Tuesday, June 15, 2010
“They only knew taverns,” Stella says. “They only knew food.”
The nights in Triana were blue, Stella says. The milk was thinned to blue. The mussels had a blue attitude and were lazy. The bread was sometimes all there was—bad bread and cheap rojo, cracked from barrels. There were already so many dead and those who weren’t dead were like nothing people, dead in the eyes, loose around their bones. It was October 1939, and the war had been over since April, but Spain wasn’t the Spain any of them had known for it now belonged to Franco. It was the church against the people, the anarchists against the nuns, the Civil Guard against civilians, the extremists forcing politics onto farmers and working stiffs. It was dead people hanging from chopo trees. Doctors who weren’t allowed to practice. Teachers selling charcoal in the street. Lawyers sleeping in cemeteries. Priests without churches. Spain was the Moors of Maria Luisa Park who said they’d been tied to the wings of the German planes.
“Tied to the wings?”
There were not enough bars, Stella says. There was nothing for anyone to do, nowhere to go, it was nothing hoping for nothing. Stella was eighteen, the cook. At night the people came for what they could find, which was wine and poor tapas and flamenco. “Hating Franco,” Stella says, “made us one people.”