Delete Number? Press “OK”

Poignancy: sadness, regret or sorrow.

It doesn’t visit often but its unwelcome intrusions can mar even the happiest of times. Happy holidays, childhood events and meetings with best friends all have in common the ability to be ended in a moment by a forgotten torment or unexpected news.

Arriaolos is a small town in Alentejo, Portugal. It’s beautiful. Friendly people, cutesy buildings, craft sellers and cafes. But most of all rugs. Embroidered, woven by hand from local wool. Each a testament to generations of skill. In fact, while I was there a rug festival took place. Houses and buildings were festooned with rugs and carpets, stalls and food sellers gave the town a medieval feel of innocence, happiness and contentment. The sun was shining. A perfect storm of well-being.

We walked back from the town to the Pousada nearby. A dusty road with donkey carts and a myriad of skinny rabbits darting through the sun-dried grass.

My wife went to the room to explore the offerings of the spa while I took my camera to the chapel adjacent to this 16th Century convent. The cool, calmness inside contrasted with the heat of the Alentejo plains outside. I always use my phone camera to take quick composition checks and hit the buttons to rock and roll.

My last numbers list popped up. Half way down it was my recently deceased mum’s home number.

What to do? Should I keep it forever? Should I delete it?

Deleting your own mother seemed a particularly callous thing to do. The sort of petulant thing teens do to their ex-BFF. Not to your own mother. I was faced with a 21st Century dilemma. I also was, as I suddenly realised, in a 16th Century chapel. Now the rational-me realised that soon her phone number would be someone else’s, and that my mum previously had other numbers. Which I had deleted. But still, this was different. I sat at the back of the Chapel and decided that, if ever there was a place to erase the number then it was here. Serene, ethereal, happy.

Like a seven year old who doesn’t look as the Elastoplast is ripped from his knee, ’cause it won’t hurt so much; I didn’t look as I pressed the <OK>.

Done. Deleted in a location with handmade rugs, donkey carts, skinny rabbits, sunshine and friendly people.


Pousada de Arraiolos


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