Pin called out, “36! The lamb goes to Maruxa, Dositeo’s wife!” And suddenly Maruxa’s face crumpled, mixing tears that barely allowed her eyes to close with a radiant smile. She has spent all her life playing number 36—in the Spanish Christmas lottery, in the Spanish Mega Ball known as the Primitiva…but as it happens in most of these cases, she had spent all her life without winning a single prize. But at that moment, her face expressed infinite joy, whether because of the prize itself (a live lamb) or because her name had been again intertwined with my father’s, I don’t know. Its been fifteen years since she became widowed, and this, the feast of Armariz had been the most important celebration of the year for my father.
We were in the village, and for the first time in many years, all the women in the family managed to gather together to celebrate these feast days. We had even managed to take my mother to the festival grounds so she could dance for a little while…And then, between one song and then another, the commission in charge of the festivities took the stage to grant awards, but before that, they began to call out raffle numbers and their corresponding prizes. And this was how my favorite scene of the year—the most thrilling—began.
At the start of this, the last month of the year, I try to think about the things I want to carry with me moving forward and about the things not worthy to be remembered. December is already here, and those verses of Cernuda that I memorized twenty years ago seem more relevant than ever: “I know that alone, bored / Of being alive and remaining dead, / You pass the time, or time passes you by / Without meaning to.”
With time and when things go wrong, one learns to shrug off those things which weigh down heavily and retain only those moments that fill our eyes with the tears of a radiant smile. Like Maruxa’s.
What have we done with our time this year?