In The Dark

La Voz de Galicia – December 27, 2019 →

Cristina PatoMaruxa didn’t feel like going grocery shopping with us. I tried to persuade her in thousands of ways, but because it was four in the afternoon, and she was half asleep, I thought it best for her to stay since nothing much could happen in half an hour or so.

We left her on the couch, with the radio and the wood-burning stove on. Xan and I left to get Christmas dinner, and in less than twenty minutes, I began to receive messages from my sister Raquel: «Where is your electrical panel? Mami has no power and is searching around in the dark.» Our mother and the cell phone understand each other just enough; basically, she presses the last number she called, and thank God that in this case, this number was my sister’s.

When we turned back, we saw that the whole village, indeed the whole county, had lost electricity. At 5:30 pm, at 7 kilometers from Ourense, dark night prevented us from seeing anything but the sound of the wind on the fallen branches. Once home, we lit «regular» candles all over the house, but as no power returned, at midnight we lit the candles of Our Lady of This and Our Lady of That that my sister Yoli brings when she goes on pilgrimage with Maruxa.

Now, this has passed. We spent thirty hours without electricity, but there are still villages dealing with power supply problems related to Storm Fabien. And I, seeing the sun now shining, and wishing to forget the past rainy days, don’t want to forget that, according to the media, of the 60,000 Galician homes that were left without power, about 30,000 regained it half a day later, and 17,000 spent at least a day without it, of which 8,500 were homes in the forgotten and battered rural area of Ourense. And I wonder how the elderly living in these, our rural areas, have spent these days without power; those elderly who, unlike my mother, no longer have anyone to call.

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