By Jose Amador
Translation by Elizabeth Sellars
There’s a place in my mind where I continuously go, and it’s where I keep my memories. The other day, walking among so many, I tripped over one that took me to the decade of the 1950s, when I frisked about like a colt in the town of Tonaya, too small for me because there wasn’t much entertainment.
Fortunately for my yearnings, some cousins operated the town’s movie theater and also went to Tuxcacuesco and Tolimán for the same business. To make their work less monotonous, they invited me to accompany them. Sometimes I did go with them, as much for the ride as to meet girls.
Making those journeys was difficult. Even though the distances weren’t far, gaps lay in the roads. No bridges existed and sometimes you had to cross a river several times, which meant no return to Tonaya until early the next morning.
On one such visit to Tolimán, we announced the event of the evening with our sound equipment, and then set ourselves up in the field for the show.
That night I sold tickets and met a young woman with skin of the waning moon, thin as the cornfield before it ripens, with eyes as large as a deer’s and black hair that fell over her shoulders like a waterfall.
With a few glances we immediately established an attraction, and with a few words I realized that she stood out from the rest of her country-women.
During the screening, I confirmed that she had an open manner when she told me that she had studied in Zapotlán, that her family had a soft-drink distributing company, and that she had been the queen of the town festivals.
All that cluster of knowledge and attractions secured my interest, and I felt that she had taken a place in my heart. So I continued going to Tolimán with my relatives.
Those visits increased our meetings and my affections. During one of the visits, before returning to Tonaya, I conquered my fears and in a letter declared my love for her, asking if she would be my fiancée.
On the following visit I was fearful when I went to find her, to hear her answer to my proposal. She replied, “I’m going to say yes.”
Our affection secured with those words, we began to express it in the language of lovers, with caresses and kisses. Even though an arroyo and river of desire, we had not yet joined in the ocean.
Nevertheless, don’t think that this relationship that I’m relating to you was all roses. Some affection is attacked, as this one was by jealousy. She continuously pressured me to swear that I wasn’t deceiving her. And I answered, joking, that I had never been unfaithful, and that I never would be again.
That response bothered her as much as her brother bothered me. He was very jealous and constantly spied on us.
But love has many paths, and obtaining permission from my parents, I took one path, after negotiating the road and the rivers of the rainy season, so that I could see her for a special date.
It was a day in the country at La Taza, a fresh-water spring in the community of San Pedro. Goldfinches, sparrows and mockingbirds competed to surpass the song of the river, as the figs and other large trees competed to provide the most shade.
She separated herself from the group and met me under a tree as luxuriant as our affection.
When we felt ourselves alone with our longings, the film of passion began. Our breathing touched, unchaining a storm of caresses and kisses, and allowing her underskirts to rise. With a look of fear, she resisted.
And with good reason. In those days, to scare away the beaked bird, there was only one method: the same that if it’s not done, the bread burns in the oven for not taking it out in time!
But that afternoon the opportunity was the size of a rainbow, and not to let it go, I promised her that nothing would happen, assuring her that I would take the necessary precautions. So she agreed that we would slide only to the edge of the layer of passion.
I returned two more times to see her, and our feelings already had jelled into an illusion. But one day while I passed time in Tonaya, an urgent telegram arrived from her, asking me to meet her. Not being a diviner, I feared something was wrong. Without explaining the trip to my cousins, nervous and annoyed, I rushed off to see her.
As we talked that night at the back entrance to her house, she spattered me with her fears. At that moment I realized that the distance between a picnic and panic is twenty-eight days, as she confessed to me that she believed she was “almost pregnant.”
“What are you saying?” I fearfully asked her.
“I believe that I am almost pregnant,” she answered.
As I was a novice in the moves of love, it seemed logical to me that she could be “half pregnant” because of the way we had made love. But I was totally frightened, because I had never half impregnated anyone.
Being a gentleman, I assured her of my quest to resolve the serious matter, and as I embraced her with this intention, her brother appeared. He was as angry as a scorpion. He carried a pistol, and as he approached I saw that he had every desire to convert me into a spirit.
I wonder if it was the prayers that my mother had said to the Virgin of Tonaya, or because their mother had removed the bullets from the gun, or simply because the pistol jammed….
It is certain that the fright ran through my veins, wrinkling the illusion that I had nurtured for her and making me swear that I would never return to see her.
But her affection, the caresses, the memories and my curiosity to know how her “half pregnancy” turned out were so strong that four months later I returned to see her.
Accompanied by my fears I went disguised as a beggar, standing in the plaza in front of her house.
From there I could see that her profile did not correspond to a “half pregnant” woman, which made me suppose that she had made an involuntary mistake, or that she had tried to trick me into marrying her.
But from this story, besides the distressing experience, I also received ten pesos and sixty centavos in alms.