Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sueños y Pesadillas

In her dream, she wasn't even noticed. Floating silently through the aisles of the mercado, with young child in tow - a boy, barely emerged from toddlerhood. His eyes were the same color as the cacao their village harvested. It was clear that he had inherited them from his mother, only hers were ringed with years of strain and betrayed the fact that she had been crying prior to that walk long ago in the zócalo.

At that time, it seemed like they had been walking all their lives, though in reality, it had only been a week since Magdalena had set out to join Joaquin. After years of doing everything to keep their small home fit for life, there was no more money to make sure food appeared regularly on the table. The envelopes that had come monthly from El Norte contained more words than cash.

She remembered that day clearly enough to shatter the borders between dream and reality. This night, she was reliving a memory.

Already they had found themselves in a different land, far from the burial sites of their ancestral family, but Magdalena knew that she couldn't give up. Rumors had filled the conversations of people throughout the various food stands that a boat full of some of her kinsman had capsized off the coast of Oaxaca. She had made a mental note to take a few moments that night to pray for them. Tinged with a wave of regret, she had also thanked the gods that she decided to move north on foot instead of by the sea.

The memory lifted itself like the mist over the fields. Another hard pounding at the door was all it took to wake up both Magdalena and Joaquin with pulsating heartbeats. Wielding a wooden bat, Joaquin drew the curtains cautiously to see who was interrupting their peaceful night. Before he had a chance to draw in a breath, shouts and panic rang out from the uniformed group, demanding that he open the door.

He turned to look at his wife, who was standing wide-eyed in the doorway to the bedroom, holding their wailing four month old daughter.

"Son ellos."

Joaquin knew they would come sooner or later. The foreman at the slaughterhouse had pocketed another week's worth of wages from the graveyard shift and too many people had complained. His compadres spit at the threats the jefe had issued at them if they made too much noise about it, but Joaquin could see in the gringo's eyes that he could care less and would just replace them with other willing hands after the dust had settled.

The green chiles wasted no time in handcuffing the man that Magdalena had loved for as long as she could remember. Her tears joined those of the baby in her arms, but the sadness was quickly turned to fear as they pointed a gun at them and demanded to see her papers, too. An animalistic instinct rose up in her chest as she screamed and backed up into the bedroom. Little Joaquin had joined the chaos with sleepy eyes and a confused look. She threw him out of harm's way, because all she could see burned in her vision was the barrel of shotguns and flashlight beams. They were not going to harm her children.

to be continued...

No comments: