Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Photograph (9)

The next morning Maria del Carmen gave Mauricia a tour around the house. Mauricia and Maria del Carmen immediately came together as they were both curiously drawn to each other. When they arrived in the parlor Mauricia notices photographs along a dresser and admires them. "Oh, Maria del Carmen, your picture is beautiful! Where did you take that photograph?" asked Mauricia. Maria del Carmen answered, "Our father paid for each of us to take a photograph for his birthday this last year." Mauricia thought of photographs as a luxury. Not everyone she knew possessed one, and if they had them displayed at home that meant they were distinguished. This new life she was beginning to experience was hard for her to believe. Both ladies bumped into Don Leopoldo in the hall on his way to the store and he told Mauricia if she needed anything to call him.

Carmela appeared in the kitchen for breakfast and Maria del Carmen served her eggs and coffee with a piece of sweet bread on the side. Carmela introduced herself but Mauricia sensed a feeling of hypocrisy from her when she spoke to her at the breakfast table. "Mauricia I expect that you will pitch in the household duties as you can see Maria del Carmen is exceptional at that. I am too busy in my society groups and church to tend to this household and Maria del Carmen has always liked doing this. Is that not right, Maria del Carmen?" "Of course mother." Maria del Carmen kept her answer short as she did not want to continue the conversation with her mother. Carmela sips her coffee one last time and walks off while saying, "Oh! Make sure you wash the floors in the parlor, I plan on having company this weekend."

Mauricia stared at Maria del Carmen and asked, "are you forced to do the work around here?" "Of course not, I actually enjoy taking care of my family. Besides, it's good practice for when the time comes for me to get married and have a family. You know Mauricia, I cannot wait to get married one day and have a home of my own to tend to." Mauricia touches Maria del Carmen's hand and says, "I hope you find a man that is appreciative enough of the woman you are and builds you a castle!" Maria del Carmen gasps then lets out a giggle when she responds, "Mauricia! We're lucky enough to find a man that does not beat or cheats on us, don't say such frivolous things!"

Andres and Miguel came in a bit later as they had to get to their classes. Andres was an apprentice at a Barber shop and Miguel was studying to be an accountant. Both men did not say much as they devoured their food. They both took turns playing with Teresa. Teresa laughed as she gave each man a piece of her sweet bread and they made funny faces. A short time after both men left, Maria Guadalupe strolled into the kitchen and took her time eating while asking Mauricia questions of where she was born and who was Teresa's father. Fortunately, Maria del Carmen told Maria Guadalupe, "Stop that! There you go again, putting your nose where your not supposed to! What did father say about that?" "It's not wrong of me to ask, I think we should all know Carmen." Maria Guadalupe rudely responded.

Maria Guadalupe finished her food and told Maria del Carmen she would be out and about with her friends as they were planning a social gathering at one of her friends house. Mauricia thought "The apple did not fall far from the tree; Maria Guadalupe was almost identical to her mother in personality." Maria del Carmen told Mauricia, "We will not have to worry about Maria Guadalupe that long. She is engaged to be married and will be leaving in several months. My parents are very happy as her fiance has his own grocery store. Mother is excited because she sees more financial options for the family and father is happy as he is content she will not go hungry and will be taken care of." Mauricia began to see the differences in priorities between her father and Carmela.

"What do you want to do now Mauricia?" asked Maria del Carmen. Curiosity was killing Mauricia and she asked, "Why are you so nice to me?" Maria del Carmen looked at her and said, "Your my sister Mauricia, regardless of how you came along, God made us sisters for a reason." Shocked by her kindness Mauricia told Maria del Carmen, "You are such a good person Maria del Carmen, not many people see things in that way, I've always been called a bastard and you treat me like family without even knowing me." Maria del Carmen assured her, "Don't worry so much Mauricia, you have us now and your a Delgado. Father made that very clear to each one of us many times. He spoke of you as if you were around us all the time, hoping to find you one day. Now Mauricia, what do you want to do?" Mauricia answered, "First I'll help you clean the floor and then I want to talk to Don Leopoldo, I mean father, about getting a photograph taken of myself." After cleaning the parlor floor both ladies talk to Don Leopoldo of Mauricia's wish and he hands over some money to Mauricia and tells her to call the photographer to make arrangements. The photographer arrived that same day and asked where to set up but in her hurry to take the photograph, Mauricia forgets they oiled the parlor floor and it was still wet. Mauricia decided to take the photograph outside in the patio.

A week later the photographer dropped off Mauricia's photograph to the house and handed it over to Carmela, who laughed when she opened the package. Carmela showed it to her children stating, "What an ignorant! She took a photograph outside. This is not an appropriate photograph. What a waste of money!" Mauricia walks in and overhears her comments. Mauricia asked Carmela, "Is that my photograph?" Carmela handed over the package and said, "Yes, Mauricia here it is. The photographer just dropped it off. What made you think of taking the photograph outside?" Mauricia looked down at her package sadly and said, "I do not know, the floor was wet and I did not want to waste the photographers time and thought of the patio. I don't care if it looks foolish, I am excited I have a photograph of myself. I hardly remember my mother, and having a photograph of myself is priceless for me to pass on to my daughter." She walks out of the room as Maria del Carmen just shakes her head in disgust over her mother's comments. Once Mauricia walks out of the door to head back to the bedroom her frown turns into a large smile. The only thing on her mind at that moment is, "I have a photograph and it's mine!"
(Both photographs are of the real Maria del Carmen on top and Mauricia on the bottom)


  1. somehow the story and the picture allow us to know the characters so much more. I can picture a very nice Maria Del Carmen and a curious Mauricia. The photographs are also very beautiful!