Friday, February 26, 2010

Enough is Enough! (Ch. 21)

The guard announces, "Delgado Alvarez!" "Present!" Mauricia yells.

"You've made bail, get out." as the guard motions Mauricia to exit.

Mauricia gathers her children including a new addition, Maria de Jesus. A year and a half had passed since several encarcerations and by now Mauricia was at her wits end. Francisco stood outside the building waiting for her to come out.

"Francisco, we need to do something!" as she hands over Teresa and Leopoldo to Francisco. "We have no money from paying bail here at El Charco Verde and I cannot live like this any longer! Ana has put us both in jail one too many times! She is evil, pure evil! I cannot get groceries without her seeing me in the street and screaming obscenities at me forcing me to run away! I have to look behind my back everywhere I go! What hurts me more is that my children are involved! How can a person have this much hate? What did I do to her?"

Pleading Francisco explains, "Mauricia, what more can I do? The attorney I hired has drafted a letter protecting us from harassment and that should end this situation."

Crying Mauricia says, "Our children are starving, and we have nothing left! Ana has made it clear she does not want us to be happy! She has clearly said, "I hope nothing but the worst for you and your children! May you never be content!"

A man that was standing against the wall of the jail overheard the commotion and walked over to Mauricia and Francisco. He nudges at Francisco and says, "Hey, why don't you sign up for the Bracero Program? They are contracting Mexicans to work across the border, that's the truth! There is so much work some of the Ranchers are crossing over picking us up across the border promising shelter and good pay!"

Francisco eyes Mauricia and he motions with his head, "Vamonos Mauricia!" (Let's go, Mauricia)

Mauricia can hardly speak from emotion, "They are n n not contracting wo women, Francisco. They need me men!" Francisco looks at her and says, "Dammit! I am not going anywhere without my family! I told you this a long time ago woman do you not understand? I am not Francisco, without Mauricia and my children! Are you ready to go to jail again?"

Mauricia looks away as she says, "No! My God you are crazy but I have to agree. I will start packing when we get home. I would not make it by myself with the children and Ana lurking behind."

As soon as Francisco and Mauricia made it to their house, they began to pack the little belongings they had left. Francisco discussed his decision with his cousin and told him to look after the house while they were away. His cousin agreed to his request and bid him farewell and good luck.

Night fell and Francisco and Mauricia toted their children and bags to the bus station. Francisco placed most of his earnings on the counter and ordered tickets to Matamoros, Mexico. Within time of staying in Matamoros, Francisco hoped he would collect enough money to get his family and himself across the border. Mauricia silently prayed as their bus departed. She prayed that they could lead a normal family life and watch their children grow up. Nothing else mattered to her at this point, living close to "normal" was her dream.

During the ride Francisco whispered to Mauricia, "I'm sorry you had to go through all this Mauricia. Would you ever leave me?" Mauricia was rocking Maria de Jesus with her eyes slightly shut and said, "I've finally realized we were meant to be together. God knew I could handle your problems and you could handle mine. He knew what he was doing. Even if I left I think life would make us come back together." Francisco grins and laughs quietly, "then we are stuck with each other, are we not?" Mauricia nudged him and smiled. Francisco said, "I love you gorda." Mauricia nudged him again and whispered, "I love you too and stop calling me fat. Now let me sleep."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who Said Everything Was Supposed To Be Perfect? (Ch. 20)

"Take your things and never come back! Take that, and that, and that!" were the words from the song that resonated from the radio that Andres listened to while working around the house. "Amigos, esta es la XEW, la voz de America Latina desde Mexico", (Friends, this is XEW, the voice of Latin America from Mexico). Everyday, Leopoldo de Samaniego would greet his listeners' with this phrase.

Mauricia cracked the front door open and peeked through to see who was at home. When she heard the radio she cringed as she knew Andres was home. Not far behind her she heard footsteps and was told to move out of the way. It was Miguel as he rushed by Mauricia to get to the restroom.

Mauricia stood in the middle of the living room wringing the corner of her dress from worry wondering what her brothers would say about her decision. Francisco would arrive shortly to talk to both of her brothers and tell them she was moving in with him. Francisco wanted to get their blessing as their situation would not allow marriage right away.

Miguel walked into the living room happy and relieved as he patted his belly. "Why are you so nervous sister? What's wrong?"

"It is nothing Miguel; I have a lot on my mind." Mauricia stuttered.

There was a loud knock on the door and Mauricia's throat closed up. Her knees felt queasy and she was not able to move forward.

Andres answered the door, as he wiped the sweat from his forehead. Francisco walked in, slow and steady. He greeted Andres and asked if he and Miguel had a moment to speak with them. Andres called Miguel as Francisco nodded at Mauricia. Francisco noticed her stressed behavior and whispered, "Mauricia! Get a hold of yourself!"

At that moment, Mauricia snapped out of her thoughts and into the present with her brothers and Francisco.

Miguel walked into the room and asked, "How can we help you?" Francisco answered, "My name is Francisco Alvarez and I am here to ask for Mauricia's hand in marriage."

Both brother's looked at each other and Miguel walked up to Francisco, "So you are the suitor that decided to marry someone else over our sister? You are the one she cried herself to sleep over? Your family degraded our sister with insults and now that your marriage didn't work you came back too see if she would take you back?"

Miguel turns around and walks past Mauricia and says, "Mauricia, tell him to leave."

Mauricia looked at Miguel and said, "Miguel, I want to marry Francisco."

Miguel turned around and looked at her, "Then your more naive than I thought! Do you not see he is using you? Why, Mauricia, why? He has children with this other woman and now he wants you to take care of them. You will never be able to get married. A divorce is difficult to accomplish in these days."

"You don't understand Miguel," Mauricia interrupted.

Andres spoke up and said, "You are right Mauricia, we do not understand, but you better understand this. We will never accept him into our family. You can go Mauricia but do not expect help from us! We want the best for you and you want to ruin your life with someone like him?"
As Mauricia cried, Francisco hugged her and told her brothers, "My situation does not offer much to a woman like Mauricia. I understand your reasons but please do not take it out on her. She loves you both and I do not want to be responsible for her losing you again. You do not have to like me, but please support her. I promise I will make her happy and not let her down. I offer her the little I have, all of it, for her."

Miguel had no other words to say, "Leave now! There is nothing else to discuss!"

Mauricia rushed to her bedroom and packed her things in her suitcase. She carried Teresa in her arms and walked out of the house with Francisco. She cried all the way to her new home with Francisco.

Time passed and Mauricia made the best of her new living arrangement. Francisco and she submitted all appropriate paperwork and documentation to the church to annul his marriage to Ana. The priest could not confirm how long the process would take. Francisco and Mauricia realized it would not be overnight as it had to go in front of the Bishop and possibly higher. They left their hopes in the hands of God to help them realize their dream.

Francisco purchased a piece of land with the little money he was able to save up from his mining contracts. He mined from time to time to make ends meet as he still sent money to Ana for his children. Mauricia prayed for patience as the money Francisco sent to Ana would have been a blessing for them. Mauricia had nothing else to do but conjure up ways to save money and make food last longer than starve. She made her own clothes for herself, Teresa, and Francisco. Mauricia worked mending clothes, ironing, and washing to earn extra money.

Francisco adored Mauricia's determination to move forward and not let their lack of money get her down. Francisco was even more elated as within a couple of months he and Mauricia would have their first child.

Mauricia stayed home tending to the house while Francisco was picking up his pay from the train depot. She valued her home and the little they owned but was happy for the first time in many years. Mauricia still yearned for her brothers' approval of her relationship with Francisco. She hoped within time they would see their error and talk to her again.

"Bam, Bam, Bam!" Someone pounded the front door. Mauricia knew it was not Francisco as he carried his key. Mauricia wobbled to the front door to see who it was. Teresa sat in the kitchen as she peeked down the long hallway at her mother.

As Mauricia opened the door, she gasped at the sight of the person on the other side. "What do you want?" asked Mauricia. Ana stood there with a smirk and looked over Mauricia's shoulder to get a peek of the house. Mauricia closed the door behind her to block Ana's view. Ana announced, "Tell Francisco I did not get his money this month for the children."

Mauricia said, "You did receive your money. Francisco sent it as a money order and we kept our stubs." Ana sighed and said, "Well, just tell him that I came by and he better have my money or I will call the authorities on you both!" she began to laugh and pointed at Mauricia's belly.

Mauricia slammed the door shut and rubbed her belly as she walked back to the kitchen. Moments later Francisco came home while Mauricia finished making dinner.

"Ana came by looking for you." Mauricia told Francisco.

"What for?" asked Francisco

"She said you did not pay her the children's maintenance for this month. I told her you did and we kept receipts. She threatened to call the authorities on us." Francisco waved his arm in the air and said, "Just let her do it Mauricia. She doesn't know what else to say. Just be careful, I don't trust her." Mauricia whispered under her breath as she served Francisco, "I don't either."

Another month passed and Mauricia gave birth to their son, Leopoldo. Leopoldo was the spitting image of his father. Both Mauricia and Francisco took him to the church to get baptized. Teresa loved having a little brother and helped Mauricia change his diapers. Francisco worked harder to keep his family together and Mauricia happy.

Two weeks after Leopoldo's birth, there was another pounding at the door. "Bam, bam, bam!" Mauricia laid Leopoldo down and told Teresa to watch him while she answered the door. She knew it had to be Ana. As she opened the door, two police officers walked in and put handcuffs on Mauricia.

"What is going on? Why are you doing this?" Mauricia screamed. "You are under arrest for stealing this woman's money." the officer informed her. Ana stood there with a huge grin and continued her role-playing. "Yes, she was the one that stole my children's money! Now I have nothing!" as she sobbed into her handkerchief.

"Mauricia dug her heels into the ground and said, "I have a newborn that is breastfeeding and a toddler in the back! You cannot take their mother and leave them behind, that's abandonment! What can we work out to let me go?" One of the officer's walked up to Mauricia and whispered into her ear, "If you pay us with the same favor she paid to arrest you then we might be able to arrange a release. Let me tell you, she did not pay with money."

Disgusted, Mauricia cried, "Go to hell and I'm bringing my babies with me!"

"If that's what you want" said the officer. The officers toted Mauricia's babies and her into the car. Mauricia yelled at her neighbor, Socorro, who with a confused look listened to her every word, "Get Francisco immediately and tell him to find me in jail!" Socorro made the sign of the cross as she scurried away saying "Ave Maria purisima!"