Big city

Every day at the same time, 5 pm to be more accurate, Mrs. Marie comes to drink tea at the Harries. Come in, greet everyone and sit, if possible, at the same table. Whoever is on duty that day, they know that for Mrs. Marie it is a chamomile tea with milk and a spoonful of honey. Which will be savored for thirty minutes. Neither more nor less. When the tea is over, she gets up and says goodbye. “Tomorrow I do not know if I’ll come back, but the tea was very good.”

Today is already past 5 pm and she has not appeared, yet. At Harries, no one has noticed. The coffee shop has been busy all day. There are tables to clean and customers still waiting to be served. I ask James by Mrs. Marie. (I read the name on the plaque that he brings on his chest). “Who? What?” Mrs. Marie, I reply. “I do not know you are you talking about”, tell me James, disinterested in my insistence.

Cities grow and people lose meaning. Today it was Mrs. Marie who lost the meaning of her life and decided to leave.

Mrs. Marie was found dead three days later when two volunteers from the animal association, of which she was a member for thirty years, came to her house to collect the annual fee.

Ana Rita Machado

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