IT WAS COLD and dark, but she did not shiver nor was she afraid.
She was dead, lying inside a refrigerated cubicle in the morgue of the Hospital Popular in Los Santos, Mexico. She had died yesterday after weeks of silent suffering and waiting, waiting for this day and death.
Her children visited most every day, but not yesterday, the day she died. They should have been notified, of course, but perhaps the staff was rushed or maybe it was a clerical error. But here she sprawled inside the cubicle, alone.
The cubicle door opened, and the drawer on which she lay rolled out into the cutting room. Though it would be bright there, she remained in darkness, and the cold did not go away, though it did not bother her. She heard gasps of her two daughters, Gertrudis and Lupita.
Then she was pushed back into the drawer.
Time passed. She had no way of gauging it, and it did not matter anyway. But then the cubicle door opened, and she was pulled once more into the cutting room. There was Father Ignacio. He spoke in the tongue of the old Romans and she felt his hand on her head.
She opened her eyes. The blackness had turned to a baby-blue light, and another hand was on her head. It was Manuel, her husband of 42 years who died long ago. He smiled, and he was young again. And so was she.
And it was warm, like the constant springtime of Cuernavaca.