“Give me your message. I can hear you from behind these walls.” Mama
“Your lover is dead. You can now repent of your sins if you wish.”
“What? How dare you…” Mama cried.
She crumpled into a faint.
Elisa, Blanca and Juan rushed to fetch water to revive our mother. She
revived almost instantly and began to insist that we attend the funeral.
“But Mama, how can we? It’s best that we forget the whole affair! You’ll
cause a scandal.”
“He was your father, Blanca!”
I had no memories of my father, him having left us when I was one. My
recollections were of second hand memories of my mother telling me
about not being able to use his name, and me being known as Ibarguren
and not Duarte. I had never even seen a photograph of him, I had never
seen him in person, and I didn’t even know his name. I remembered
hearing that he had left us when I was little, but I was very confused,
dead? What did dead mean?
“Who was my father?” I asked.
“What? She, she doesn’t know?” Juan asked.
“You had a papa.” Elisa said bitterly. “But he abandoned us.”
“What does that mean?” I asked. I was becoming very confused, and I
did not understand what was happening at all.
“It means he left us.” Juan said. “Because, because our mother wasn’t
his wife. Don’t you remember?”
“I remember you telling me that Papa had business to tend to. But aren’t
you his wife if you’ve had children with him? Besides, I don’t remem-
“China, you might as well know. Men often take what are called amantes
and have a second family. They do not love their wives— wives are only
for legitimate children. Often times, it is their amantes that they love.
But that love fades, because we are secrets. We are the dirty secrets that
others do not like.” Mama said. “And so, I was not your father’s wife.
But I was his woman. And we had five children together. So I deserve to
see your father and you deserve to pay your last respects to him.”
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