A short story by Tomás Borrás
Translated by Viola Ann Rosario, Tiare Rubio and Karen Rodriguez, #BeCosMelb
The gods shared a secret with the mother: “As long as you feed the flame of that bonfire, your son will live”. And the mother, tireless, kept the fire alive, watching the fire, not allowing the fire to diminish in intensity or height.
Just like that, the years went by. The mother knelt before the hearth, seeing how the embers stretched their scarlet, joyful arms, guaranteeing her son’s vitality. Sleepless, hour after hour, the mother added new logs to the hot pile, wakefully watching its beautiful heat.
One day, through an open door that faced the fields, a young white lady entered, smiling and beautiful, sure footed, with eyes that looked with delight and hope towards the future. Without a word, the young lady helped the surprised mother to get up, nodded goodbye, and knelt before the hearth, to feed the crackling fire.
The mother didn’t question. She understood the young lady was her replacement. She needed to give up her place to a stranger, the one who was in charge from then on, to feed the eternal flame so her son could survive.
And, without a word, the mother left the house, but she didn’t go far away – just where she could discreetly contemplate the delicate smoke dissolving into the delicate blue sky.