The daughter of a typical 1950s Mexican middle-class family, Lucía grew up over-protected, both physically and religiously, in order to preserve her virginity until marriage. She received a careful education at a Catholic school run by nuns and constant care from her maiden aunts, with whom she grew up. Perhaps this was why she had so much difficulty adapting to the reality of life at university.
As a child she listened both to the tales of Hans Christian Andersen and to family stories about the loss of their fortune during the Revolution, and she took in their resentment. She envied her girlfriends’ luxuries and travels, and she had an affection for Disney characters and American television series. Sandwiches, hamburgers and later, pizza, had a special tug on her appetite. As the only daughter, she received disproportionate attention from her parents. “She’s your only sister,” they explained when her siblings asked about the inequality of their treatment. Understandably, her relationship with her five brothers was strained.
Upon entering public university, she was beset by a swarm of suitors. She was intelligent, attractive (with pale, glowing skin), charming and kind; she quickly conquered everybody, especially the men around her, whether students or teachers. This caused problems with some of her girlfriends, who envied her. She didn’t understand the reason for these problems, sheltered by her naiveté and good manners.
After enduring the disappointments sowed by expert womanizers, Lucía finally met Federico, a tall and athletic man four years older than her, who overwhelmed her with his motorcycles and his wealthy aunt’s luxury cars. Everyone assumed that he and his brothers would soon inherit the woman’s considerable fortune—after he graduated with a degree in business administration.
They were soon married in style. As is the tradition, Lucía’s father paid for a wedding in accordance with his circumstances. But Lucía’s new husband didn’t quite meet her expectations. He was handsome, tall, professional and had a promising future; however, he was not particularly smart or intellectual, though he loved to discourse at length as if he was. In spite of this, Lucía considered him a sufficient husband.
In keeping with the newfound female participation in the world, Lucía graduated as a lawyer, but she was never able to adapt to the roughness and heavy-handedness of the Mexican courts and jails, or their corrupt bureaucracies. Ultimately she helped her husband through the many businesses he started (each of which failed), and those of her father and brothers, while visiting her mother every day.
She gave birth to two beautiful twin boys, to whom she dedicated her body and soul. She guided them from infancy to the time they entered university. Despite the financial burdens resulting from Federico’s business failures, she managed to put them in excellent schools and private universities. The twins reveled in the special treatment until, as teenagers, they began to openly mock these excesses.
Lucía kept active, and her knowledge and capacity for work made her everybody’s friend. She did little for herself, instead passing the years helping and supporting others. Through her influence, one of the twins won a scholarship to enroll in a master’s program in the United States and decided to remain in Georgia. Thus, Lucía realized one of her cherished dreams, albeit through her son, who eventually married and formed his own family in the United States.
When her son invited her to the wedding, she was personally able to accomplish another dream: to visit this grand country, and eat real sandwiches and hamburgers with that particular taste that only she could distinguish.
Yet another of her dreams was about to be realized: when she reached her 50th birthday, her son again invited her to visit him and see Disneyworld in Orlando. Although some of the illusions had faded over five decades, it was one of the most unforgettable trips of her life.
But she still has mixed feelings about those two little Mickey Mouse ears on her ankle: the tattoo her son paid for in Orlando.
Victor Reyes is a translator, teacher and native of Puebla, Mexico with decades-old ties to the Light. The Spanish-language version of this column is available at ptreyeslight.com.