Sunday, October 25, 2009

Change of Direction (16)

The seasons changed and the Delgado household remained the same. A sullen atmosphere penetrated over the family since Maria del Carmen's death. Carmela tried to sustain the family business with Juanito's help but did not quit her spending habits. Unfortunately, with her spending the family business dwindled along with it. Andres and Miguel sat at the kitchen table deciding which route to take and get the family out of this situation. Mauricia ran in after running errands at the market with Teresa in tow. Both were wet from the storm.

"Mauricia, you and Teresa are soaking wet, come in and dry off immediately!" Andres commanded, as he pulled out a chair and brought towels to dry them off. Mauricia panting told Andres, "Thank you. I thought I would beat the downpour before I arrived but it came without warning by the church." Miguel patted the table and said, "Mauricia we were discussing options to save whatever business is left and move to San Luis Potosi." "San Luis? Why there?" asked Mauricia. Andres interjected, "Well, both Miguel and I have heard the city is growing and with our education and experience we should be able to get on our feet quicker than here. Mother, Teresa, and you would come with us of course. What do you think?" "What about the family store?" asked Mauricia. Miguel commented, "Ha! Whatever is still left of the family business we will consolidate, sell, and take whatever earnings with us to invest in San Luis. Unfortunately, mother thought she knew what father did and was surprised that she did not. Now the business is falling apart and we cannot go down with it. We must act now." "Do you know where we will live?" she asked. "Not at the moment, but we have begun to look around at different areas that are beginning to build up." answered Andres. Mauricia smacked the table and said, "Well, I go where my family goes. Count me in."

The following days both Miguel and Andres traveled to San Luis Potosi to find an adequate area to live and follow leads on jobs. Both brothers were anxious to start their lives in a new environment and leave Salinas and the recent tragedies. Andres commented on the bus ride home to Miguel, "Miguel, I hope with our new move to San Luis we will find peace and start our lives again. I pray Mauricia will find someone that will care for her and Teresa. She deserves a good man. It is up to us to protect her and take care of her and mother." Miguel responded, "I agree Andres, now that father is gone, it is our obligation to watch over the family. I know Mauricia and mother will be pleased with our finds."

Upon their return, both men explained the new home they found in a newly built area of San Luis. Andres told Mauricia and Carmela, "Miguel and I have found jobs while we continue finishing our studies. We both have one more year and will begin our careers." Miguel intervened, "Yes, along with the money father left behind and what earnings we make from selling the family business the new house will be paid for. Mauricia, you can stay and look after the house." Mauricia interrupted, "I can get a job if necessary, do not exclude me." Andres put his hand on her shoulder and said, "we know you are capable of assisting us with work but we need someone to tend to the house and Teresa needs your undivided attention. Agreed?" With nothing else to add to the arrangement, Mauricia acknowledged "Agreed."

Several weeks passed while the family packed up their belongings and sold whatever items they would not be able to take with them. Maria Guadalupe came by more often as the boxes piled up and the moving date came closer. "Mother! Mauricia! Is anybody home?" Maria Guadalupe yelled as she looked around. Maria Guadalupe heard someone approach and she waited to see if it was Mauricia or her mother. As Maria Guadalupe concentrated on the walkway she heard a scream, "AAAHHHH!!!!" and Teresa jumped out in front of her from behind the boxes and waved her arms in a mad dash. Startled Maria Guadalupe yelled, "Mauricia, come get your daughter, she scared the life out of me! Teresa, give me your hand before you decide to hide again!" Teresa giggled as she grabbed a hold of Maria Guadalupe's hand and they both walked down the walkway to the kitchen. Maria Guadalupe found Carmela sitting at the kitchen table looking at the floor in a daze. "Mother! Mother?" Carmela looked up slowly and said, "Hello Maria Guadalupe, how are you mija?" Maria Guadalupe sat next to her and told her, "You need to stop taking so much medication mother. The pills are making you crazy, you must leave the pills alone to live again."

Mauricia walks into the kitchen with herbs from the garden and greets Maria Guadalupe. "How long has she been like this again Mauricia?" asked Maria Guadalupe. Mauricia responded, "She is doing better. She does not spend as much time as she used to in her room. Hopefully, the move will do her some good and she can begin to respond more." Maria Guadalupe whispered to Mauricia, "She feels so guilty for everything that has happened with father and Maria del Carmen." Mauricia looked at Maria Guadalupe in the face and said, "I still grieve and hurt as much as she does but I am not God to judge her. If she repents she needs to take the appropriate steps for forgiveness for her actions. I am no one to tell her this. She will eventually have to do this herself. I will gladly help with whatever is needed of me, including with your mother." In an effort to change the subject, Mauricia asked Maria Guadalupe, "What has the doctor told you about your condition? Can he help you conceive a child?" Maria Guadalupe's face tightens up and she responds, "He said I cannot carry a child. My body has gone through many miscarriages and he feels I should not try anymore. My husband and I are in the process of adopting a little girl." Mauricia hugs Maria Guadalupe, "God has not forgotten you, he has just led your life into another direction." "Thank you Mauricia," Maria Guadalupe says as she slightly accepts Mauricia's hug.

Miguel and Andres storm into the house and greet Maria Guadalupe and Carmela. By then, Carmela came out of her daze and was more alert. Miguel tells the ladies, "We are going to pile the last of the boxes and drive over to San Luis to drop them off. We will be back in the morning to pick you up and head out to the city." Mauricia feels happy about moving but is still filled with sadness in knowing she is leaving behind both her father and Maria del Carmen. Mauricia understands they are no longer available in a physical sense but the thought of not being able to visit their graves makes her feel irresponsible.

Carmela returns to her room to gather the remaining items and pack. Mauricia takes Teresa and heads down the hall to the parlor to make sure everything has been taken care of. As Mauricia walks around the parlor she notices how the silhouettes of the picture frames still inhabit the wall from the years of display. She runs her hands over the wall and bumps into a box marked storage. Mauricia kneels down and says, "Teresa, what is this doing here? The storage boxes were taken out days ago." She opens the lid to see there are photo frames, figurines and old linens. As she pulls out the photo frames, she notices the glass on one is broken. "Oh, this should not be in here like that, let me clean this up." While Mauricia shakes the glass in a trash receptacle she turns it over and it is Maria del Carmen's photograph. Her heart breaks to see that someone broke the photograph and damaged the picture. Mauricia wonders aloud, "Everything that went to storage will not be taken to San Luis and left as forgotten. Why did no one claim Maria del Carmen's photograph?" Mauricia takes the photograph out of the frame and gingerly protects it within cardboard scraps and wraps it in one of the old linen cloths from the box. Mauricia stares at the contents in her hands and says, "You may have left us in the physical world but I will always remember you, Maria del Carmen. I cannot forget my sister. Wherever I go, you will go too."

1 comment:

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