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Olya Stoyanova


Her name is Maria, 50-years old, unsmiling, unemployed, hardly walking, but she still believes in miracles. So, when volunteers from all over the world appear in the poorest part of Lisbon and paint the fence of her shabby house at Rua do Rio Corgo 18 white, she takes it as a miracle.

She points brooch of Christ on the Cross, pinned to her collar and thanks them profoundly. She wants to tell the angels that she deserves such goodness: Maria is poor, but never misses a Mass, feeds the stray dogs, sometimes pets the stray cats; and never swears...

She could tell a lot about the trials and tribulations, mountains of words built up during all those years of silence, but the volunteers do not speak her language. These heralds of the other world are mysteriously silent, only distributing justice with their brushes, covering everything with white paint – from moss and water stains on the fence to her own grievances. Like fish scales, rotten parts of the stucco are scraped down in the angels' feet and white paint erases everything bad.

And Maris smiles more and more. Oh, not because of the new paint on the fence, nothing is that simple - the point is, miracles happen right here, in the outskirts of the city, right on her street. Yet, Maria doesn't quite get it... why these boys and girls put the same enthusiastic effort into painting the fence of Rua do Rio Corgo 24? Don't they know that another Maria lives there, a Maria, who has no faith and, thus, never doubts and questions anything?

But Maria is silent, doesn't voice that, and only observes the work of the skillful angels, these handymen of retribution, who mercilessly scrape down old paint, rotten stucco, moss, and whitewash. She keeps silent so as not to break the miracle. Keep quiet, for miracles are fragile. Keep quiet, because God is more merciful than we deserve...



© Olya Stoyanova
© Vesselin Vesselinov, Craig Hasbrouck - translated from bulgarian
© E-magazine LiterNet, 01.09.2017, № 9 (214)