Summer Bells / Jhortensia Espineta Osuna

From Sampsonia Way Magazine

El Sexto
El Sexto

By Jhortensia Espineta Osuna | Translated by Alison Macomber

Dunia, your daughter, doesn’t leave her room, or the room that you both share and that you all shared with your mom and your grandmother until they decided to die last June, one after the other, so August wouldn’t remove the liquid that remained between their skin and bones.

Through the window, the neighborhood parades by, wearing their Sunday clothes. Others only pass with their nylon bags to begin the week with whatever is in the bag.

It’s the end of the month; you’re trapped between the window and the cracks on the floor where the ants have made small colonies. The living room is large, with only corroded furniture, incapable of filling the territory. The painted wall exhibits your title “Doctor of Medicine,” along with your white coat and your stethoscope. The three things hang on the thickness of the adobe wall of lime and cement.

You don’t move from where you stand and you look at the old man with the dog on the front sidewalk. Since his son arrived, the old man is in better condition. His ribs are no longer visible underneath his skin, and maybe he doesn’t need to kill cockroaches at night, filling the floor with insects and gobs of spit.

You still haven’t moved from this spot; you continue standing there between the cracks on the floor. The old man pets the dog’s belly as he lifts his leg and urinates on the wall.

‒Bringing that dog here cost two thousand dollars!

Your whisper surprises you and you look out the window.

The old man enters behind the dog, and then he closes the door behind him.

‒A dog!

The old man’s son arrived in a car one night, filling the block with noise and music. When he left, he was just a boy lacking many aspirations other than seeing his father killing cockroaches and spitting everywhere. Now he is a mixture of grease and odors; with him he brought a fat woman as greasy and odorous as he and they filled the house with furniture capable of holding him, his fat woman, and an entire family of smelly, obese white people.


The publication of this story is part of Sampsonia Way Magazine’s “CUBAN NEWRRATIVE: e-MERGING LITERATURE FROM GENERATION ZERO” project, in collaboration with Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo, and a collection of authors writing from Cuba. You can read this story in Spanish here, and other stories from the project, here.