Mexican Girl on a Bus

girl on a bus 2After an unplanned hiatus, I am happy to be back blogging again. The following story came about as part of a writing exercise at a writing retreat I recently attended. We were given a photo to write about, with a series of prompts to help us. This beautiful, sorrowful  Mexican girl haunted my heart while I wove a story about her.

Before I left for the bus stop, my mother shouted down the hall, “Costanza! Be sure to ask your father for some money. Tell him his children are hungry.”
Then she laughed in a bitter, hard way and slammed the bedroom door. But not before I heard the rumble of a man’s voice within.

After I had been riding the bus a while, a man and a boy sat down behind me.  I could hear everything they said. The boy read aloud from a school notebook while the man he called “Papa” helped him with the hard words.

The father’s voice was rounded and full of kindness. I did not turn around but I thought he would have his arm around the boy’s shoulders. It made my heart ache.

As the bus stopped in front of a restaurant, I could feel my face slipping, slipping down. The sun shining through the bus window dried tears in salty trails on my cheeks. I watched the man and boy get off the bus and walk down the sidewalk. The boy took the man’s hand. I turned away.

I think I slept a little because when I opened my eyes, I was almost the last one on the bus. A rusty wrought iron gate faced me when I stepped down. I walked through it, dragging my feet on the weedy path. It was quiet here where my papa was. I could hear birds twittering and the wind in the trees. When I got to the end of the path, I went a bit further. My papa was close now. There, next to the crooked stone cross.

The wilted flowers in my hand dropped onto his name, Constantine Manuel Rios, stamped on a cheap metal plate sunk in the earth. I am his namesake, you see.


© photo credited to Irene Lo Scerbo

©Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Valerie Ronald and scriptordeus with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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