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  • Writer's pictureAnna Cabré-Verdiell Bosch

- Carmen -


Carmen would have been ninety-three. She used to feed us until we would almost pass out. If we didn’t ask for seconds, something had to be wrong. Her food was bocatto di cardinale and we were a greedy bunch. On a regular day, there were ten of us around the table; on a big occasion the number tripled and so did the food on display.

Her faith was bigger than our stomachs. On Sundays we marched, following Carmen on a procession to church. Mass meant transcendence to her. For us, the expectation to remain in solemn silence for forty-five minutes was a provocation. One giggle, and the rest would follow suit. Weak willed and happy children…

The procession to church eventually became a solitary walk. We grew up and devoted ourselves to other gods; friends, boys, books, nights, sex, careers… Carmen kept feeding us; she kept praying for us.

Raised between wars, Carmen had no time to be a girl and just skipped to being a woman. A wife, a mother, a carer, she worshiped her role and portrayed it without blinking. Her pride turned into our burden, an old fashion heritage too heavy to be dragged forward. That got us arguing often; rarely agreeing. Carmen was stubborn and so we learnt to be too.

The procession to church eventually became a good bye walk. We sung and sent Carmen to heaven, to the eternal peace she believed in. We didn’t follow in her steps but her temper remained imprinted within us. Traces of past determination ready to conquer anew.

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