When He Just Stopped - Jennifer Baljko

Oriol sat down at the table. Picking up his pa amb tomaquet, he flipped to the story about the Barça soccer team winning the European League championship. He made a mental note to clip the story and send it to Cesc. Maybe that would make things better between them. Oriol skimmed the other headlines. Out of the corner of his eye he caught a glimpse of a picture of a funeral scene, and that’s when he just stopped, his hand holding tomato-slathered toast suspended in mid-air. His eyes may have been staring at photo, but everything in him raced back 20 years to that scene.

He saw the face of Juan’s mother getting out of the black sedan, draped in black, elegant and put together, but her face did little to cover her heartbreak. Oriol had gone to each of the memorial services. He wasn’t wanted there, and he knew he couldn’t face the families, not yet at least. He hid himself best he could from their gatherings, and lingered in the faraway corners hoping none of them would recognize him as the man who killed their loved one.

“Oriol? Are you still in the kitchen?” Rosa called from her sewing room. “Could you bring me the scissors? I left them on the counter.”

Oriol put down his bread, folded the paper, stood up, and headed for the door.

“I’m going out,” Oriol said.

“Could you bring me the scissors first? I’m in the middle of a hem,” Rosa asked.

“No.” Oriol slammed the door behind him.