It was a cold day at the end of March, the sky was already dark, and the intense wind
hit the windows producing a peculiar and quite spooky sound.
I sat down on a soft, maroon sofa which spreads along all the living room. For a moment I stopped to observe the outside through the enormous windows located at the back part of the room. The sky was still murky, and was only lighted by the yellowish light of the street lights.
-Can I ask you a few questions for an Ethics project?
For a short period of time she stayed still, swinging mildly in her wheelchair, looking at the front:-Of course you can.- she answered smiling.- what are those questions about?
-Some questions about the civil war.- I answered while I uncapped my pen.
-The civil war…- I can distinguish grief and fear in her voice.- But I do not want anyone to do anything to me, I have many things to tell and someone could want to hurt me for these things…-
-Who will want hurt you?- I asked a bit disconcerted.
-You can never know, the Francoist or those from that new left wing political party, the ones of Podemos. Those young people have a lot of hate inside.
-But grandma, people from Podemos are not going to do anything to hurt you, be calm.- I said
smiling.- Feel free to tell anything you want, and if you believe it is necessary, I can define you as anonymous.
She starts answering me with her main data, like the date of her birth, 1931; and her age, 84.
She tells me that when the war started she lived in Cartagena, a harbour town where she was born and lived during her childhood. Cartagena became one of the most important European harbours by the end of the war and there she suffered bombings, lasting one of them for over three hours. From this fact she extracted her first anecdote; she explains to me that when she was just four years old, at the beginning of the war, she can remember a night of horror and bombings. She was hidden inside a big bed, with other children, sons of friends and family; when a bomb felt down in the building next to that house. Plunged into terror, as the other kids, she stayed hidden. At that very moment, a big clock felt on the bed making them more and more scared.
-Can you remember anything else?- I ask with interest.
She talks about a bridge guarded by republican soldiers, that despite the fact that she and her brothers where known as those of the “national band”, because of their maternal family, they used to play with them letting them, play with their gas masks and giving them ranch lentels, without thinking of their political band. Just thinking in the cruel reality, that they where helping innocent kids sheltering them from the war.
-Wow, it is a really beautiful story.- I say happily.- Do you remember any kid that was involved in war?
She talks to me about a man known as “Chipé”, who trained kids for doing registers.
These kids used to break into her house and threaten her with the intention of discovering the
whereabouts of her uncle and father, both of them of the republican band. She remembers how they beat and pulled her hair and their siblings as well.
-Tell me something about your family, anything you can remember.-
She talks about her uncle, a priest, and her godfather; both of the national band. She claims that both of them were executed by republican soldiers. She also talks to me about her father, with sadness and melancholy. She tells me that he was a member of the republican band, and had to be always hiding and running away, as he was pursued by the national band. He finally was arrested and after being released, he fought at the front as a mobilized.
She also mentions another uncle, of the republican band, major of a village. He helped many
nationals to be released and get saved from death; for these actions, years later, he was deported to Madrid with orders of not seeing his family anymore and never to come back; nevertheless, he escaped some nights to see his family and returned to Madrid before dawn so as not to be discovered. If he had not saved so many lives, without thinking in bands or ideals, he would have been executed at the end of the civil war.
-Wars hurt.- she says answering to my last question.- it is not worth suffering so much for a political reason. Wars only kill, they face brothers to brothers, they ruin peace and illusion.