Sunday, August 30, 2009
"Mauricia!" called out Maria del Carmen, "Julia is at the door!" Mauricia ran to the door to see what was the matter. Julia worked at the church with Mauricia on the weekends. Julia asked, "Mauricia, Doña Inez is ill, and will not be able to sing in this afternoons choir to sing the Angelus in Latin and your the only other person that can do it, will you be able to go?" Mauricia responded, "Of course, let me make arrangements to go and I will be there this afternoon." Mauricia turns around to look at Maria del Carmen and said, "Maria del Carmen, would you go with me to watch Teresa while I sing and then we can walk around in the Plaza?" Maria del Carmen was hesitant as she rarely left the house only to go on errands or to church on the weekends. "I don't know Mauricia. I can watch Teresa here in the house." "Ay Maria del Carmen, you never know. Maybe God is your matchmaker. You will never find your future husband sitting here in the house instead of going to church with me!" Maria del Carmen throws Mauricia a washcloth and tells her to get ready and says, "You think you know everything. Lately, Mario from the choir has been coming by to visit me when no one is around. Of course, we sit out here on the bench and converse." Mauricia anxiously wraps her arm around her sister and asks, "So do you like Mario?" Ma. del Carmen responds, "I think so, he's a gentleman, and we have much in common." "Wonderful!" Mauricia yells out. "Now I do not feel bad leaving you here. Let me get ready."
Mauricia bathed and after getting dressed ran by Ma. del Carmen to confirm she was leaving and to kiss Teresa goodbye. Five o'clock mass was about to begin and Father Eduardo did not like anyone to be late before mass. Mauricia makes it to the church with six minutes to spare as the house is several blocks away from the main avenue. Everyone in the choir took their places and mass began. Many things ran through Mauricia's mind at that moment while she was listening to mass. She said a prayer thanking God for a roof over her head, food, family, and a healthy daughter. The moment for Mauricia to sing the Angelus came along and she stood up to sing. Mauricia had a beautiful voice and everyone enjoyed listening to her sing. Meanwhile, outside the church in the plaza a military troop begins to ride into town.
"Whoa! Stop your horses! I said Stop!" as the comandante ordered his troop. The comandante gets off his horse and said, "Am I in heaven? It sounds like an angel is singing. Who is that and where is it coming from?" A farmer passes by with his cart and he asked the man who was singing. The man shrugs his shoulders and asked if he could leave. A woman approaches the comandante, "I know who is singing!" The comandante asked her to come to him and she said, "It's Mauricia Delgado, she just moved here a couple of months ago." The comandante stands in silence then orders the woman to find Mauricia and bring her to him. The woman shocked and scared does as he says and runs to the church. She whispers in Mauricia's ear about the request and Mauricia goes with her to see what the commotion is about. The comandante remains standing by his horse and his troop behind him waiting for orders. As Mauricia approaches him she stops before him and says, "My name is Mauricia Delgado, who is looking for me?" The comandante answers, "It is I that requested for you, Carlos Manriquez, your brother." Mauricia screams, "Mi Niño!" (my boy), as they hug.
Carlos orders his troop to rest in the plaza as he sits at a bench with Mauricia. While holding hands tightly, she caresses his face with the other hand and asks him how he has been. Crying, Carlos begins to tell Mauricia about the death of the woman who took him from his mother's home. After the woman passed, after moving out of state, he was sent to live with an uncle who owned a ranch. His uncle was a passive fellow but his wife was always beating him and asking him to do hard labor around the house. "Mauricia, all I ever wanted to do was get an education. They never sent me to school. My uncles wife said you did not want me or else you would have found me. I ran away at the age of twelve, angry at the world. I walked for three straight days through the mountains and came along a circus. I joined them and stayed for three years. After the circus, I found the military and lied about my age to get in." Mauricia gasps, "Carlos I do not agree with you being in the military. We have finally found each other and I do not want to lose you now." Carlos nods in agreement, "Please understand sister, I did not care what happened to me. I felt I belonged to no one. I thought no one loved me and till this day do not believe in friends and the only thing I believed in was myself. By joining the military I felt if I died no one would care if I was here or gone. Some days I wished for death." Mauricia tells him, "Carlos, how can you wish for death if God does not grant wishes, he answers prayers." Carlos laughed and continued to tell Mauricia, "I have completed the most difficult assignments in the military as I feared nothing and no one, that is why I'm a comandante. Now I have a reason to live sister." Carlos looks around to determine the time and tells Mauricia, "I must go, my troop is heading north and we must continue before nightfall." "Carlos" Mauricia interrupted him and said, "I need somewhere to contact you, do you have an address?" Carlos wrote down the address she could use to send him correspondence. Carlos digs in his horse's satchel and pulls out a small photograph. He hands over the photograph to Mauricia and said, "Here, we had these made to send out to our loved ones but as I had no one to send it to I've carried it with me all this time. Mauricia, please keep it as a remembrance of me." "Of course Carlos, and we mustn't lose contact, please." Mauricia says as she hugs him goodbye. Carlos gets back on his horse and yells for his men to follow. Mauricia stands in the plaza clutching his photograph as he rides away to whatever destination is in store for him. Mauricia thinks to herself, "Was this a dream? She looks down at her photograph and realizes they found each other. Elated she goes back to the church to light a candle to her mother and many other deceased relatives she thinks may have led to their reunion. As Mauricia is running to the church she thinks, "I hope I have enough candles!"
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I tell my children day in and day out, it IS important to know all types of history. Everything has an origin. I witnessed my grandmother's void and how it affected her personally. She felt incomplete as her life gave her many downfalls but you would not have thought that by meeting her. She continued her strong faith in her religion and her family. Regardless of what she went through she had faith we would all succeed no matter what mistakes we made along the way. By researching everything about her, there are many similarities to her life and my own I am now beginning to see. I won't divulge any details at this point but for my friends that truly know me, definitely know I have had my share of downfalls. I wish I would have known a lot more of the things I know now about my grandmother to prove that I was not alone in my struggles. Like I tell everyone around me, "I'm not the first, nor will I be the last person to experience suffering, so don't pity me."
I think we need to pity ignorance. Don't get me wrong, ignorance not of people that do not have the knowledge. I am referring to the ingnorance we are all guilty of. Many of us have the tools and knowledge around us to understand each other, and our surroundings but we do not bother to go that extra mile to educate ourselves about anything outside our own circle. We need to step out of that circle to experience life, not seclude ourselves. I know I'm talking off the hip, and many people do not have the money to travel or be educated. I don't think that's true. I had no money and found a way to get my education and as far as traveling I along with other friends and family have traveled to different states in the U.S. and on my own went as far as Belize to visit different ruins in Quintana Roo and stay with friends along the way. Learn from others, read books, drive somewhere but don't stay put! Life is too short.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
"Next stop! Salinas de Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi!" The train attendant yelled. Mauricia started gathering her belongings over one shoulder and propped a sleeping Teresa over the other. Once again, Mauricia had to figure out how she would locate her way to the address she had in her hand. Mauricia asked the woman at the ticket window, at the train station, the direction she should be heading. The woman told her to go through the main doors and there would be buses that could take her where she needed to go. Mauricia heads out the front doors but is perplexed by the commotion in the streets. She feels disoriented and stops a fruit vendor to ask which bus can she take that will drop her off closer to her father's home. The fruit vendor tells her to catch the bus named "La Novia", which translates to "the girlfriend", and to let the driver know her destination so he can drop her off at the right place.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Julio rushed to Francisco's parent's home to bring them over to discuss Francisco's illness. His parents cautiously kept track of the doctor's words, and Don Ruperto asked, "Do you see any signs of improvement for my son soon?" The doctor responded, "I cannot assure anything at this stage of his illness as we do not know how long he has been sick before exhibiting symptoms. His fever has not gone down, and I've given him a sedative to sleep and antibiotics to help with any infection." Doña Rocio gave Don Ruperto a worried look and cried, "What are we going to do now? I pray that we do not lose our son, Ruperto!" The only response Don Ruperto gave was, "I do not either but if my son dies, he will die a man. There is only one thing we need to do now."
Mauricia woke up early Saturday morning to clean the patio before heading to the market with Cipriana. The cleaning girl, Lucia, met her outside as she swept and watered the plants. "Good morning Mauricia, how did you sleep?" Mauricia responded, "not well, for some reason I feel bad, not sick but just down." Lucia laughed and said, "Oh, it's only because Francisco has not come over to see you! You will be fine tomorrow, you'll see." "Your right," answered Mauricia, "tomorrow I will see him and hope he is in a better mood to talk. I'm off to the market to catch up with Cipriana. Eduardo and she should be opening up by now, and today is a busy day for business." Before Mauricia left, she ran back to her room to kiss Teresa goodbye and give her daily blessing.
The day passed quickly as customers flew in and out picking up their orders of meat. Mauricia can only think about Francisco and why he acted so strangely the other night. While Mauricia scrambled to clean up behind Eduardo and pass orders to the front, Cipriana stopped her and told her, "Mauricia, there is something I need to discuss with you tonight." Puzzled but cooperative Mauricia said, "Whatever you say Cipriana, I'm available when you need me." Cipriana hobbled back to work at the front. "Hurry up woman! Your as slow as a mula!" Eduardo yelled out to Mauricia. "Who are you calling a Mule?" Mauricia snapped back as she slings slabs of fat off the floor towards Eduardo.
Later that evening, as Cipriana and Mauricia entered the house, Lucia is sitting in the patio crying into her apron. Mauricia rushed over and said, "What's wrong Lucia? Is Teresa alright?" Lucia cried out, "Yes, she's fine! I received terrible news that my mother is dying back home and I need to see her!" Mauricia began to feel old emotions brewing inside of her. She could sense the fear and sadness in Lucia; something Mauricia knew very well. Mauricia hugged Lucia tightly and caressed her hair in hopes of calming her down. Cipriana said, "Take her to the church to pray for her mother, and to provide Lucia strength for this change in her life." In order to soothe her state of shock, Mauricia knelt down and told Lucia, "Yes Lucia, let's go to the church, and we can pray for your mother. Early tomorrow morning, you can catch the first train out to see her." Cipriana agreed to stay with Teresa and the two ladies rushed over to the church.
Upon arriving at the church, Mauricia and Lucia chose to sit in the back of the church as the candles provided good lighting. Mauricia began to tell Lucia, "I think life gives us good and bad things to make us better people. When I was younger, I thought I was being punished for something I did. As I grew older, I realized that's how life is; babies are born and people die, we can't escape this. We have to prepare ourselves for life's changes when they come." Tears began to stream down Mauricia's face as she concluded, "Unfortunately, some of us are thrown into those changes."
Lucia wiped away her tears as she finished praying, and she began to notice people standing at the front of the church. Their shadows could be seen by the flickering candles off the alter. Lucia asked, "Mauricia, look over there, what is that?" Mauricia squinted and said, "It looks like this couple is getting married. I cannot see from here, let's get a closer look." "No, no!" Lucia cried as she tugged on Mauricia's reboso, "I don't think that would be a wise thing to do." Lucia advised, "It looks like they do not want to be bothered and it doesn't look like a happy wedding either." In the distance they overheard the priest say "I now pronounce you man and wife." The groom began to fall and two men captured him before he hit the ground. Mauricia heard a woman yell, "Francisco!" Mauricia jumped up and, holding her reboso to her face, she scurried to the front to catch a better view. At that moment, Don Ruperto jumped out to stop Mauricia and said, "What are you doing here? Can't you see that Francisco is now married, and he did not take your relationship seriously?" Mauricia yelled out, "He's been sick! He doesn't know what he's doing! Francisco! Francisco! What are you doing?" The priest jumped in to hold Mauricia back as Don Ruperto went to help Julio hold up Francisco. As the families walked out of the church, they yelled obscenities at Mauricia. Ana darted to Mauricia and said, "You meant nothing to him! Go find someone else. He knew there would never be anything with you. You were just his last adventure! He bought me the house, not you."
Mauricia didn't understand what her eyes were seeing or what her ears were hearing. Why didn't Francisco protect her when they yelled obscenties at her, or defend her from Don Ruperto and Ana? All Mauricia could think was "Francisco looked and acted drunk! What in the world is going on?" The priest grabbed on to Mauricia and shook her saying, "You need to control yourself Mauricia, there is nothing you can do. They are now married by the church and that is a sacred thing." The priest was right; Francisco was no longer hers to love. He made a commitment to Ana before the church and that is not to be taken lightly. "There is no way I will come between a marriage." Mauricia whispered. Lucia ran up to Mauricia and held on to her arm as they left the church crying; both crying for lost loves.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
The service was beautiful, and at the end of mass the names of the deceased were mentioned in the dedication. Cipriana sat there misty eyed. She missed Benjamin and his strange ways, as he always made her laugh. She prayed Mauricia would find someone that would love her and take care of her as she had been through enough misery. Cipriana pulled herself up to thank the Priest and give a donation to the church. Mauricia helped her up to her feet and she started to walk her way over to his office and asked Mauricia to wait for her outside. Regardless of her age, Cipriana tried to maintain as much independence as possible. Cipriana called on Mauricia only when she walked long distances such as that night.
The night began to get chilly and Mauricia hoped Cipriana could see the priest quickly. "All we need is for Cipriana to stand behind some long-winded woman or man that wants to talk about how much money they've donated to the church and how they outdo everyone else." The darkness brings out a sense of fear out of Mauricia after the attack. Mauricia prayed, "God forgive my awful thoughts, but you know why I'm in a hurry." Mauricia heard someone call out to her, "So what brings you back to church? You were in too much of a hurry the last time I saw you here!" She squinted her eyes and saw Francisco Alvarez walking towards her from a crowd. He carried himself differently than everyone else. He walked with such confidence it made her feel funny, as she caught her thoughts she started thinking "What is this? He needs to get away, why did I not bring Teresa to ward him off?" Mauricia always thought that men would be scared off by a woman with a child as she felt like damaged goods. Francisco stood there and asked for Teresa. "She's fine and at home." she responded as she looked away. "I won't bite you." Francisco assured her. "Look! My hands will be behind my back." She looked up and smiled. "I knew there was a smile underneath that frown of yours!" Francisco exclaimed as Mauricia stood in shock and said, "I don't always frown, do I?" He answered, "Everytime I've seen you around you look as if your angry at the world." Mauricia snapped back, "That's your opinion. Go bother someone else, remember I have a daughter and you don't want to be seen with me." Francisco responded curtly this time and said, "I will only say this once, anything that is hard to get is worth the work and wait, and that includes you! I noticed you years ago, and you were always busy with church or classes. You fell off the face of the earth and no one knew where you went. I see you again with your daughter and still my intentions have not faltered. I'm asking one more time, will you and Teresa take a walk with me?" Mauricia stood in shock as thoughts of her mother raced through her mind, the hurt, anguish, heartbreak and loss. Yet, Francisco stood there tall, tanned, and she sensed a strength in him that she needed. She answered, "Alright, I will accept your offer and Teresa will always be with me, remember that!" Francisco answered as he looked in her eyes, "You wouldn't be Mauricia without Teresa."
Cipriana called out for Mauricia as she made her way outside the church doors. She noticed Mauricia talking to Francisco as she said goodbye to him and began approaching her. She asked Mauricia, "So I take you have a suitor?" Mauricia grinned and told her about their conversation and Cipriana smiled but at the same time offered her advice. "Remember to always be a lady, command respect, and respect him, and please take your time, I don't want you to get hurt." Mauricia hugged her and whispered to her, "Thank you for your words Cipriana, they mean so much to me."
Francisco and Mauricia took many walks after service over the weekends. Teresa felt at ease around Francisco and within time their relationship blossomed into something more meaninful and stable. Mauricia was finally happy and felt like she was standing on solid ground. Francisco worked in the mines and that worried Mauricia but he promised he would quit soon, as luck around there was dwindling down. Mauricia did not know Francisco was gathering enough money to save for a house and put the rest in the bank to ask her to marry him.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Months later after the terrible incident, Mauricia continued her daily routine of teaching Sunday lecture and attending music class. Within time she started to worry she would have to make a decision about what she was going to do. She feared once Gertrudes figured out she was pregnant she would surely kick her out of the house. The thought of getting rid of her baby never crossed Mauricia's mind. She felt compelled to take care of it, and she knew in her heart it was not the child's fault it was coming into the world.
Mauricia had to resign from her lectures and classes. Instead of telling Gertrudes about the changes, Mauricia continued to leave the house to take extra jobs and earn money to save for the baby. Mauricia washed, ironed, mended, and cleaned out houses. She did whatever she could to collect as much money for the moment Gertrudes would kick her out. When Mauricia made it home one night Gertrudes was waiting in the parlor and asked Mauricia to see her. Gertrudes told Mauricia "my friend, Carmen, told me you have been seen doing extra work for people in town. Is this true?" Mauricia said "yes", and decided to tell Gertrudes the truth. She was four months pregnant. Gertrudes responded, "Well you know what this means, don't you? I should have known you would end up like your mother." As tears ran down Mauricia's face, she couldn't hold back her anger. Mauricia ran to the servant's quarters to get her items which had been ready for this moment. She grabbed her rosary, bible, and few family photos she had found and taken from Gertrudes's belongings. Mauricia ran out and told her "I may be pregnant but at least I know how to love, and I'm not an evil hearted person like you! I pray you don't die alone and someone at least cares enough to take care of you like I did!"
Mauricia ran out of Gertrudes's house clutching her bible and rosary while carrying her bag. Inside the bible were the photos she had found. One of the photos had a description on the back indicating it was her aunt Cipriana and her late mother, along with Cipriana's address in Tampico, Mexico. Mauricia said, "I have to leave! I cannot stay here anymore and be reminded of my pain, I can't!" She decided to try her luck elsewhere and find her aunt Cipriana and see what life held in store for her. Mauricia purchased a ticket for the next train to Tampico and left.
Upon arriving in Tampico, Mauricia found her aunt Cipriana's home and knocked on the door. "Hello! Hello! Hello!" someone yelled from afar. Mauricia waited and again knocked. "Hello! Hello! Hello!" again someone yelled. Suddenly, the door cracked open and she saw a wrinkly old man peer through the crack with a large grin. "Sorry, I can't buy anything, the wife will get mad!" then proceeded to close the door. Mauricia held it open and said "please! I'm looking for Cipriana, does she live here?" The old man laughed and said "Yes, Cipriana lives here, hold on." The door gets slammed shut, and Mauricia is left wondering if he is working with a full set of marbles or just decided not to assist her. As Mauricia goes to knock again, the door opens up, and there stands a short, slender, older woman, with her gray hair all wrapped up in a neat bun. "Can I help you?" she asks. "Yes, my name is Mauricia Delgado and I believe your my aunt Cipriana." Mauricia began to tell her about her journey to find her and her pregnancy. Cipriana proceeded to tell Mauricia "Well, I don't see any problem with you living with us. I need help with my husband, Benjamin, he's a little crazy in his old age, and watching him and taking care of a house is difficult enough."
Mauricia was much happier with Cipriana who later introduced her to other relatives on her father's side that she had never met. Everyone in the family was either a butcher or worked in the mines. When Cipriana left to work in the family meat market, Mauricia had to tend to the house and make sure Benjamin was taken care of. Mauricia did not receive wages for doing her job, she was promised a place to sleep and eat and that was it.
Benjamin was a happy fellow who kept to himself and liked to doodle on paper and whittle wood. While Mauricia would clean the house Benjamin would talk to Mauricia about different topics from politics, witches, and other stories he repeated from time to time. Mauricia had to make sure the door was locked as he liked to walk outside and wander but nine months into her pregnancy Mauricia could not keep up with him.
Fall came around and so did Teresa Delgado. She was Mauricia's pride and joy and with her came a renewed sense of hope to live. During the time Mauricia gave birth, Benjamin became very ill and passed away, leaving Cipriana alone. Mauricia continued to care for the house but within time Cipriana asked her to work in the meat market with her and bring Teresa along. Working at the meat market was very hard, she learned to gut pigs, chickens, and ducks. Cipriana could not keep up with this work and Mauricia could tell she was beginning to feel more tired each day.
One day while walking home, after working at the meat market, Cipriana mentioned to Mauricia about moving to Pinos, Mexico, where she was born. Mauricia thought long and hard as she would have to return to the place she ran away from. Cipriana assured her she would not be alone and her cousins were moving with them to open a family market there. Mauricia agreed as long as they stayed on the other side of town away from her terrible memories. Everyone packed their belongings and sold the house. Cipriana felt more at ease going back to her birthplace as she felt she didn't have much more time on this earth.
Pinos looked the same after being away two years. There were new buildings here and there but at least there were more people than before. The first thing Mauricia needed to do was go to the church and pray. Mauricia took Teresa as she wanted the priest to give her a blessing too. Before entering the church, Mauricia let Teresa play by the fountain. Teresa watched the water trickling off the sides and splashing bits of water on her little face. Teresa giggled as she enjoyed the water and it provided relief from the hot sun. Mauricia could not help but feel like she was being watched. She turned around and a gentleman by the front of the church turns around and looks the other way. She scoops up Teresa and hurries her way into the church for service. Once service is over, she gets the priest to give Teresa a blessing and they proceed to go home. The same gentleman from the front door attended service and she caught his glimpse again but this time he smiled. She recognized him, but from where? Mauricia begins to think and remembers he was a suitor that had asked her out for a walk a long time ago. His name is Francisco Alvarez, now she remembered! Mauricia thought, "Oh well, that was a long time ago and he's not as blind to see I now have a child."
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Many people go to the wrong places to find a companion and end up disappointed. Be realistic, are you going to find your soulmate at the club? When people go to a club it's to dance, drink it up, and let loose with friends. It's the perfect environment for a one night stand or maybe meet someone that will be a fling but a long term relationship, hardly.
Both men and women expect to find the perfect man/woman with a grandious list of qualifications when they cannot even meet half of that list. Why should you ask for someone to be tall, dark, and handsome with a lot of money when you don't care about your health, watch tv most of your free time and are still working the same 9-5 job you complain about every day? At times we need to analyze our inner self and then makeover our persona to attract the right person. What I am trying to say is this: Sometimes life drags us through the mud through divorce, death, or depression for whatever reason. We let ourselves get stuck in a rut. During that bout or immobility our self esteem, personality, and appearance take a hard hit and we display the scars through our emotions and physical appearance. Don't walk around displaying your past injuries.
Remember we all have had our moments of failure or loss and we need time to recuperate and then bring ourselves back up to rise again with an attitude that no matter what has happened we will succeed. When it's the right time to rise again, then check yourself and make sure you are standing on solid ground; know what you want before looking and criticizing others. Let me explain it this way, we cannot go to the grocery store hungry as we will leave with a bunch of items we don't need or end up disatisfied. Same concept for dating: why go out there when your not ready, don't know what you really want, and end up with the wrong person, unhappy and with more regrets?
I by no means am saying be someone else, that's the problem today, people put up a front and if a guy says, "I love baseball!" the woman interested in him miraculously loves baseball too when she doesn't even know how to hold the darn ball! Some relationships are composed of couples that wear matching t-shirts and some who respect each other's individuality but whatever your preference know what you want, be yourself, and be upfront. Don't hide anything for that will make things worse when the truth comes out. I firmly believe you attract the way you act but be honest with yourself before making a grocery list on a potential mate. Check the merchandise for good quality, I'm not referring in the appearance but what is inside. No one wants a bad woman or man. There are too many imposters, cheap brands, and bad lemons out there so steer clear!
Open your inner circle and try something new, go to a ballgame with your friends, go to different social events, or take up a new hobby, you never know who you will meet and you will add to the qualities of the great person you already are. There is someone for everyone but we need to open up too, and not try so hard; let things fall where they may. Best of luck and smile! No one likes to approach a person that always has that ticked off look, what about you?