“How long since your Mamà died? May she rest in peace,” Blas said.
“Tres años. I went to her funeral three years ago,” Sal said. A painful memory of how badly he treated Mamà during the pilgrimage stuck with him. After they returned to Yuste a deadly fever took her life. Why did Blas have to mention her? If Blas wanted to relive dark memories, Sal could share plenty. “Ha, did I ever tell you who served communion in Santiago so many years ago? That demon, Brother Santana. You remember him?” Sal asked.
“I wish I could forget him, we all do,” Blas said. “You crashed in and saved me when Santana planned to give me special sanctions for service.” Sal made sure Blas never stayed alone with Brother Santana again. They avoided talking about it but kept watch over the younger boys until Brother Santana left their church in Yuste
“Yeah, now I know they just moved him to another parish,” Sal said. He remembered saving Blas from Santana, but he wondered if Blas really understood what Santana intended to do to him. “Brother Santana wasn’t the only bastard in Santiago. I kept watch on another sneaky Brother the whole trip.” He remembered the one good man, Brother Daniel. Why weren’t there more like him? No matter how disappointing the pilgrimage was, it held the first excitement in his life. He also recalled the Mendez sisters and the sailors in Santiago. As he walked with Blas, he glanced around his own shabby town, Yuste; a town so small they knew the names of all their neighbor’s dogs. Would he ever get away? The boys reached Sal’s house and discovered his Papá packing boxes and bags.
“Grab those tools. Leave the rest of this junk behind,” Papá said. “I’ve got a new job in Cadiz.” Sal never saw his Papá move so fast. He tossed everything in piles, anxious to get them moved out of the house.
“But, but what about Mamà’s stuff?” Sal asked. “You want me to leave it here?” Papá neve
r talked about Mamà’s death or let Sal talk about how much he missed her. Papá never talked about anything. “Estùpido. She’s not going to use it anymore,” Papá said. How coldly he spoke of Mamà. Why did he want to move five hundred kilometers south for some new job? Who did Papá know in Cadiz? Sal wanted to get out of Yuste too, but this unexpected news sounded suspicious. Is Papá running away from someone or something?
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