Near the end of her days, Abuela Manuela Corazon Monquillo would make the confession that the secret to a long life—if that was anything to be desired at all—was a thorough accounting of sins and carefully crafted deceits.
When she made that observation to her devoted secretary, she was aged more than a full century. She was beyond the graying years and was already as melancholy and stooped as a weeping dalakit tree. She was, truth to tell, edging towards her 150th year, but her mind was still sharp—even if memory itself became, for her, an act of occasional negotiation she didn’t always win.
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