I’m still here, lying at the entrance to the threshing floor, looking up at the sky with closed eyes, my arms spread open and a leg stretched out, sprawled over the damp grass.
Nothing hurts. Nothing at all. True, the pain had its moment, but now all I feel is nothing.
The plank gate remains open, swinging gently against its stone frame. Moino is making circles around me. Sniffing me.
It’s been an hour and no one’s come by. Above the house the smoke from the chimney has faded somewhat and the wind makes a soft, continuous hum among the branches of the eucalyptus trees.
The clouds rest in an invisible sky. Gray, dark, cloaking clouds. Motionless clouds, heavy and low, lying in malevolent wait for events on the earth below, as if settling like dew upon the early morning. As if onto a cold, silent bed.
I can’t see him, and I can’t see her either. Those two! I don’t know what his face was like when… when did it all start? When the baby arrived, maybe? Or before that? What I did see was the rest, full on. But that doesn’t matter.
Dinner was still in the pot. The plates were on the table, the knives and forks beside them, and the uncut country loaf in its cloth bag.
It’s like wine, like wine. Wine splashing into china drinking bowls, painting them.
Moino is snuffling at my boots and rubbing his muzzle into their mud-covered soles, nipping at my corduroy trouser legs, at the ragged cuffs of my woolen sweater. He lifts his enormous head and a gust of air arcs his whiskers. Whining, the dog eyes the unpaved path, the horizon, the tiny villages scattered along the valley, where people are coming home to their dinners.
Nothing hurts. Nothing at all. My black beret is soaking in a puddle nearby, in some tire tracks carved up in the dirt by passing carts. My straight, brown hair is collecting weeds ripped up by the rain.
The dolled-up lady in black walks lightly down the path leading to Abelares. She looks like a young girl, lively and smiling in her party dress. She passes me as if dancing a jig, her arms in the air and her fingers close together. She reaches the house, steps into the orchard and turns to face me. She smiles, showing her white teeth and painted lips, and walks leisurely down the path to the enclosed forest.
The fig trees did well this year. An aroma of apples rises from under the straw and wafts from the closets, and the chestnut trees are beginning to blanket the ground with half-open seed cases. The cool night wind hums as it drives raindrops from the leaves on the trees. The plume of smoke from the chimney has faded away, although there are still embers in the fireplace – inside, under the cauldron with the ruined dinner.
The animals lie in the dark inside their pen, settled in for the night. The hens wander among the cows, pecking at their gorse bed.
Moino licks my nose and lips, lies down beside me, rests his head on my chest and snuggles up against it, eyes wide open.
There’s a man lying in the cold, wet grass at the entrance to the threshing floor. It’s me.
Translated from Galician by Carys Evans-Corrales