224 • pearls around the neck
hair that had fallen on her forehead. “Magdalena,” he said, looking at her face and her neck, “there are
possibilities, but you have to let me handle it. Do you promise?”
- Yes, counselor Peña, I promise, Magdalena replied between two sobs.
- Yes, Juan Manuel, Peña corrected, pressing gently on her chin.
- Yes, Juan Manuel, Magdalena repeated, choking back her tears.
- That’s better like this, Peña declared, stroking her cheek with the back of his hand, just as Doña
Clemencia’s head appeared at the kitchen’s swing door.
– My dear girl, I left some eggplants, rubbed bread and appetizers in the fridge. You should have
enough with this, too much even, since the girls are sleeping at your parents’, Doña Clemencia
announced, with a frown.
- Yes, thank you Clemencia. I will see you on Monday then, Magdalena answered.
- You don’t want me to sleep over to keep you company and leave early tomorrow morning?
Doña Clemencia asked.
- No, Clemencia. I am fine, thank you, Magdalena answered.
- It’s nothing, you know. Not like there is much for me to do at home, Doña Clemencia insisted.
- I thank you, but it won’t be necessary, Magdalena said.
- All right, as you wish. I will leave now then, but close all the doors, my dear girl, and the
windows, Doña Clemencia advised.
- I will. Good night, Clemencia, said Magdalena.
- Close them well. In case of, you know, vandals, she concluded as she pushed the swing door,
which oscillated a few times, as if to emphasize her indecision.
Author: Marisa Estelrich, Spain, 2009
English translation: Sylvie Froschl
Illustration: Catherine Beeckman