Total Word Count: Today's Word Count
‘I teach English,’ Kit said and Paco looked surprised. ‘Why?’ he asked after a pause....
Kit has arrived outside the village of Santa Carmen. He has been told that they do not welcome foreigners. He is deciding whether to pass by the village when he meets Paco....
A man with a donkey carrying panniers of kitchen ware came by and asked if he wanted to buy and Kit shook his head and said he had no need for pots. The man sat and pulled out a poron of the local wine which was slung across his shoulders and drank deeply then handed it to Kit. He managed to drink a little without spilling too much and the old man’s face cracked into a smile showing a young urchin full of hope and joy beneath the tapestry of sunburned pleats which his face had aged into. He slapped Kit on the back and asked where he was going.
‘Malaga. I have just come from Granada.’ The man who said his name was Paco, nodded sagely and looked out across the turquoise Mediterranean, and Kit offered him the chorizo and his penknife. Paco took a slice and pulled a small loaf from his bag; it was freshly made and smelt of yeast and salt and the sea. He broke it in half and gave half to Kit who accepted gratefully wondering what else he could offer in return and remembered the ripe figs he had gathered along the way. They sat side by side in silence for a while, chewing, sharing the figs and passing the poron back and forth and the donkey, whom Paco referred to as Burro, chomped the sparse vegetation around them.
‘Granada. It is a long way to come.’ Paco said thoughtfully. Kit nodded not knowing if he should say anything else, but Paco continued. ‘Malaga is a long way to go.’ He added sagely, and drank again and passed the poron back to Kit. Then he shook his head. ‘I have never been there.’ He said it simply as a statement and Kit nodded again, waiting to see how things would turn. ‘So what do you do in Granada and Malaga?’ he asked the stranger beside him.
‘I teach English,’ Kit said and Paco looked surprised.
‘Why?’ he asked after a pause and Kit smiled to himself and didn’t really know the answer. It was clear that until he got to Malaga or at least Almuñecar along the coast, there would be little need for his skills and his few pesetas he had been saving would have to last.
‘English eh? I do hear some strange things on my travels around these villages,’ Paco said and a smaller version of the smile was back, struggling to escape his thick black moustache.
‘Oh yes?’ said Kit, neutrally. ‘What sort of things?’
‘Politics. Change. Things are changing out there,’ and he waved a hand at the hills around them. ‘That lot, in the village down there, what do they know about anything?’ and he laughed again, drank from the poron and drained it. ‘So how long are you staying my friend?’ he asked slapping Kit on the back. The wine was stronger than Kit had realised and the slap made his vision slightly blurred and his head felt woozy. He thought he needed more water and to get in from the sunshine. Below, the village was becoming quieter and Paco moved over to a shrub to relieve himself. There was very little shelter here and Kit would need to find some shade. Paco indicated for Kit to follow and took up Burro’s rope.
‘You come with me. It is time to sleep. The sun is no friend at this time of the day,’ and so Kit came down the hillside into Santa Carmen and entered the deserted streets of siesta wondering what kind of reception he would get.