Spilled Milk, Broken Vases… “The Day of Reckoning” continues
By HomeRearedChef on April 21, 2011
Canela and Dulcenia sat in the back of the dirty, acrid smelling, rickety bus, filled with all sorts of strange-looking people, and all staring with inquisitive eyes. Canela’s hands were sweating, but she would not release the lock-hold she had on Dulcenia. They sat practically frozen with fear; their hands glued together, anxiously waiting to feel the bus move and know they’ve made some distance.
“Accept today whatever the outcome is tomorrow
And know that every day is a new beginning
A new chance given
A rebirth of the heart, the mind, the soul”
Canela, feeling the dripping sweat running down the side of her ribs, sat counting the minutes to the bus’s departure, hoping that on this day it would leave on time. And as if God had heard her prayers and seen her fears, the bus cranked the engine on and it began to pull away, taking them far from Oracio, who for now remained ignorant of their escape out of the country.
On the bus, the peasant women stared at Canela with obvious dislike and curiosity, because of who she was, a proper lady—because it showed. And she certainly wasn’t one of them, a commoner from any nearby village. She wore a simple yet perfectly starched print dress with wide spaghetti-straps. Her hair was clean and perfumed of lilac soap, and neatly gathered into a chignon, with every strand of hair in perfect place. Her very big, light-brown eyes, though tired and almost sunken from lack of sleep, were perfectly lined with Kohl, and her round, plump lips were stained with sunset red.
Ah, but the men—oh—they stared with hungry eyes, like starving wolves. With their jaws practically to the floor, they gaped and appeared to drool. They whispered among themselves, probably daring each other and devising ways to approach a pretty woman sitting all alone—alone on a bus, caring for a young child—unchaperoned, without the protection of a man. They scanned the whole of her, up and down they looked, and all the time making an embarrassing exhibition of themselves—animals that they were, and behaving so. They whistled and smacked their lips to get her attention, grabbing at themselves, lusting. They made lewd noises and mouthed obscenities, offering their manly services and companionship to a lonely, lovely lady.
Canela, not only did she feel uncomfortable but vulnerable, to say the least, and very afraid. She felt like raw bait, a piece of meat at the market. She wondered if she was now worse off; had she done the right thing by leaving, and she, all alone, trying to protect her little girl?
Many hours had passed since the bus’s departure, and at last all had calmed, Canela chanced to take her eyes away from the window, finally looking down to see Dulcenia was fast asleep, and suddenly she relaxed. Not until now did she let out a deep, heavy sigh, and realized that she was finally breathing, because it felt as if she’d been holding her breath for ever.
After many, long months of planning, of days and weeks preparing, of saving every centavo and pesos found—stealing from Oracio when she could—then hiding the money outside, cleverly burying it in the ground under an obscure pile of rocks, carefully planning the right date and time for leaving, and always taking care with prudence and cunning so as not to be found out. And with trusted help arranged for the paperwork and passports, lying when it became necessary to do so; then packing only the absolute necessities and hiding the couple of smallest suitcases she could afford to carry. Finally, Canela and Dulcenia were on their way to San Salvador, El Salvador, leaving the city of Managua in Nicaragua, never to return.
With an aching heart Canela had no choice but to accept that she must leave her two boys behind; permission for all three children to leave the country was “denied.” As a special favor the children’s padrino, who agreed to keep quiet, permitted Dulcenia’s leaving the country to accompany her mother. A debt he would later feel entitled to call in.
I will see my boys again, she told herself over and over, trying to soothe her breaking heart. She had to hold on to a good thought, for a positive outcome, because this was the most painful thing that she’d ever have to do.
Canela had to leave, or she would for certain die—if not from the routine beatings, then from a slow death and a broken spirit.
No, leaving meant no more hiding and running like prey, knowing that it was only a matter of time before getting caught and beaten down.
Today I am my own woman. I will no longer need to cry because of misery and pain. I will fear no one. But, most of all, I will fear no man.
To be continued…
Spilled Milk, Broken Vases and Misplaced Treasures
All Rights Reserved Copyright 2003 by V. Kahler-Anderson