Both Pilar and Mercedes lived with their parents. Pilar worked at a factory that fabricated items out of shells for tourists. She dismissed her work with a wave of her hand - what she really liked was animals, zoology, photography. Mercedes worked for the local newspaper in the publicity department. All day she drove around using her golden voice to persuade people to place advertisements. She knew everyone in the city. Mercedes was full of disquiet and nervous energy, focused down into getting her own way but at the same time not offending anyone. Mercedes always wanted to stay out for one more drink. Pilar held Mercedes on a loose rein that eventually Mercedes would entangle herself in. Dragged out of her calm, Pilar would shout abruptly and sort everything out until it was smooth again.

I believe Pilar and Mercedes were together all the time they weren't working. Sally and I wondered about the extent to which they were a couple, but came to no conclusion. The boundaries around things seemed to be set in different places here. We could become better and better friends without some of the normal signs of intimacy in English - like never seeing where Pilar worked or the inside of Mercedes house, like not knowing or asking about sexuality. And class - class seemed different - like some ideal socialist state where factory worker, newspaper professional and teachers all existed in a common society. In Spain, the waiters could go out and eat at restaurants similar to the ones they worked in. In Spain, lunch started between 2 and 4, dinner between 9 and 11. In Spain...

We were young, women, friends. I remember we went out to a disco and fairly soon young men came to ask Sally to dance. And we told them that she not only had a wooden leg, but was also going into a convent the next day.

We were young, women, friends. I remember we were having coffee and the waiter brought me over a love note and indicated it was from a young man who was just then leaving. It was a poem to my brown eyes. My eyes were not brown. Of course Mercedes hunted him down through the nightclubs and rushed to introduce him to me, much to our mutual discomfort.

We were young, women, friends.

Other memories jogged by this photo. Further memories. This Photo. All the Photos

On Being a Foreigner

Alternate Navigation Strategies

Photos in Chronological Order


Map/Diagram of Story Elements