt to her new life after the divorce, and for Juan. I also prayed for my father, although I hadn’t heard from him in the last two years. I prayed for my country, for a way out of the recession. And I prayed for myself. For a good outcome for whatever lay ahead.
Maybe the heat or the smell of incense and sweat tainted my senses or maybe God really heard me, but after a while I didn’t notice the weight anymore. I felt happy and lightheaded.
The next morning I took down the picture of the Golden Gate Bridge and packed my suitcase.
The next German intensive course in Stuttgart began the following day.
Born in 1975 in Germany, Vera Brenner has spent her professional life creating content for TV and film. To tell more compelling stories and explore other cultures she emigrated to Spain in 2007. Since 2012 she has been studying a Creative Writing MFA in London. Her work has appeared in ‘Big, Red & Shiny’ and ‘Words, Pauses, Noises.’
Featured artwork: “Sweet Lies”, by Merlin Flower
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