I carry my years without submitting to the regimen of time and its chronology of dates and seasons. I recognize myself living, hands outstretched, in the shade of the almond tree, with white hair and staring eyes unconcerned with the passing hours.
My tree and I have entwined our ages in the absurdity of the days. I stride from chapel to chapel between masses.
I find refuge there from the filthiness of existence.
I imagine lives never exposed to the flavors of ripe mangoes and cherries in June, or to mild, starry nights and clear mornings, or to moments dissolving like hot, tender walnuts under the tongue.
All by myself I invented a yearning for the myths and legends behind the featureless face of the one who brought me into the world.
I survived with just enough nourishment to avoid dying from malnutrition, just enough hygiene to avoid succumbing to dysentery, typhoid and other infections that fill the space around us, just enough breath to not find myself six feet under. I have no memory of the belly I came from.