Maria is the second of eight children, all born at home, a bowl of hot water and a blade carving chicken necks, in the hand of the midwife.
At five, he was already throwing corn for raising and caring for his younger brothers. He grew up in the field, always a piece of ground to dawn, his hands wrinkled with earth. At 10, his body still waned, he crossed the jug vintage to his head, giving water to the men who were sweating in the vineyard. He learned to embroider and darn, to master the needle between his fingers. But pencils were worth as a priest’s card – it was to look with devotion and to sigh.
At home, the mother arranged a yellowed Bible and a pencil on the nightstand. Sometimes Maria took it carefully and risked risks and letters, but it was difficult to accommodate it through her fingers. So, I pretended to be the grocer, always with the pencil in my ear; or the priest, sharp pencil to take note of the souls for whom to pray. And I believed in the desire: I will learn to read and write.
Life got wrinkled and she never learned to put the pencil in her fingers. The days were always fading away, the years too.
But writing is a difficult luxury. How do you hold the pencil? Between the fingers, thumb, index and medium on duty. The three of them almost next to the coal, but far enough away. How do you measure the distance?
Life got wrinkled and she never learned to put the pencil in her fingers. The days were always fading away, the years too. He still married a girl, but the man was of little use to him. Three children draped in their skirts and their feet plowing up sustenance. Wheat, rye, some cabbages, the harvest. On Sunday, mass running, there is no time for books. In the best evenings, the dream put in the children’s pencil.
One day he woke up at the age of 70. I met her shortly after. The life made and the children to support his tasks. He started looking at his grandchildren, they seemed to have been born taught, then their fingers made with charcoal pencils. While doing school work, she trained the movement. Gradually, he began to write – shopping lists scrawled with drawings, the alphabet rehearsed on the back of aspirin boxes. At those times, he remembered the poem he had heard on the radio “there are words that kiss us”. He knew nothing more about O’Neill, but he was able to swear that there are also words that bite us. For her, he was a husband and a bad guy. Also, illiterate.
I have remembered Maria a lot, always with short hair and a long smile. He learned to write his name and date. The baptism of the three children. The pencil held like a rocket cane. I’ve been thinking about her. MARIA. “There are words that kiss us as if they have a mouth”. And others that bite us as if they were fear. Just a little while ago, routine was like that. Ill-fated word that many rejected and few escaped. A few months ago, all we wanted was to run away from him. Now, the dream is to get it back. Life did the pin and the dictionary crashed. Neither day-to-day problems are problems nor routine is a dull condition. Leave the kids outside the school. Run to work. Have lunch outside and mess with the electricity bill. Walk around. Hug a friend. Embrace routine. In these strange times, routine gives an air of good of first necessity.