Almost as if following a theme for the day, things became curious as I approached my house around midnight returning from our session on Fuente’s ‘Aura’ and the question we discussed concerning ‘magic realism’ or ‘Gothic horror’. It was approaching midnight as I entered the village currently ‘en fete’ celebrating San Albert, not on his day which is inconveniently the 15th November, but this August weekend.
The villagers, to be sure, honour the Bavarian San Albert’s promotion of Aristotle and his formation of a curriculum for the Dominican order. A significant crowd of children were gathered on the corner as I approached– shouting and throwing fireworks. As I stopped and alighted to open our garage door, Belén our housekeeper materialised beside me- ‘My mother’s house is on fire’ she said. A small child approached handing her a pair of gold topped flip-flops. Belén was bare-footed. As she slipped them on: ‘I had to run to Alta Vista to fetch my mother’. She lit a nervous cigarette. The children continued throwing fireworks as the fire engine arrived and I was told of clouds of black smoke. Despite entreaties her mother had entered the house to turn off the electricity. She was pulled out coughing – everything in her house was black. The children cheered the firemen.
Marisa came out and rushed to console. I went indoors after putting the car away and checked the news. The suburbs of Athens were in flames. Marisa came in to tell me that there were five kittens and a canary in the back yard of the smoking house and that Belén’s six foot tall oldest boy burst into tears believing them dead.
Magic realism alive and well in Relleu.
Christopher North August 2021