it’s the 15th of august 1979 at the local fiestas in the town of Mijas, Spain. the whole town is resplandent in white, which the locals assure you is a yearly tradition of painting all the buildings with whitewash in order to maintain a breezy microclimate during the scorching summer, yet you have your suspicions that really it is all a show for the tourists who started to trickle down to the south since 1976. you have the feeling that it’s also the reason the number of ragged famined donkeys lointering about the plaza mayor has more than tripled since the previous summer. northerners cannot cope with the heat of the afternoon so the locals pester the overheated visitors offering them a tour of the place. you see them smile and take pictures while their hair gets rousled by the salty wind mixed with the scent of wild bushes and donkey shit. the queue for cotton candy runs all the way behind the marroquinerias so that that stench of newly tanned leather gives way to sweet burnt sugar as those waiting turn the corner where Tomás eagerly tries to convince them to buy a little coin purse (it’s only 100 pesetas, after all). under an orange tree, there’s a little girl dangling and kicking her legs against the concrete planter. the forced lines between her eyes and around the lips make her look older but the two high ponytails on her head betray her age. she has the angry pose of someone who has already forgotten why exactly they are angry but are too proud to let the whole thing go. another little girl approaches her and the she crosses her arms and looks down to the ground. the new girl says a few words, rummages in her bright pink handbag and produces two shiny little wrappers. she looks at the new girl through her raised eyebrows and finally extends one arm and grabs one of the wrappers. without looking at each other, they unveil the prize and put it in their mouths. by the time the first bubbles begin to burst against the girl’s nose, they are both running around skidding between the bewildered adults and frightened donkeys, trying to avoid stepping on donkey droppings.
Published by Monica Palmero Fernández
Mónica is a current 3rd year PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology. Her research focuses on the figure of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar and the role her cult played at the time when writing developed alongside the establishment of administrative centres and the foundation of centralised structures of power, roughly around the 3rd millennium B.C. She is particularly interested in the dimension of gender and the issues associated with its interpretation, both at the theoretical level and in the context of the study of ancient Mesopotamian religion and cult. Before joining Reading University, she completed her studies at UCL and Cambridge University, and gained experience in the education and translation sectors. She has received a number of awards througout her career, and continues to balance her current doctoral work with her role as Warden Assistant and Academic Tutor, as well as carrying out freelance work in the translation and language learning sector. She is also engaged in widening the visibility of women in academia and regularly participates in a range of research committees across the university.