Eleanor approaches me one hot afternoon in May. I am watching the street from a chair that gives me backache. Safe in the shade. The heat like an armour around me that I can feel but cannot see. Close and intense, a humid 35 degrees. Eleanor has flecks on her face. Soft, caramel coloured flecks. The remnants of something she has eaten.
The next morning she asks at breakfast for bread with sugar. I am perplexed. ‘Like I had yesterday at my prima’s house,’ she explains. A sugar sandwich. Bread rolls filled with spoonfuls of sugar. The sugar melting into the bread with the heat. Yesterday’s flecks explained.
When I was four months pregnant with Eleanor I asked a friend what pregnant women in Cuba do when they have no food. Being pregnant there were days when my hunger consumed me, it was all I could think about. The response…
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