Playing football in the moonlit field
Emilia returns in the late afternoon. The heat is even more unbearable. With Willy at her breast, and Pablo and Martha clutching her skirts, Emilia goes to the river to wash some clothes and cool off in the cold water under the bridge.
6:00. The sun has set behind the mountains and the full moon is on the rise. After their beans, the men go to play football in the moonlit field while the women visit from shack to shack with their babies on their arms. All over the world, in places where there is no electricity, families take advantage of this extension of natural light.
7:30. Full moon or not, it’s bedtime for the smallest children. Emilia lights the house by placing a burning wooden stick from the fire in the middle of the dirt floor. She lifts Pablo into the hammock which hangs over the two beds and covers Martha, who always protests at this point. As for Willy, he is already asleep in his parents’ bed, his fists tightly clenched.
9:00. Juan returns to the uncomfortable car seat and quickly falls asleep, oblivious for now to his mother’s voice, which can be heard as she lies in bed telling her husband about the afternoon’s meeting. As they drift off to sleep, Martha begins to cry. Her life has been tough since Willy was born. She had to give up her place in her parents’ bed and go and sleep with Jose. She can’t snuggle up to her brother they way she could to her mother. “I have to go,” wails Martha. “Get up, go, and get back into bed,” says her mother from the next bed. Sniffing, Martha gets up, squats on the dirt floor at the end of her bed, and lies down again. Her crying has awakened Willy, who needs only to nuzzle at his mother’s breast to fall back to sleep.