Monday, July 27, 2009

Mauricia Comes of Age (2)

Throughout the years, Mauricia worked around her aunt Gertrudes's house. As a child, she slept in the kitchen by the fireplace, with the dog. That was her place to sleep and eat. She never attended school, and she played around the house when Gertrudes took her naps. As Mauricia grew into a young woman, Gertrudes ran out of excuses when visitors asked why she was in the corner. Rather than say she was her great-niece, Gertrudes told everyone Mauricia was a child with no family that she was providing food and shelter out of the goodness of her heart. Gertrudes figured out a solution, put an apron on Mauricia, and said she was the hired help. She slept in the servants quarters, as hired help would. The other aunt that had taken Carlos moved away to another state immediately after Bernadette's death as mining in that area had become scarce and many families moved to find their luck elsewhere.

Suitors would come to the house for Mauricia, as she was now a young lady, but Gertrudes paid no attention and neither did Mauricia. If Mauricia was harassed in the street by perverts or suitors, she simply took shortcuts to avoid them. She had seen her mother suffer because of men and love, and she felt she did not need that distraction in her life at the moment. Mauricia could hear Gertrudes's voice reminding her that she would end up like her mother, as if she carried a label due to her mother's life decisions. Mauricia didn't believe this; she confided in God, and knew she was not a bad person and good things were to come.

Since Gertrudes was an old woman by now, she demanded less of Mauricia, and even let Mauricia teach Sunday lectures to children and participate in the theater. Sunday lectures and the theater meant everything to Mauricia, as those were a mental escape for her. There were many nights that she dreamt of her parents, and she wondered where her brother was and what he looked like. She prayed for the day when she could find him and be with him again. She felt in her heart that she would find her brother, and promised her parents she would do whatever she could to find him, no matter how long it took.

Mauricia felt closer to her parents when she was involved in the church or in prayer. She felt her closeness to God translated in closeness to her parents, even if only for a moment. Mauricia's spirituality and her dreams were all that she had in the world. She dreamt of traveling and singing with the theater. She thought that if she focused on that goal, she could escape the town that reminded her of so much pain.

One day after a late music lesson, Mauricia noticed it was very dark and she needed to run back home. She excused herself and began to race outside the building, hoping to get back before Gertrudes could catch her and possibly prohibit her from leaving the house for weeks. Mauricia frantically thought, "I need to get there without her noticing! Which way will be best?" She decided to take a short cut by running through the alley. While in mid-run, Mauricia could hear footsteps behind her and she turned around to see who it could be. The only thing she noticed was a shadow. Her gut feeling was not good, and she decided she needed to act quickly to get away from this person. Seeing the alley up ahead, she ran passed the cemetary and started to turn the corner. In an instant, she felt someone grab her and throw her body down with such force it caused her to pass out. She woke up bruised and bleeding from the back of her head; she had been beaten and raped. As she came to, she saw the man's face. He was one of the suitors she had previously declined many times. "You can't expect to run around at night and not get hurt!" he said. "If I was you, I wouldn't say a word of this to anyone. I know where you and your aunt live." Mauricia hobbled to her feet, picked up what she could, and made her way back home.

She walked into her aunt's house in a daze, as her aunt yelled at her. "Where have you been?" Gertrudes screamed at the top of her lungs. Have you been tramping around like her mother?" Mauricia didn't say a word. As Gertrudes got closer and the candlelight shone more brightly on Mauricia's face, Gertrudes stood still in silence, finally noticing what had happened to Mauricia. She quietly said, "Go get the washtub and clean yourself up. Put on some clean clothes and go to bed. I'll call the priest in the morning so he can give you a confession."


  1. Nice blog so far. I'm waiting to hear more about Mauricia, a good story.