July 13, 2010
On Monday I posted the first half of this short story on www.writingfrommerida.com . If you are about to start reading today’s second half and have not read what came out yesterday, perhaps you should go back and do so before continuing here…
“Curiosity killed the cat,” nonetheless over I went to see what this odd looking group was doing here. Tourists didn’t usually come into my neighborhood.
“Good evening,” I began. “Buenas noches,” said the woman. Oddly enough, she could have been my twin – pale skin, green eyes and red hair. We looked at one another appraisingly but I sensed no hostility so I asked, “Are you visiting our city?”
“After a fashion,” she said. “My name is Georgia and these are my children.” I raised an eyebrow because all three kids were black. There’s a story and a half here, I thought
I replied, “Georgia, I see your eldest seems to like soccer.” Turning my eyes on the thin nervous child, I asked, “Would you like to play with the others? We could go over and I’d introduce you.”
He shook his head. Just the same, I could see he really wanted to and so putting two fingers between my teeth and tongue… I shrilled a high-pitched whistle. A trio of boys looked up and I waved at them.
Among them was Javier, a favorite of mine. He and his buddies ran quickly over and he threw his spindly arms around my neck. “Señorita Amalia!” After giving him a quick hug I said, “Hey guys, this young fellow wants to kick the ball with you.” “Vamos” said my young friend and pulled on our new acquaintance’s arm. I informed the boys, “He doesn’t speak Spanish,” But to my surprise, he replied hotly, “¿Como no? Yo hablo español.” I watched dumbstruck as the boys ran off to play. I turned and saw that Georgia had tears in her eyes. What on earth was wrong? “I’m so sorry!” I told her. “I’ll go bring him back.”
“NO! Don’t do that. I’m crying because this is the first time my son has spoken in months. She looked straight at me and said, “I’m going to tell you what happened.” And in she launched to a terribly sad tale about how the children’s birth parents and two other siblings had been killed in a cold winter storm and how she came to be the mother of these three precious children. It took nearly an hour and all the while she watched anxiously as the fast-paced game continued. She ended by saying, “And that’s why we’re in Mexico.”
Full darkness had replaced the afternoon shaddows when the boys stopped their play. The slightly winded eight year old wandered back to where he’d seen us last and sat quietly in our company. We all listened to the night. Miguel had resumed playing, the baby snored softly in his bassinette and the two year old snuggled into Georgia’s breast. It was time for me to go. I stood up and stretched my body and said, “If you want, I’ll be here tomorrow night …”
The eldest child cut me off. Pointing at the guitarist, he asked, “¿Porque esta tan triste?” I looked into his big brown eyes and said, “Like you, he’s sad because of an accident. His was caused by fire… and yours happened because of ice.” Georgia looked up, her lime orbs brimming again, “Fire and ice , two opposite elements that have caused the same reaction in two kids who live worlds apart?”
I looked for the family the next evening and the next but they never reappeared. Georgia had mentioned they would be visiting the children’s uncle and I wondered what circumstances had brought him here. Not wanting to pry, I didn’t voice the question. Just one more thing I’ll never have an answer to…
*** Pictures from Google Images