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Hope and Gloria
Oh what a great Saturday morning! Glorious light shined onto the shaded bedroom window, illuminating the piles clothes scattered onto floor. Gloria bounced out of her creaking bed and ran into the kitchen. The grey ceramic floor felt cold under her bare feet. She walked toward her exuberant mother as she searched for something to make for lunch.
“Good morning sweetie!” her mother exclaimed as Gloria pulled out a chair and sat down at the table. “Uh, Good morning mama. How are you?”
“I’m good.” She grinned “What do you want to eat?”
Gloria contemplated for a moment. “Something I never had before, oh I know, crunchy tacos” she joked. Her mother smiled and grabbed a fresh ball of lettuce and began chopping at a steady pace, not paying much attention to Gloria’s joke.
Meanwhile, outside the streaky window, the burning Mexican sun hung high in the sky. Gloria’s mother created two crunchy tacos and placed them on the table in front of her. The kitchen clock struck noon.
“Where is papa?”
“Maybe he is still sleeping?” Gloria’s mother responded while positioning the sizzling beef precisely inside another crisp taco shell. “Gloria, can you go tell him lunch is ready?”
Gloria nodded and rose from her chair. She walked down the narrow hallway leading towards the master bedroom.
“Papa?” Gloria whispered as she knocked on the door. With caution, she turned the golden doorknob. Her father sat at the foot of his messy bed. He cupped his face with his hands. His closed eyes and the tied shut curtains made the room darker and eerie. “Umm, Dad?” Gloria whispered again attempting to not startle him.
“Oh. Yes, Gloria?” He asked in a confound tone as if battling a troublesome thought. “Mama said to go to the kitchen. Lunch is ready.” The dark room filled with stillness. “Ok,” He finally announced, “I’ll be right there.”
With quick movements, Gloria walked back to the kitchen and sat down on her chair in front of her half-finished tacos.
“Esmeralda I have to talk to you.” Gloria’s father stated as he walked into the kitchen. “Ok, what’s going on?” Gloria looked at her mother who gave the impression of being unshaken.
“I can’t do this anymore.” He stood next to his wife by the scorching stove. The aroma of sizzling beef lingered in the thickening air.
“Ricky, what in the world are you talking about? What’s wrong?”
“I think we need to move–leave this place.” He looked down at the floor.
“What? Where? Why?” she turned to look at him but his eyes avoided hers.
“The United States, I think there is more opportunity there.” Esmeralda looked at him in disbelief until he finally glanced back at her.
“Enrique, are you crazy?” she dropped the lettuce onto the counter. Loose green leaves scattered onto the floor.
“No, I am not crazy. We don’t have a future here,” Enrique began to scream; “All I see are dead ends! The jobs are awful. We don’t make enough money to live in comfort! I can’t take this anymore!” Gloria was startled; she didn’t like it when her parents fought.
Esmeralda matched her husband’s alarming tone. “We were born here in Mexico. I intend to live my life and die here! We have a child! We cannot just pick up everything and start over! You are being ridiculous.” Esmeralda glanced at her daughter who just absorbed everything her parents said.
“Why did mom and dad have to yell?” Gloria thought. “They should just sit down and talk about it like normal people,” Enrique looked at his daughter and looked back at Esmeralda. He took a profound breath. “We will pack everything up and go! Come on baby, this will be great for all of us!” He seized Esmeralda’s hands and stroked them with a tender touch. “Gloria can go to a great school, we can get jobs that pay better and have a better and much nicer house! We will have it all!” The enthusiasm was evident in his voice.
“Enrique, we…can’t” she looked at her feet and slipped her hands out of his. “I don’t understand how you can be so selfish. You’re only thinking of yourself. How can you expect us to just get up and leave? Its not that easy. You can do whatever you want but Gloria and I are staying right here.”
Defeat appeared in her voice as she walked toward the table and touched Gloria’s shoulder. “How can she just ignore this opportunity?” Enrique thought to himself as he stomped out of the kitchen towards the master bedroom. In the distance the slamming of drawers echoed throughout the silent house. Esmeralda slumped down in the chair in front of Gloria. A silent tear streamed down her cheek. Gloria’s father continued to make noise while her mother covered her face with her hands, hoping that her daughter couldn’t see her weep. Gloria held her mother’s hand trying to comfort her. A door slammed. Slow footsteps grew closer to the kitchen doorway.
“Gloria. Esmeralda–I love you.” He whispered. In his hands he gripped a brown leather suitcase. He turned around and paced towards the front door. Time stood still and silence sustained in the air for a slight moment. He walked back to the kitchen table and gave his wife a kiss on the cheek. She sat motionless trying to repress her anger towards her stubborn husband. He hesitated and leaned down toward Esmeralda’s ear. His lips touched her ears as he whispered something inaudible to Gloria. He then walked towards Gloria and knelt down besides her chair and gave her a lingering hug. Gloria saw his eyes overfill with tears but he wiped them away. He then stood up and walked out of the kitchen.
The front door creaked opened and then closed. Gloria’s mother stood up from her chair and faced the painting of the Virgin Mary. The gentle red roses framed the vivid painting. She stood in stillness, gazing at its magnificence. Gloria stood up and walked next to her mother’s side.
“Mama, where is Papa going?”
“It’s gonna be okay.” she touched her daughter’s cheek. “We are going to be ok–I promise,” she looked away from Gloria’s face and set her glistening eyes once again on the painting of the Virgin Mary. Gloria held her mother’s hand. Upon feeling her mother’s warmth, Gloria believed in her undying faith and the future that her mother promised.