In Galiza.

I bought this land without words. Witlessly I negotiated down the price of a house and land in a country I’d never heard of. I thought I was in Spain but Spain is an English word. I’d learned España from a book but España is a word for people who believe in España. I get ahead of myself. I, wielding the few Spanish short course words I had, stood before him speechless; my partner beside me with fewer words than I. The numbers I understood: quince mil, fifteen thousand, but he saw our doubt. With a faceful of weary wrinkles he blurted trece mil, thirteen thousand. He had some shrewdness to him. He’d allowed us to camp over on the land for a long weekend, clear our own paths in its wordless wildness and fall completely in love with it. And now he wanted us to buy it. Thirteen thousand euros is a good price. I didn’t know what to say. I stuttered and looked at Andru who shrugged. Sure; we’d probably take it for thirteen thousand. We probably would have taken it for fifteen; we were just nervous about committing there and then. I looked into the void for words; there was nothing. My tongue had been torn out; my mouth, hollow. The tools I was raised with to communicate were useless. This wrinkled, weary anarchist ready to be rid of the land panicked: doce mil, he said. Twelve thousand. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. He wrung his hands nervously and then, after a wordless pause, raised both of his hands, fingers splayed— each finger representing a thousand euros: diez mil. Ten thousand.
Shocked, we shook on it.
Continue reading In Galiza.