The Echo of Roosters’ Calls

Translated  by Katrina Hassan

She takes her son Yeyo, wraps him in her shawl and puts him on her back. On the table, Isaura sets down two changes of clothes, her barrette, the baby’s talcs, a pot of face cream and a pair of shoes with broken soles. She believes she can fix them when she arrives to her destination. She also has an envelope with pictures, and a few scraps of t-shirt that she turned into diapers. In a kitchen towel, she gathers a bag with a handful of salt, some pishtones, fat tortilla like patties filled with beans, she made that morning, the last bit of aired cheese, a bulb of garlic, two limes and some mint leaves in case she gets carsick. She fills a container with water and puts everything over the tablecloth and knots it into a sack like package which she hangs from her shoulder. On her other shoulder, out of some sort of sack, she puts Papayo, the dog she rescued from the dump when it was only a few days old. She locks the door without looking back.

Her friend Maura, all out of breath because of all the running, catches up to her. She hugs her and gives her a bag with February red jocotes, a few ripe mangos, and 100 Quetzales, her life savings, in order to help out a bit.  She hugs her, crying her heart out. They have been best friends their whole lives. Isaura tells her to mind her little adobe house, her cilantro plants, and the tamarind plant that just about managed to grow. It is 4am, she gets on the bus, and it leaves her native Teculutan, Zacapa behind. The echo of the roosters’ calls stay behind, as does the smell of freshly milked milk. Isaura doesn’t know it, but she will never return. The one who will return is Yeyo, in 30 years time. He will put her ashes in the cemetery next to her parents’.  

Yeyo will mind the house, the cilantro plants and rest under the tamarind tree next to Papayo’s grand kids.

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Ilka Oliva-Corado @ilkaolivacorado

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