Saturday, 21 June 2014

'The Saint's Day' by Simon Williams

Juanì opened the single tap. The pipes shook the loose tiles above the bath, covering the sound of the drums welcoming the saint’s day. Thin clay water poured, then cleared and began to swirl the red dust away. 

Juanì fit the broken tile onto the grate and the bath began to fill. Thin dust rose and fell in waves in the water. It sparkled in the light between the roof and the wall and settled in forbidden river beach patterns. When the fresh welcoming water was deeper, the sand would feel reassuring beneath his feet.

The water crashed down like the Angeles cascade, a twisting splitting splashing rope. The tank on the roof must be nearly empty with the rains now so close. Sweat washed streams of dirt from Juanì’s forehead, his temples, and he wiped it away, shook his fingers away from the bath. The water was nearly enough.

He closed the tap and the clear water slowly stilled, a single green filament of weed settling on the rippled sands around the grate. 

Juanì pulled off his father’s shirt and his brother’s shorts and stepped into the water. He saw his feet, his ankles, his shins, his calves darken. He sat down, closed his eyes. He stretched out and lay below the water, bubble breathed out through his nose. The drums of the saint’s day grew louder and became the drumming of his mother’s fists on the door. 

The door swung open and slammed against the bath. His mother’s mouth was open, black. The rain on the iron roof drowned out her cries, begging forgiveness from the saint, begging him to give back what only he could. The golden red fish hung, nearly motionless, in the clear still water, eyes blank.

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