AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 60

was she without her shades? After the playground, she arrived at the paradoxical Perdida Avenida, and it spoke truth to its name. When you came to the split in the dead ended Perdida Avenida, you were obligated to go one way or the other, there was no middle, in-between road. If you went right, the cunning streets and buildings manipulated you into believing the city was occupied, open and closed signs timelessly hanging in front of every once-was market, barbershop, cantina, and bank. If you went left, the wandering dogs and cumulated piles of waste appeared too sad; crying and talking in the lost dialect of Nahuatl with hushed cries. They were both empty. Part of a city too poor to move anywhere but back. The townspeople vacated quickly, leaving behind their remnants to dry out under the dastard sun. Sol had been here dozens of times, standing in the same place, and couldn’t quite remember a time she ever saw people. When she was younger, she headed here with a taste of optimism, her hand sweating tears of uneasiness in her therapists—Doctor Ronaldo Dominguez. He was a young man then with a mane of copper hair, harboring some of that optimism himself. Back then, the Zaparrita sisters were only her aunts.

The faint chirp of her watch pushed her in the right direction, a reminder that she was still running late. Her eyes welcomed the ironic street signs she had learned to memorize with a squint. If Sol didn’t know any better, she’d believe they were whittled and beat to the ground just for her: Soledad, Santa Gabriela, Nieves, Corazon, and Termino. The most pivotal and tragic moments of her twenty-six-year life rested forever on the corners of these people-less streets.

There hadn’t been a trio of killers in Guadalajara since the Zaparrita sisters’ involuntary retirement in 97’. Everything Sol knew about the murders was locked up in the bottom drawer of her desk, her own assumptions scribbled in a notebook she was too embarrassed to show anyone. I shouldn’t be this interested in the murders, she had scolded herself ever so often when the late nights became later because she felt like she was missing something. Once in a while, she heard the echoed boom of the door being blown off its hinges when the sisters were arrested. Rather, she remembers blowing the door off its hinges. The knock at the door had startled her first—it was new, coming down on the steel so viciously the ceiling shrieked in protest. Second came the unfamiliar voice of a man; Sol had never known a man, they were foreign beings that existed parallel to her world. She knew she probably had a Father, but he was gone long before she could form a memory of his voice. Before she had a chance to memorize the details of his face. She knew men spoke in a demanding tone, as if the world had been drummed out into a thin carpet and laid at their feet.

That night, curiosity and fright got the best of her, and she recalled the image of a firework soaring—the ones big and grand like those from the Dia de la Independencia celebration— penetrating the night sky and breaking off into a million beads of glass. When she opened her wide eyes, the door rested before her in smithereens, a firework whining in the distance. She had lived her own personal Big Bang. You know what happens when a door gets popped off? You become disoriented. You can’t hear and you can’t speak. You feel powerless because you are powerless, the end of an automatic weapon a kiss away from your forehead. Sol would never sit that still in her life again.

Casa de Guadalupe towered at an incredible height, the road of Senna Trees in a perfect, saccharine line dancing whimsically to the heart of the entrance in a sea of yellow buds. Sol was fascinated by the architecture, the orange Hacienda presumably leftover by a Spanish conquistador. She could see the pools of native blood rising from the bone-dry ground beneath her, one generation of captured lives after another reminding her they were buried here. Each step anchored her down, heavier than the last, the remains of fallen hermanas and hermanos coiling themselves around her ankles, begging for help. I’m sorry you’re here forever, she whimpered in her mind, but I can’t stay. And because she couldn’t do anything but say a silent prayer, she carried on, the blue sky fogging over with a stroke of sadness. The Hacienda was an eccentric, alluring sight of greens, browns, oranges, and reds. Nature had claimed parts of it back, vegetation curling up and around the front side in an almost intentional way. Eight windows with sleek slices of metal bars strangled the glass and ordained the Hacienda with a sinister touch. It was transformative; what once may have been a summer home now housed a notorious murder trio. How many people had sat on their Mothers lap at the foot of those steps? How many people no longer had a Mother? Not now, Sol silenced her subconscious with a kick.

Each security guard gave her a distinct welcome. The only woman, Sandra, smiled warmly. Her eyes never failed to gloss over with pity. The new guy kept any eye contact brief; he knew who she and the Zaparrita sisters were. Tonio with his white whisks of hair and matching mustache, always stopped her and asked a very sincere, como estas Solito lindo? He gave his life working at Casa de Guadalupe, and just like the inhabitants, his family had forgotten him. The skin around Tonio’s eyes feathered as he grinned, waving her off with a tip of his Tejana hat. Sol suppressed a smile, her hand instinctively reaching to hide it. You gotta be serious, she repeated quietly and with the faintest touch, she traced her upper lip, her nail grazing the pink flesh. When she reached Marcos, she was finally inside, her stomach shrinking into a small unused sac.

“Buenos Dias, how are you Solito lindo?” You don’t get to call me that. Marcos liked to think, or rather pretend Sol (and every woman for that matter) was attracted to him. Like her, he spoke English fluently; faints of an American drawl poking behind his white teeth from an adolescence spent in the North. He was charming, but in a devious way. Sol didn’t need her special intuition to know he was untrustworthy. His teeth were marked by every hot tongue that had stroked the top and bottom row of his pearly whites since his marriage began. And the gold wedding band he wore had more fingerprints from being taken off than being put on.

“I’m here for work.” Sol retorted, the ache in her stomach making her impatient. She was still sweating from the excruciating heat. Damn this heat, her insides fumed, a puff of smoke escaping her throat when she exhaled.

sangre nativa