Skip to content

MIERCOLES, EL 20 DE AGOSTO

historia de amor book coverI woke up very late this morning, talked to Jaime for a few minutes, then walked to school. (Lisa was still sick so she stayed home.) No one was at school, so I walked to a little market to buy some gum, Rolaids, and a newspaper. I passed Claudio walking down the street (seemed like weeks since I had seen him) and we spoke: Que pasa, No mucho, Hasta luego.

When I got back to el instituto, I saw my classmates entering the building, so I caught up with them just in time for a boring lecture. I don’t even know what it was about! Yeah, I know it was about 45 minutes long, then we were free, so I rushed home to see Jaime again.

Jaime was waiting for me to get home, and he asked me if I wanted to go to his cousin’s house with him, and I said sure. First, we walked to his father’s house, where his father lives with his new wife, but no one was home, so we walked a few more blocks to Jaime’s cousin’s house, to take some pictures. We ate lunch there, some veges and rice soup, and the cousins were very nice to me. (They didn’t speak one word of English, though; more Spanish practice, and I understood it all!)

We left and walked to the library, where I bought a copy of ‘Love Story’ in Spanish (‘Historia de Amor’). I thought it was kind of odd, the library selling books, but things are different here and I have come to just accept the odd things as being normal! Jaime and I left the library and walked to a small park and took turns reading portions of the book to each other (How romantic! It sounded even more romantic to hear it in espanol!) but we avoided reading any of the last chapter. I didn’t want to start crying.

The weather was warm and reading made me feel drowsy. Jaime suggested that we go someplace to rest, but not back to Cande and Miguel’s house.

“Adonde?”

“No importa.”

We started walking up the hill, and a light rain started to fall. We started running, and ducked under a tree as the rain got heavier, and just like in the song “Laughter in the Rain,” we were soaked to the skin and I turned to him and he kissed me. We laughed and held each other, and I never wanted that moment to end. I could see in Jaime’s eyes his love for me, he was so sincere and sweet, (so unlike the conceited Dany, eh? Indeed!) I felt the warmth of Jaime’s body, and the warmth of his smile. We decided to run for it (to where? I still didn’t know, but I trusted Jaime) and we cruised as fast as we could a couple of blocks to a very cute little house.

Advertisements

A BIT LATER, STILL TUESDAY

el instituto americano de chihuahua
When we arrived at the house, Lisa was awake and very sick. She was crying from the pain and confessed that she was afraid she was pregnant. She was vomiting and feeling dizzy. Jaime asked her if she wanted to go to the clinic, to see a doctor. (Jaime’s not yet qualified to diagnose an illness.) Lisa said yes, please, anything to help her feel better. I was really getting worried about her.

We drove to a clinic and Jaime went inside for a few minutes, then came to the car and told us we had been referred to the hospital emergency room, so he drove us there. We all went inside, and Jaime spoke with the doctor, who didn’t know English. The doctor did a bunch of tests, told Lisa she’s not pregnant (whew!) and gave her three kinds of medicine to take. Lisa fell asleep in the car, and Jaime carried her into our room when we got home. Lisa didn’t wake up. I hope she feels better soon. I don’t like to see her like this!

At 8:00, Jaime took me to a big fiesta at el instituto. Almost all of our classmates and some of the host families were there, dancing and singing and taking pictures. JoAnne was curious to know who my new guy was (Bart wasn’t there either, Diego said he’s sick also. Must be something they ate at the canyon?) but Jaime wouldn’t even look at JoAnne. A janitor came at 10 and told us he had to lock the doors, so we moved the party to a disco called El Padrino and we danced there for a while, then we all walked the mile or so to La Fuente. Jaime and I danced every dance, and he held me very close during the slow dances. I felt something so strong between us, completely different from the feeling I felt when I was dancing with Claudio the night before. (I hadn’t felt anything for him, I just had a nice time.) But with Jaime, I must’ve been dancing about two feet above the floor, with such a sweet guy right beside me. The dance floor was completely dark during one love song, and the DJ. turned a spotlight right on us! I felt like we were the star couple, like we were glowing! Que suave!

Even though it seemed like we had only been at La Fuente for a few minutes, closing time came and Jaime and I walked home, holding hands. He whispered in my ear that he loved me, and told me that I was the most beautiful girl in the world! Well, thank you, Jaime, you always know exactly what to say! He didn’t try anything, but he gave me a warm, lovely kiss at the door of our room, then he excused himself and went to the guest room.

Lisa is still sleeping. She looks a little better, not so pale. I’m very tired now, what a day! It’s almost 3 A.M. already. Where did the time go? Buenas noches.

LATER TUESDAY

I didn’t have time to dream. Suddenly it was time to go to class, I was already an hour and a half late! Lisa was still sick, so she stayed home to get some more rest. (Miguel went to work this morning, so Lisa won’t have to worry about him again, at least not today.)

When I got to school, Diego told me he was skipping History class, and that sounded like such a good idea, I decided to skip it also.

We went downtown instead, and I bought a couple of cassettes at Discorama and a few little items for myself. Diego bought a flour-sack shirt and a pair of huarachis. We got back to school in time for art class, which was fun, and we made some beautiful flowers that we presented to the teacher as a thank-you for teaching us how to make all the neat things we made in her class.

On the way home from school, I saw Roberto in a foosball hall, and he asked me if I could help him get a sliver out of his finger, so I did. He asked about Lisa, and I told him she had been sick all night. He was worried about her, so he walked home with me. Right when we got to the house, Jaime drove up in Miguel’s car and asked me if I wanted to go to el supermercado with him. Sure, why not? Roberto was checking on Lisa, so I decided to go with Jaime.

The supermercado was more like the stores we go to in the states, with big aisles full of groceries, shopping carts, and a wide variety of processed food, frozen food, and the kind of things we see back home. This store was not at all like the corner mercado Cande goes to every day for her bread and milk. This supermercado had just about everything. The prices were a little higher also. Jaime bought fruits and vegetables for Cande’s kitchen.

We stopped at a small ice cream parlor and ate ice cream cones. Jaime spoke very softly to me and gave me a very special smile.

At that moment, while eating our cones, I felt myself falling in love with Jaime. I don’t know what came over me, but an attraction was building between us, something that I couldn’t control. I could feel his warmth, even though we were sitting four feet apart from each other. When I looked into his eyes, I never wanted to look away (But, of course, I eventually had to tear my eyes away from that beautiful sight.) I didn’t say anything about it, and he just continued to smile at me, very kindly.

I don’t recall the drive back to the house. All my attention was directed toward Jaime. I was trying not to act all goo-goo eyed, but I felt like I was suddenly crazy about him, unable to think of anything but him. I was snapped back to reality when we walked in the house with the groceries; Cande asked us to please go to la farmacia to get some medicine for Lisa, who had gotten worse. I quietly opened the bedroom door to check on Lisa, but she was sleeping. She looked very pale. Jaime and I drove to a place that had a drive-up window and a man gave Jaime a small bottle of pills. We took them back to Cande, and she told us to stay away from the house for awhile, so we played basketball across the street for about an hour, then walked a couple of blocks to Jaime’s cousin’s house. We only stayed for a few minutes. Jaime introduced me to them and then talked to them about his mother (she lives in Mexico City) and then we walked back home.

MARTES, EL 19 DE AGOSTO

lakeLast night was a night to remember. Claudio arrived at 7:30, and we went for a drive. (He has a car!) He drove around the city, to a few areas that I hadn’t seen before, and besides being extremely handsome, he was also extremely nice. At about 9, we went to La Fuente and danced for a while and he had a few beers, but I didn’t feel like drinking. He only wanted to dance during the slow dances, he said he wanted to feel me close to him. He’s a little, short guy, just an inch or so taller than I am, so I could easily rest my head on his shoulder. (I’ve never been able to do that with any guy I’ve ever danced with before.) Claudio introduced me to the D.J., Francisco, and he played some songs that I requested.

Too soon, 2:00 AM came and La Fuente closed, so we went for a drive in the country. I don’t know where we were, but Claudio found a lake and we parked by it and talked about the moon, the stars, and the beauty of the night. He asked me to spend the night with him, and I told him I already had, the night was over, and asked him to take me home. I was shocked to discover it was 5:30 a.m. when we got home. He gave me a small, gentle kiss at the door and said he’d call me later.

Lisa was very sick when she opened the door for me. The look on her face scared me a little. She looked terrible.

“I’m sorry I had to wake you,” I whispered.

“You didn’t wake me. Ive been going back and forth to the bathroom all night. Jaime gave me something to settle my stomach, but it didn’t help much. Jenny, I feel so awful!”

She was shivering, so I got a blanket for her from the closet. She looked at me and she was about to start crying.

“What’s wrong? Can I get something else for you?”

“I have to tell you something.” She paused.

“What is it? What’s wrong, Lisa?”

“Well…um…has Miguel ever said anything…um…out of line to you?”

“No. I haven’t even seen him that much since we’ve been here. Did he say something to you?”

“It’s not what he said… well, I was taking a shower after you left and I heard him talking to his grandfather out in the courtyard, you know, by the bathroom window? And then, I looked up and saw Miguel peeking in the window at me and grinning! He was watching me take a shower! I felt so embarrassed, I grabbed my towel and came in the bedroom. My stomach was hurting, so I laid down on the bed to rest. I fell asleep, and I woke up when I felt something on my leg. Jenny, Miguel was standing over me, stroking my leg! I screamed at him to get out, and he gave me this lecherous look, like he was going to say something, and I screamed again. Then he left! I didn’t know what to do. I hoped you’d come home, or Cande would, but no one did, until Jaime came home about an hour later, and I went and sat in the living room with him until Miguel left with his grandfather.”

“Did he do anything else, Miguel, I mean?”

“No, he just stroked my leg, but I think he had something else in mind. He would have done something if I hadn’t stopped him. Do you think I should tell Cande? I mean, I won’t feel comfortable with Miguel around, especially if she’s gone.”

“I don’t know, but if it will make you feel better, more safe, maybe you should.”

Lisa didn’t say anything else. I looked over at her and she had fallen asleep. I turned off the light and also fell asleep within a couple minutes.

VERY LATE MONDAY

We finally made it home, and we were so tired, all we wanted to do was fall down on our beds and sleep. Unfortunately, the house was completely dark and no one answered when we knocked. Where was Cande or her sister? We were locked outside, unable to do anything but wait! Pobrecitas! So we waited.

About 10 minutes later, Miguel’s car pulled into the driveway and a young man asked us if we wanted to go with him and his friend to get something to eat.

Bombones“Who are you?” I asked him.

“I live here.”

“No you don’t, we live here.”

“No, this is my cousin’s house, my cousin, Miguel, lives here.”

“But you don’t live here.”

“For two months I do.”

“Who are you?”

“My name is Jaime. I know you, you are Lisa and Jenny. Cande told me about you. She told me to take care of you until she gets home.”

“Where is she?”

“She went to her mother’s house. She’ll be back tomorrow.”

Seemed strange to me, but since I hadn’t eaten much all day and I was starving, I whispered to Lisa, “Are you hungry?”

“Famished!” she whispered back.

“OK, we’ll go with you,” I told Jaime.

Jaime traded places with the passenger and let him drive. Lisa and I rode in the back seat and listened while the two guys spoke rapidly in Spanish. We also checked them out. Jaime has dark brown, fuzzy hair, broad shoulders, and a fantastic, contagious smile that reveals straight, white teeth. His eyes look sort of sleepy but happy, and at first I thought he was high, so I asked him if he smokes marijuana. He said he tried it once and didn’t like it, and he doesn’t do any drugs or drink alcohol. He is studying to be a doctor and starting med school in the fail, and he said he needs a clear head. (OK, he passed my criteria, now that I am out of that scene!) His English is excellent, and he is very bright.

Jaime’s friend (I never did get his name) has a square head and very short, light brown hair. He’s small and thin, and appeared to be the intellectual type, but he didn’t speak any English at all. Jaime did most of the talking while we were in the car, directing us to our destination.

I had expected to go to a restaurant, but we walked downstairs below street level into a disco! Jaime said they had good food there, but Lisa and I felt silly ordering food in a place where people were dancing, so we all ordered 7’s. Jaime was extremely interested in Lisa, so his friend and I attempted to have a conversation, but with no luck. He couldn’t understand my Spanish, and I couldn’t understand his. He and Jaime were both from Mexico City, but that’s about all I learned from him. I watched (yeah, I was a little jealous) as Jaime and Lisa talked and laughed and then danced. The other guy said he didn’t know how to dance, so he and I just watched. I was extremely tired anyway.

We stayed at the disco for a long time, and when we got back to Cande’s house, it was almost 2 A.M.! I fell asleep within five minutes, while Lisa and Jaime made a snack in the kitchen.

This morning, Miguel’s grandfather gave us a ride to school, and I could just barely stay awake during classes. We didn’t go to any churches or museums today, just boring lectures that could not hold my concentration at all. Fortunately, we didn’t have any afternoon classes, so Lisa and I went home to sleep.

Claudio called at 2:00 and asked if I’d like to go out with him tonight. Bueno! He’ll be here in a while, so I better get ready. Hasta luego!

MUCH LATER MONDAY

basket made by Tarahumara IndiansThe first person to greet me on the train was Lorenzo! The train was completely packed, standing room only, so Lorenzo took Lisa and me to stand by the snack bar. He introduced us to his father, the cook, and the new bus boy, but warned me not to try to take over the kitchen, since his father wasn’t as understanding as Pepe had been. Also, since the train was so crowded, the kitchen would run more smoothly with only one cook.

Lisa and I felt weird standing by the snack bar, because we felt like we were in the way of the customers, so we pushed our way to the front of the car, to the area near the door, outside the main part of the car, but still inside the train. Six handsome guys were already there and they offered to make room for us, so we decided to stay there. (Bart had a seat, but refused to let me share it.) Two of the guys we recognized from the lodge, Claudio and Flavio. They were both extremely good looking and charming. They settled around us and told us all about their experiences traveling around Mexico, South America and Europe. JoAnne squeezed her way into the area and tried to move in on the guys, but none of the six paid any attention to her. I felt sort of sorry for her, trying so hard to get someone to listen to her, so I tried to listen for a while, but Claudio kept talking to me, as if JoAnne weren’t even there. (I know she wasn’t invisible. Lisa and I could see her, but the guys acted like they couldn’t see her!)

Anyway, Claudio excused himself to go to another part of the train for a few minutes, and another cute guy named Guierrmo sat beside me and told me about Mexico City, where he lives. I felt like I was really comprehending everything he was saying in Spanish, and I was confident about my Spanish also. (I let him do most of the talking, though, I just asked the key questions to get him going.) Claudio looked distressed to find that another guy was sitting beside me (on the floor) and he whispered something to Guierrmo, who left the area to go to another car on the train. Claudio and I also decided to wander to a bar area in a different car, where he introduced me to a group of young ladies from Mexico City. They were all extremely beautiful and dressed in bright, colorful skirts and flowered blouses. I could tell they all admired Claudio and they smiled when he spoke to them.

Lorenzo was going back and forth between cars, and he kept telling me I was crazy, and I sang to him my song, in the tune of a popular Mexican song, ‘Lorenzo, amor de mi vida!” He gave me a huge smile, and the next time he came through the car, he pulled me away from Claudio and whispered in my ear that he wanted to marry me! He asked me to please consider it, and told me that his father had given his approval! I told him that I couldn’t give my approval, though, until I knew him better, but I would consider it if he could get me a job on the train. He said he’d try! Sorry, senor, I don’t want to marry anybody. I’m not ready! Before I could do anything, Lorenzo put his strong arm around my shoulders and gave me a passionate kiss. His mustache tickled my nose! Then he disappeared into the crowd.

Suddenly Claudio was beside me again, and JoAnne had followed him. She told me she was mad at me, because Claudio was her guy. It wasn’t my fault though; he came after me! Claudio ignored JoAnne and took me back to where Lisa was sitting, by Flavio, on the floor. The nine-hour journey seemed very short, and too soon we were back in Chihuahua. Claudio asked for my phone number, so he might call me some time.

We said good-bye to all our friends on the train, old and new, and picked up our bags and started to walk home in the dark. We had a difficult time finding the street, and Lisa once again thought we were lost and almost started to panic, until I pointed out a fountain in a park a few blocks from home, a familiar landmark. All my motorcycle rides with Jorge taught me the way around the city!

MONDAY, A LITTLE LATER

wooden bull made by Tarahumara IndiansWhat’s this? A tunnel. Oh, yes, I remembered it from our ride on the train. I wasn’t too far from the lodge. A tunnel in Mexico, how unique. I snapped a picture of it. As I approached it, though, the thought occurred to me, what if a train were coming? Ah, the old Indian trick, ear to the railroad tracks. I put my ear on the tracks for a couple of minutes. No, I couldn’t hear anything or feel any vibrations. OK, I felt it was safe to walk through the tunnel. I couldn’t go around it because that would mean I’d have to climb over the mountain that the tunnel went through. One more long listen and I entered the tunnel.

Complete darkness surrounded me, and I couldn’t see the end of the tunnel. Gulp. I wanted to run, but was unsure of my footing. I walked as quickly as I could without failing. OK, there’s the light at the end of the tunnel, that proverbial light I’ve heard so much about. I broke into a trot. Oh, no, what’s that sound? It can’t be—oh, yes, it is! A train coming toward me! I’d never make it to the end of the tunnel! I was too far inside to turn back.

I jumped off the tracks and was relieved that there was a small canal, about six inches deep and a foot wide. I dropped to the ground, my head between my hands, and flattened myself against the wall of the tunnel, holding my ears as the train thundered passed me. I could feel the air swooshing by me, feel the ground shaking, and feel the vibrations chilling my spine as the train blew its whistle.

Finally it was gone. Thank you, God!  What a long train!  What happened to my ear-to-the-tracks idea? Was the tunnel too long? Or did that only work in the U.S.? Or only in the movies? That was most likely. I jumped up quickly and ran out of that tunnel as fast as my feet could carry me.

Ah, freedom at last! Thank you, God!

For the first time in my life, I had been afraid for my life. I was so thankful that I still had it. Mom! I’ll be home soon! I jogged down the tracks as long as I could, then I walked. This route seemed a lot longer than the other one, and I figured that while the tracks appeared to go in a straight line, they were actually going around a curve. Eventually, I saw a clearing in the trees, and a few small cabins were in sight. Civilization!

When I arrived at the lodge, Lisa told me they had been worried about me. The other group had been back at least 45 minutes, and the train back to Chihuahua would be arriving soon. I told Lisa what had happened, and she was really scared for me. When I went to tell Bart, he was taking a nap (I guess the hike wore him out) so I told Diego. He said I could take a shower in their cabin, (did I smell that bad?) since they had lukewarm running water. (Those lucky ducks!)

I took a quick shower, and when I was finished, the room was empty, and I realized that it was time to go. I dashed back to our cabin, threw my clothes into my suitcase, and Antonio (the Dinner Bell) popped in to tell me the train was waiting for me. He grabbed by bags and we ran to the train. They were holding it just for me! Or, rather, I was holding it up. Oops. Lo siento, senores.