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peaches—speaks; it is the envelope that contains his

provisional pardon, the one he didn’t want me to take with

us. Our daughter’s things speak, as she reencounters them

and associates them with her father.“Look, this is the book

Papà gave me on Thursday.”

One of the things that impresses me the most these days is

being able to say “Thursday.” It’s still not necessary to say

“that Thursday”: Last Thursday is right here, so close, yet so

inaccessible. “He gave you one of his books?” I ask my

daughter. He never gave away his books; he was generous

with everything except the books that had become his: He

knew them, was intimate with them, and he didn’t like the

idea of lending them. When he wanted to recommend one,

he preferred to buy it rather than lend his.

But he couldn’t refuse his daughter. She’d fallen in love

with one of those little old books from the Crisol collection,

a book by Juan Luis Vives published by Aguilar in 1944. I

suppose it was because it was tiny and bound in red leather.

It couldn’t have been because of the title,

La mujer

cristiana. De los deberes del marido. Pedagogía pueril


Christian Woman. Duties of a Husband. Child Pedagogy].

Last Thursday we heard her reading the beginning of it out

loud: “The feminism of Luis Vives in the Valencia of the

Edetan people, and later of El Cid, and then of Don Jaime

the Conqueror, who purged it of the impunity of the

Hagrites . . .” Later, we heard her howling like a ravenous

little dog, as she often does, until he went to get her some