The Fish

I return from walking the dogs (I’m house/dog sitting again) feeling like a fish in an over-heated pond.

It’s 11 am and there’s a bag hanging from the door handle. While the dogs run for the water bowl, I discover a gift of sweet plums.

At 12, the waft of cologne announces an elderly gentleman from the village. I invite the mystery bearer of gifts inside and talk in broken down Spanish. When a wheel falls off I open the translator but he’s no mechanic. He’s a musician, a poet, and takes paper in hand. Ciruelo: para comerlos 1. lavar las y la piel setira con el hueso.

It’s 2 pm and he’s wearing a freshly-washed shirt. He places almonds on the table. ‘Son de mi arbol’ he announces showing a good set of teeth. He mimes that they are for eating, that I need to crack the hard shells. I show him my hammer before he leaves.

By 3pm I’m thinking about lunch, just like most of the Spanish population, but I’m wilting. Perhaps I’ll eat the plums. ‘Henne?’ comes the version of my name in castellano from beyond the plastic fringes at the doorway. ‘Entrer,’ I reply in mistaken French.

He places the hot silver-foil package and cold can of beer on the table, then disappears into the afternoon.

P.S. I’m vegetarian.

Yikes! I ate the fish!

… Global temperatures are higher than ever recorded. I’m worried. But I figure that the only way we’re going to get through this cataclysmic era is to connect with people and smile as we step lightly.

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