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Barcelona 1938



(The prompt was a woman shrouded in black from head to foot, standing with her back to us against a pock-marked brick wall.)

For a moment I thought he was there. My son, my dear son - so brave and so young to die.

I placed my hand on the pitted wall against which he stood when they shot him. The bricks were cold and rough, not at all like his soft tender skin. I felt the thud and shock of the bullets as they pierced him and I thought I would die too. I did not and that is the greatest pain of all.

He was always a rebellious boy and a true patriot. Every holiday he would get the flag from the closet in his bedroom and hang it from the windowsill that overlooked the street below. It would wave there in the sun for all to see as the band marched by. We would go to the square, he and I, and listen to the Mayor and the Generals. Then we would go to the graveyard of the patriots and place flowers on all the graves. My husband was there, somewhere... in an unmarked grave.

... and now my son is gone. The Mayor and the Generals are gone too, but all that matters to me is the loss of my son. It is the destiny of all wives and mothers in this tortured land of ours. We marry and we give birth astride of the grave.

The End

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