What’s A Girl To Do?
By Michael MacLaughlin
Maria Guadalupe Rosario Garcia was a typical teenaged girl who lived in Dolores Hildago, Mexico. She enjoyed talking on the phone, wearing sexy clothes and eating pizza.
“I’m late to school.” Maria remarked to her parents, “No breakfast. I’ve been gaining weight.”
They too noticed her weight gain and after cena they talked to her.
Her father started. “How do you feel Maria?”
“Something has come over me, like a glow within.” She laughed out loud.
Maria’s mother said, “You’ve been gaining weight and. . . ”
Maria cried. “I’m a virgin!” She shook her finger in the air. “Impossible! I haven’t been visited by an angel.”
Maria’s mother glanced at her husband, and asked, “Did you miss, ah . . . your period?”
Suddenly Maria stood and began to cry, “I’m a virgin.” She stormed out of the room.
Her parents sat in silence. Finally, her father broke the silence. “I believe our daughter.”
Maria’s mother knew better. Some things you can’t hide from a woman.
Weeks later to satisfy their grave concerns it wasn’t a giant tumor growing in her stomach, they went to see Doctor Villa. Tests were done. Maria was pronounced pregnant. Maria sat there shocked. Maybe she had been given a drug and raped while unconscious?
Then Maria asked to have an examination to see if her hymen had been broken. The doctor shook his head and reluctantly agreed. He counseled Maria she was ashamed of her condition. Maria insisted she never had sex.
After the examination, Maria and her parents met with Doctor Villa. He said, after pausing to rub his chin, her hymen was intact. Maria was a virgin.
Maria’s parents were stunned.
“How’s that possible, doctor?
Doctor Villa immediately started talking in medical terms, finally concluding with the word parthenogenesis. Maria’s parents didn’t know what it meant but accepted the fact she was a virgin and pregnant. God worked in mysterious ways.
Months later when Maria was at home, too pregnant to go to school her mother answered the door and a poor woman clutching two dirty children in rags asked to be blessed by the virgin mother.
Maria’s mother laughed, thinking it was a hoax, but the woman’s tattered clothes and the children’s dirty faces were far too real. When she summoned Maria, the poor woman fell to her knees and asked to be delivered up from her poverty. Maria didn’t know what to do, so she gave the woman some coins.
The poor woman went down into the village, bought a lottery ticket with money Maria gave her and won 100,000 pesos. She ran screaming down the street claiming it was a miracle. The very next day people came to the house to see Maria and ask for their miracle too. Maria’s parents became scared and called in the parish priest for advice and guidance.
Padre Sanchez was a man grounded in common sense and religious practicality. He had never seen a miracle.
“Now Maria, you must tell people you cannot do miracles.”
“People won’t listen.”
Padre Sanchez sighed, “We Mexicans are a romantic people, but sometimes our fertile imagination comes before reason.” He sighed, hugged Maria and asked, “How far along are you, my child?”
That night he had a crazy dream about bleeding stigmata, virgin births and riding with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse through a fiery hell. He awoke sweating, breathing heavy and dazed from his dream. The next night the same dreams came back. Three days later after much prayer and fasting, he phoned the Bishop in Mexico City and told him of Maria.
“So Padre Sanchez, this girl, she claims to be a virgin? Don’t they all? And there are miracles?”
“Well, maybe more mass hysteria.”
“Perhaps there is blue mold in the corn of the tortillas you eat?”
“Perhaps, Your Excellency.”
In quick time, Maria and her parents were besieged by people from around Mexico stealing any “relic” to include: the garden hose, clothes drying on the clothes line, an old mop and even their telephone lines. Finally the police were called in to guard their casa for fear zealots would take it apart piece by piece.
Maria and her parents were petrified. Again, they called Padre Sanchez for help. In a moonless night he drove them to safety. But the Padre’s midnight drive was found out and quickly people accused the church of hiding her and using her miracles for their benefit. Just before Sunday Mass, Padre Sanchez was called to the phone. It was the Bishop again.
“Help is coming.” He hung up. Padre Sanchez had no idea what the Bishop meant. But it was in the hands of God now.
A day later a helicopter landed next to the church and a black robed Jesuit priest got out wearing sunglasses carrying a leather satchel with the Papal seal.
Quickly pagan groups alleged it was all a giant conspiracy perpetuated by the Catholic Church to gain converts. Posters began showing up around the village declaring the unborn child to be the Antichrist and should be killed. Then the dream merchants from Hollywood came calling, throwing money around for an interview, movie deals and exclusive pictures of the live birth. Dozens of men came forward saying they were the father of child and should be included in any money deal.
In a quiet, desperate moment, Maria felt she should kill herself and the baby and end it all. Why had God done this to her? Why?
Events went from the bizarre to the macabre. There were rumors the Jesuit priest would be in the delivery room and if the boy looked like the devil, the baby would be strangled to death with rosary beads.
In her ninth month, Maria went into labor and was rushed to the hospital followed overhead by helicopters, airplanes and spy satellites. Soldiers were stationed along the route in case the antichrist forces tried to intercept the car and kill Maria and the baby. Outside the small hospital there was a sea of satellite trucks and every television station in Latin America was there. Thousands of people stood outside the hospital praying and chanting, waiting for, what most believed now was the Second Coming.
Maria rested in the hospital bed waiting to give birth. Around her were her parents, the Bishop of Mexico, the Jesuit priest with a cell phone pressed to his ear and in direct contact with the Vatican. Standing behind them all was a Mexican government official. A law was hurried through Congress and signed by the President giving them authority to take Maria and the child away for the . . . peace and tranquility of Mexico and the world.”
The morning of the birth when the sun rose there was a complete arching, marvelous rainbow that filled the sky. There was no doubt in any person’s mind that soon the earth and the heavens would be forever changed with the birth of this child.
It was an easy delivery and when the child was lifted and spanked, the Jesuit priest lowered his sunglasses, smiled and whispered in the phone. Moments later a hospital spokesperson came out and stood in front of a forest of microphones and cameras, reporters shouting questions before anything was said. The spokesperson took a deep breath, the room hushed in silence waiting for the official word. Words everyone was sure would spiral the world out of control. Only the faint chanting could be heard outside.
“At 7:11 a.m. Maria Guadalupe Rosario Garcia gave birth to a baby. . .girl.”
A collective groan went up from the reporters and they began breaking down equipment and packing up. In an hour, it was old news.
Quickly Maria and her daughter Christina lived in obscurity again. Maria finished high school and did make some money by signing movie rights and book deals that, of course, never came to be. She still lived with her parents and all were happy. Maria’s mother made a scrap book of all the outlandish news stories and copies of the Antichrist posters.
The day after Cristina’s third birthday party, Maria found her on the floor scribbling on a piece of paper. The small girl smiled up at her mother and handed her the paper.
“What is this darling?” Maria looked at the note. It was addressed to the Pope, and written in Latin.