Friday, November 18, 2016

COSTUMBRISM: THE LADY IN THE RAIN

The Lady in the rain


    In my neighborhood of Guantánamo in the south lived a black woman whose skin was like bitumen, if the sun gave it strong it would seem that it would turn into chapapote. She was always clean and with her poor clothes well washed. It was said that she worked as a washerwoman and one day when a lightning struck her little son went crazy.
   The truth is that when the sky was cloudy, she would go out into the streets screaming and get into the first house she saw open. The people screaming closed their doors and the children of the neighborhood, cruel always, shouted: Juanica is going to rain. And she despaired even more.
   One day I saw her come and leave the door open. My mother at the bottom of the house did not know anything until she heard the cries of Juanica who threw herself on a sofa sobbing and asking for salt water. My mother came over and put a damp cloth over her forehead as she comforted her.
   But Juanica was inconsolable and asked for water with salt to drink. I went to the kitchen and poured a handful of salt into a glass of water to see the effect it made, to see if it was leaving and how cruel it was.
   They said that if it started to rain it would get worse and get under the beds which would make things worse. When Juanica drank the glass of salted water, she screamed and ran like a rocket through the door with her usual hymn.
   Years went by and Juanica continued with her crazy ride. I saw her on Sundays in the church of La Milagrosa with her poor but clean clothes and just finished bathing. Then he felt more respect for her but remained silent only muttering who knows what.
   One morning I learned in the hospital that Juanica the mad had died and that no one from the church had gone to her funeral

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