Archive for August 5th, 2011

5th August
written by amber

A Healing

They lived above the grocery store, just three rooms for ten people and counted themselves lucky in this area which was little more than a colourful slum: Salvador de Bahia’s Pelhourinho district. His eldest son watched the vegetables in their bins along the street, the mandioca, the yams, the okra, the onions and potatoes every colour of the rainbow.

Alonso was third generation Brazilian, but he cultivated his Japanese accent. Customers seemed to think his produce was better if he was Oriental.

“Sing’s papayas are always the freshest,” they used to say, but not any longer. They were staying away, they were probably whispering to each other, “Sing’s mangos are as poxy as his hands. And have you seen the black spots on his garlic?”

The healer was his last chance. Manoel was respected in the neighbourhood, but he was a strange duck. He was reputed to have the ability to heal by the laying on of his hands but if he had such powers, why did he ply his curative skills in such a poor area and waste the few reals he earned at Nacib’s bar? Sing was a modern man – he didn’t believe in an unscientific approach. But science had done nothing for him – not the doctor, not the pharmacist, not the creams and powders he’d read about in the books at the University.

Humbled, nervous, he waited at the top of his stairs for Manoel.

The man was punctual, if obviously not at his best at this hour of the morning.

“Let me see your hands,” he requested, without preamble.

Alonso thrust both hands forward, the inflamed palms up. Did he imagine it or was there a tingle when the healer touched him?

“You’ll be fine by the end of the day,” Manoel predicted, not sounding boastful or even reassuring. Rather, he sounded tired.

Alonso dug into his pocket for the required payment, which the healer took without a word. As he started back down the steps, he turned and said, “And stop handling the oranges and grapefruits. You’ve developed an allergy to them.”

At the bottom of the stairs, he turned again and said, “Your mother – she doesn’t have to be in so much pain with her illness. I can help her.”

I think I’ve been wrong about many things, Alonso thought as he watched the healer trudge down the street.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story is set in Brazil, with some characters from my first novel, The Healer. You can be in the running to win a copy of this novel by entering my contest to vote for your favorite story from the first three months of the Story 365 project.