Seasonably, but unusually, cold and overcast. On the way to the convent a man sitting on a doorstep prophetically asked if I was from Australia. Later it occurred to me that I must have met him before, and that our last conversation ended the same way, with me saying nice to meet you in Spanish and hurrying off.
The waiting room at the convent had a green parrot sitting on top of a birdcage. The teenage assistant explained in English the charge was a tip now and a tip later to the guide. My tour was to be in English.
The elderly guide showed his party of one the mimosa plants that grow with brown thorns in the shape of a cross and small bumps where Jesus was crucified. We inspected the water system fed by the aqueduct, the above ground rainwater tank filled with meters of black water, the massive chimney that gathered the smoke of all kitchen fires into one vent. Afterwards I looked at the mimosa thorn artifacts for sale at the gift shop.
In the evening we went to eat fondue, drink red wine and listen to jazz in a converted fabric factory.
This day my teacher showed my photos of the current president’s Brady-bunch style family. I have heard rumours that he killed his former wife: an interviewer asked him how she died and he replied something like ‘oh, well, you know, she was sick and then she died…’.
This afternoon my friend worked from home so we went for crepes.
I finished reading Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, a book of tender feminine hopes. The mother says to Meg ‘To be loved and chosen by a good man is the best and sweetest thing which can happen to a woman, and I sincerely hope my girls may know this beautiful experience’.
At the wedding ‘Upon my word, here’s a state of things!’ cried the old lady… ‘You oughtn’t to be seen till the last minute, child.’ ‘I’m not a show, Aunty, and no one is coming to stare at me, to criticize my dress, or count the cost of my luncheon. I’m too happy to care what anyone says or thinks, and I’m going to have my little wedding just as I like it. John, dear, here’s your hammer.’ And away went Meg to help ‘that man’ in his highly improper employment.
My friend had written to me that the feeling of someone else choosing to love you is probably the nicest feeling there is. So it seems a violence to squash it once allowed to flourish despite whatever the error. Seeker Lover Keeper has a modern attitude in the song If the night is dark: ‘I might be right, I might be wrong, but I have no regrets to lean upon’.