I have no age. I carry my years without submitting to the regimen of time and its chronology of dates and seasons. I recognize myself living, hands outstretched, in the shade of the almond tree, with white hair and staring eyes unconcerned with the passing hours. My tree and I have entwined our ages in the absurdity of the days.
I stride from chapel to chapel between masses when silence prevails and the flames of the candles flicker beneath penitents’ tears. I kneel each morning before the statue of the Blessed Virgin, but I don’t pray.
I find refuge there from the filthiness of existence. I imagine lives never exposed to the flavors of ripe mangoes and cherries in June, or to mild, starry nights and clear mornings, or to moments dissolving like hot, tender walnuts under the tongue. Yet I have no memories except those of this bark that is the color of revealed time. No one ever lulled me to sleep with stories or tales. All by myself I invented a yearning for the myths and legends behind the featureless face of the one who brought me into the world and then left before I could settle accounts with her.