They’re calling out our names and giving us a numbered door to enter. The doors are painted pink, that piggy primer pink, to make us feel better I suppose. Frenetic cheesy Flamenco-Rock is playing on a tiny speaker somewhere.
Welcome to Radiology.
Maria Vazquez Rocha: number 8.
Concepción Amparo Campana –you can leave now.
Concepción, nows there’s a classic name, Concha for short.
Natividad – there’s another one – “Nativity”. Imagine calling your kid Christmas? Or Conception, come to think of it.
Rafael Rodriquez García: number 4.
Speaking of which, it’s been a month since our first Christmas with Clara (Clara meaning disernment and clarity – patron saint of glass artists). We have our first photo of her sitting on the knee…
Rafael Martinez – number 6.
Rafael Rodriquez García–you can leave now.
…on the knee of one of the three wise men (No Father Christmas here). It was a Christmas party that Clara’s day-care had organised. She had to go dressed as a shepherdess, which in Andalucia means in the style of a nineteenth century peasant from Zaragoza in the North of Spain, very odd choice, not a Judean shepherdess, not even an Andalucian one, though she looked very grown up in her black bodice and red head scarf at seven and a half months.
Enma Luis Prat: number 9.
That’s, er me, in a way, the Spanishified me. Nine’s the number. Through the pink door. Hello, do you have any rings? Take them off. Struggle to get it off. My hands. One of the reasons I’m here. Ok, put your hands flat here. Don’t move. Good. Now put you hands like this, as if you are writing. Good. I’ll call you soon. Out I go. That was quick.
Manual Fernandez: number 8.
Clara’s shepherdess outfit was bought from the Chinese shop – one of seven in a 300 metre radius and so-named because they are run by mysterious Chinese people who live a kind of secretive parallel life here in Seville. Nothing is really known about them and the local Sevillanos, while enjoying the cheap goods and open all hours policy, shake their heads and wonder if they pay their taxes.
The Sevillanos shouldn’t complain. What would they do without them? They’re the only outlets where one can buy one’s traditional Spanish nativity costume for children and at a ridiculously low price.
Since all the kids in the family had some gaudy plastic nativity costume tucked in the cupboard for the various school christmas plays and day-care parties, it was decided to have a nativity photo shoot as a present for the grandparents. Clara, with snotty nose and three year old Rodrigo, with black eye after a fall, were the shepherds, seven year old Inma, a bored wise man Melchor, seven month old Guillermo, a perky little angel, five year old Alejandro, a very resigned Joseph, five year old Lucia, a jubliant Mary, with her blond blue-eyed doll as Jesus, who was the most photogenic of the lot it turned out.
Prat, Enma Luis?
My x-rays are ready. Right – with all my hands safely tucked down my rain coat front, I make my way past the pink doors and out into the cold.