here I have no tag of stereotype
here I am unique, here I am locked-in
here, within the lemon sandstone walls
of a timeworn, breathless Moorish fortification
I live a little, dream a lot, suffer, eat, wash and shit
He was looking out through the barred window, elbows upon sill, crossed fingers supporting his chin, his back to her. Heard her footsteps as she approached. Noted she was alone, for once. Out of choice he did not turn about face, did not acknowledge her presence.
For her part, she observed he had lost a little weight. Even from behind, protruding ribs told their own story. The unsuspecting often took his blasé indifference toward all and sundry as a sign of resignation, maybe outright defeat, or perhaps just that his fabled genius had finally played out. How little they knew, for such apathy was merely a façade. A fact she was well aware of.
“Here, I have clothing for you…just an old gandoora…it’ll have to do. I couldn’t find any sandals. The thing is we can’t have you…well…not like this…not today”
In the blue times twixt constant contemplation vis-a-vis his passion for lost causes, and the equally irksome conspiracy of idiots focused on inflammatory design, the prisoner would lay down and wait in anticipation of a Popular Front parade.
“I’ll leave the gandoora folded on your bed. What are you so engrossed thinking about?”
Still he did not turn around. “For no good reason, other than perhaps the subliminal, I resolved that I would see if I could count up to one billion in whispers and wondered just how long such a challenge would take. Too long I reckon. You see, having determined that there are 86,400 seconds in a day it would take more or less 11,574 days, which works out at nearly 32 years to achieve such a quest, and that is assuming I take no sleep for the duration and only allowing one second to speak each number. Plainly I would need the occasional rest and further, as the numbers got bigger they would take more than one second to say. Given that I would likely pop my clogs, or be disposed of prior to completion I am thinking it for the best to abort the mission at this embryonic stage…by the way, why favour me with clothing after all this time? Since when has compassion been within your gift? And what’s so bloody important about today?”
At home, she would watch, sometimes even play with the antennae bristling ants that owned her garden. Yet in this place, she reigned supreme, played no silly games.
“Look at me, face me.” Be that an order or request he cared not, studiously he ignored her. “Have it your way then,” an out of character statement by any standard, the iron rod her usual preference, “You are free to leave…obviously, you can’t leave as you are.” She found herself wishing for storm clouds to match her imperfect mood.
At last he changed position, looked her in the eye, “How so?”
She knew well that her cigarettes would kill before they cured, a presumption of her own private subjugation. Looking at him stood there stark naked the thought struck that, ‘spellbound are the idealists, the others are in their graves’. She thinks she might write that down a little later. She could see his bruising was fading, though his scars were eternal, ensuring memory of her would live on in his worst nightmares. Then, “Franco fell into a coma and died last evening…natural causes, hence…well, hence your ‘freedom’ assuming you’ll ever be ‘free’ in spirit, that is.” He sensed that word ‘freedom’ she spat out had left a bitter taste.
“So, all Godfearing, one-time fascists so very fond of The White Terror can now sit back and count their pesetas, and claim they knew nothing about anything?”
She wore a phony smile, “You should know my preference would have been to have your head on a platter…excuse the metaphor…we never did break you; dehumanise you, you ‘the one who got away’…still, I feel sure we’ll meet again one day. Come, make haste, you will be escorted all the way to the French border.”