Monday, April 25, 2011


Jonathon stood outside the entrance to his family's Granada villa. The exterior wall was plain, covered in  a smooth, fine, creamy stucco. One stout, oaken door, stained dark red and girded with wrought iron bands broke the plain, featureless expanse. He touched it and traced a pattern across the wood. to the thick frame. It was there. The mezzuzah (prayer holder) was still there. What does it look like? Well, picture a little Bic lighter, but made from heavy silver. And inside is an old, small piece of rolled parchment, bearing some holy writ and a reminder to the householders that believers live  within. You know the Biblical passage that goes - Bind them (God's blessings and teachings) to the door posts of your house...? This is that. The 'young' vampire garped when he saw it, for he remembered the day his grandfather put it up. But how could that be? Silver ages. It tarnishes and ultimately wears away. Yet it was still here. He turned to the guide for explanation. The quiet man said one word - Reproduction.....And Jonathon understood. He saw the small, brass plaque off to the side and  read the words.....Tenth century villa. Jewish Quarter, Old Granada. Open for inspection 10am to 4pm weekdays...His home was a museum, a frozen representation of Spanish life long gone. He looked up. The same rounded mediterranean tiles graced the roofline, softly reflecting moonlight as they did on nights gone by......He spoke - There used to be a little cage, not so little actually, that hung by the door. My mother always kept some exotic bird in there. It was a very...Andalician 'thing.'.....I suppose the caretakers never got around to that. And during the day, the quarter was always cool. The narrow, carefully paved public streets never let down too much sun. That was reserved for our interior plaza. There was a fountain in the middle. Is it still there?...The guide nodded and said - Almost everything is as it was. Would you like to go in?........How can I? - asked Jonathon. It's late. They're closed.......Sublimate - said the man....Jonathon sighed and whispered - I'd actually forgotten the last one thousand years........Go - said the guide. and fear not, for the watchman is one of us. Probably dozing at that. Go. I will wait......So Jonathon reached out for Sarah's hand. And together they disappeared into a glittering aura and stepped back into the proud, Iberian past.......They condensed. His vampire eyes sliced through  the gloom. Tiny, dim, orange electric lights, made to resemble candles, rested here and there. Huge clay pots held thick, green palms and other cooling specimens. Water trickled down the multi-layered fountain. Heavy, rustic benches and lounges provided respite. During the day they were covered with thick, plush, colorful pillows. And a monkey or two used to scamper about....No, that was then, not now....Sarah whispered - It's beautiful...It's, It's like something out of Aladdin......You mean the Arabian Nights fable? - he said.......No, like the Disney movie.- she responded......He laughed. And she appoligized for saying the wrong thing. But he hugged her and was grateful..  They walked through opulent chambers and historic galleries. Sure enough, the old watchman was sleeping, snug against an alabaster pillar, fashioned in a spiral style known as 'Solomonica.' ....Then Jonathon quietly said - Come, there's something I'd like to show you........

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