Mom said it was weird that Edelmiro hadn’t return from the fields yet. She still hadn’t really adjusted to her novel role in this new part of the world where she was living. She was actually genuinely worried about Edelmiro, but she didn’t even know whether she had the right to feel so. After all, they weren’t even a couple. She didn’t ever talk to me about that, but I guessed she felt something for him and the other men on the island looked a little too “rural” for her taste.
I liked Edelmiro very much and if he wasn’t to be my new dad, I really didn’t want any other man to live with us. A woman doesn’t necessarily have to live with a man to form a family. I think that if mom had thought like me, we wouldn’t have suffered so much with dad. But that is the past. I erased those thoughts from my mind and walked away, as I had agreed to meet Moneiba and Luisa at their house to spend the afternoon together.
I left the asphalt road and, taking a detour, I headed down a rocky path that led to my friend’s farm. They were outside the house sitting at the swings and reading magazines. We laughed a lot, talking about pop singers, sometimes trying to imitate their way of singing. The girls led me inside the house to a room that their parents used for storage and began to open old cardboard boxes as well as antique chests from which they took out old hats and clothes. The smell of dust and humidity made me sneeze a lot, but we kept trying on those old pieces of apparel.
There were men and women’s clothes, elegant dresses for fiestas, more traditional folky suits, military uniforms, women’s underwear, corsets, very old and dirty alpargatas made for the peasants, classy men’s suits, satin vests, traditional Spanish peinetas, funny dresses for the carnival (carnivals are a big thing in the Canary Islands), fancy masks and also all sorts of accessories like shoes, wallets, lady’s bags, traditional woolen Canary bags, pocket watches with silver chains and lots more things I cannot remember.
We had a lot of fun putting all those clothes on and simulating all sorts of crazy scenes and stories that came out of our minds. I had never had the chance to lay my hands on items so ancient. There was like a kind of magic with antique handcrafted objects. I enjoyed playing with the girls, who never ceased to come up with new ideas about plots or events that we could act out. I think we were role playing for hours, but I noticed there was a remaining chest that we hadn’t open yet. “I don’t remember whether we have opened that one before,” said Moneiba. “Me neither, but let’s take a look!” replied Luisa.
Inside were old women’s clothes, black, like those that crones used to wear in El Hierro. Like the ones tia Amalia used to wear! “Hey, this is tia Amalia’s stuff!!” said Luisa, jumping back, as if a bolt had just touched her. “We shouldn’t be looking into her things girls, just close it!” she continued. But Moneiba was more adventurous, “Well, since it is already open, we could just have a quick look and then leave all things as we found them. She’s never going to find out.” “Oh God, tia always finds out…” Moneiba kept on digging into the chest, taking out all sorts of things like pictures, postcards with scenes from Cuba, very old beauty items, underwear, and a miscellanea of things. Then, as Moneiba approached the bottom of the chest, she started to find more bizarre things like animals’ legs and claws, several seeds and dried herbs, a few bones difficult to identify, stones, and what seemed to be human hair. We were a little nervous about our findings but hadn’t worried until we found what seemed to be six rusty iron needles, about five inches long. Moneiba was like crazy about her finding, “Do you know what this is for?” “Tia Amelia´s puppet,” said Luisa with a sigh.
Moneiba ran out of the room, and we followed her. Luisa was very scared and told her sister to leave the needles where we found them and not to mess with tia’s stuff. I think Moneiba just couldn’t hear her sister’s warnings. We stopped in front of tia Amalia´s door. The adventurous twin put her ear to the crack beneath the door and after a short while opened it and entered. She kneeled down in front of tia´s bed and started to search beneath it. She found a few things but not what she wanted. Then she felt around underneath the bed and found something soft attached to the bed’s base with masking tape. She pulled it out – a very rough, slightly sinister puppet. It seemed quite old and wasn’t intended to look realistic or even cozy enough for children to play. It was obvious that the thing wasn’t a toy for kids. We walked out of the room and closed the door behind us.
Luisa was terrified now, “Are you mad? What do you think you are doing? You don’t know what you are messing with!” “You shut up silly girl, always ruining the fun. Do you really think that witchcraft exists?” Even though it existed, I didn’t even know how such a thing works… “Hey, is there anyone you hate or something?” – She laughed like mad. “Actually, this thing is really ugly, don’t you think?” “Well, actually I don’t think that thing is for girls to play with,” I dared to add. “Really? Because now we are going to play with it a little bit…” “I think I’m going to tell mum and dad,” said Luisa. “You shouldn’t threaten me, at least not while I’ve got this thing in my hands.” I didn’t find the fun in this business anymore. It was getting scarier by the moment.
“Now we are going to make a circle with salt as I’ve seen them do in the movies…”
We couldn’t make Moneiba change her mind. She was totally focused on her ritual. I didn’t think she knew what she was doing but the whole thing scared me anyway. However, neither Luisa nor me dared to leave as we were curious about the outcome of Moneiba’s ritual.
She completed her circle with salt, drew some invented signs inside, filled a glass with water, sat inside grabbing the puppet and began to stab it with needles. “See? Nothing happens. It is just a silly puppet and this is just a game. Witchcraft doesn’t exist you silly girls!” We could feel our tensed muscles ease some. She cleaned it all up, and we smiled in relief.
We decided we were going to put everything back in its place, and we would keep on playing another day. As we walked out of the room, we heard a crash. We went back in, and the glass had smashed to pieces, with the water spilled all over the floor.
2021: Conceived – Volume 2 of a Contemporary Transadaptation
January: The Pack – Alejandra Baccino (Uruguay)
February: The Pink Shirt – Talia Stotts (America)
March: Dragging the Past out into the Light – Kate Korneeva (Russia)
April: Looking Forward to Spring – Marilin Guerrero Casas (Cuba)
May: Every Little Thing – Gennady Bondarenko (Ukraine)
June: The Girl Who Chased the Rainbow – Toni Wallis (Sarah-Leah Pimentel) (South Africa)
July: Another World – Jonay Quintero Hernandez (Spain)
August: Life after Nare – Nane Sevunts (Armine Asryan) (Armenia)
September: Meeting My Homeland – Rayan Harake (Lebanon)
October: Catching Water (Part Two) – Javier Gomez (Argentina)
November: Remember – Seyit Ali Dastan (Turkey)
December: Los Caminantes – Veronica Cordido (Venezuela)
Background – Context
In the Middle – Prelude to a Contemporary Transadaptation, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2020)
Peripatetic Alterity: A Philosophical Treatise on the Spectrum of Being – Romantics and Pragmatists by Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
La Syncrétion of Polarization and Extremes Transposée, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2019)
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2018)
L’anthologie of Global Instability Transpuesta, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2017)
From Wahnsinnig to the Loony Bin: German and Russian Stories Transposed to Modern-day America, (eds.) Angelika Friedrich, Yuri Smirnov and Henry Whittlesey (2013)
Emblems and stories on the international community
Perception by country – Transposing emblems, articles, short stories and reports from around the world
Cover photo: El Hierro, Spain – Road – Salvador Aznar (Shutterstock)
Source: The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed