Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Canal Part 2

By Loida Casares Ruiz

It was getting late in the afternoon and the sun had started making its descent to the West. Sofia was starting to worry. She hadn’t heard from her two youngest sons all day.

“Where can those boys be? I hope they aren’t getting into any trouble,” she said to herself as she dried her hands on her apron and looked out her kitchen door. She pushed her light brown hair, streaked with grey behind her ear, pensively.

“You know those boys Mamá, they get tied up playing their games and they loose all track of time,” her eldest daughter Veronica answered wearily as she stirred a pot of stew before sitting down again to a magazine she was reading.

Since she was he eldest she always had to stay at home helping her mother with the wash and the cooking. She longed to be in town with some of her friends, at the picture show or window shopping. She always sounded bored and listless. She hated her life and she wished that she had the life her mother had at her age.

Sofia had a much easier life as a young girl. She was the daughter of a wealthy Spanish merchant in Reynosa who had married outside of the family’s circle of approved families. Now she was married to a poor farm worker with too much Indian blood for her parents’ comfort and her family quickly forgot her.

“Lorenzo, come here!” she called out into the yard.

“Si Mamá,” Lorenzo answered coming out of a shadow where he had been reading a book. He was only two years older than Rudy but he didn’t really play with the boys. He was the bookworm and the intellect of the family. He dreamed of a day when he could leave this small town for a university.

“Lorenzo, please go see if you can find your brothers. It’s getting late and they’ll need to be in for dinner soon.”

Lorenzo had only been gone a couple of minutes when she looked up out of the kitchen window and saw him hurrying down the driveway again with Old Man Lucas. She didn’t like their manner and it seemed that they were coming to tell her something important. Something, she guessed, that had to do with Rudy and Nico.

“Ay Dios mio!” she exclaimed nervously wiping her hands on her apron.

Veronica looked up from her magazine at the table surprised. She could hear the worry in her mother’s voice and she looked out the kitchen screen door to see her brother and Old Man Lucas too.

“Don Lucas,” her mother called out from the doorway, “What can I do for you?” she asked nervously.

Old Man Lucas reached the door out of breath and red in the face. His white hair was stuck to his head and he took of his big straw cowboy hat to fan himself.

Lorenzo was usually very polite and let the adults speak first but he looked at Don Lucas impatiently and burst out, “Mamá, Don Lucas found something at the foot of the old oak tree next to the canal.”

Sofia’s eyes went down to the pair of shoes that Don Lucas was holding in his hands and she immediately recognized them as Nico’s shoes.

“Ay, Madre de Dios,” she exclaimed, “What were they doing there?”

Finally Don Lucas was able to get the words out after breathing heavily for a few moments.

“Earlier today I was walking by the old oak tree next to the canal and I heard your boys playing up there. I heard Rudy challenging Nico to go out on one of the limbs that extends over the water. I told them they should come down but they told me they were fine. I kept on walking but I had a bad feeling about it all afternoon.

Later I decided to walk by again to see if I could see them still there when I found these shoes. I called for them and I looked for them the whole walk here but I never saw them anywhere.”

Sofia started for feel faint but she knew she couldn’t over-react. They had to search for the boys to see if they were anywhere nearby.

“Lorenzo, you go to find your father. Tell him he needs to come home now. Tell him what has happened.”

“Veronica, I need for you to get the word out to all of your brothers’ friends. We need to see if they are at someone’s house first. Let’s get going.”

Sofia took action and she and Don Lucas walked to the canal together to see if they could see the boys any where. He showed her exactly where he had found the shoes.

“You don’t think they fell in do you?” she asked the old man, her green eyes wide.

“Ni que lo mande Dios,” Don Lucas replied, “But I think you should prepare for the worst.”

1 comment:

El Güero said...

Is there more? Looking forward to Part 3.