Saturday, September 5, 2009

La Catrina

(I'm definitely not done editing this! It has some flow issues to correct, but I thought you guys might enjoy the rough draft :D )

The streets of Mexico are alive tonight. Rows upon rows of candles cast their flickering light on the cobblestone streets, allowing the townspeople to steal glances at the brightly colored flowers and ofrendas. The smell of freshly baked bread fills the air, mingling with the incense, and chocolate, and roses. Men on stilts strut about the village as children skip along below. Mariachi music dances within the listener's ear, bright colors and candy skulls fill every empty void; the streets of Mexico are alive tonight.

A young girl paces slowly towards a small framed picture with candles surrounding it, her zapatas clicking along on the tile. She is wearing a traditional dancer's gown, the many folds dragging along the floor as she walks. She kneels down and places a doll amongst the candy skulls, flowers, and candles, right next to the framed picture. The doll is a catrina, a day of the dead figurine resembling a skeleton. It depicts a woman wearing a traditional dancer's gown, its many folds bunching up on the ground as it is placed at the ofrenda. "Ay Esperanza, I miss you Esperanza, if only you were alive tonight."

And suddenly, the young girl was in a different place. A place where there was dancing, and long flowing gowns, and everything around her began to dance as if it were all part of some grand Jarabe Tapatio, and her heart was full. She felt a wholeness again that she thought had been lost to pain, sadness, and emptiness. She felt a presence she had so missed and so longed for, an incredible warmth that brought her relief at last.

Just as soon as the dance had begun, it ended. And the candles faded, and the music stopped. The sweet smells dissipated, and the presence was dropped. And there she sat, the bottom of her gown forming a great circle on the floor. And she cried, and she cried, until she could cry no more. "Ay Esperanza," she wept, "Ay Esperanza, if you were only alive tonight."

And she looked up at the sky, perhaps wondering if she would ever dance with her mother again. "Ay mi madre," she cried, picking up the catrina and holding it close to her heart, "ay mi madre, me duele tanto, me duele tanto, if only you were alive tonight."

11 comments:

Simon said...

Aw. That is really touching. Very nicely done indeed.

Herding Cats said...

love it.

jadedj said...

I don't know what the issues are that you have with it, but I have none. Very well done, indeed.

YayaOrchid said...

Very nice! You've brought to life a scene of life in Mexico during the 'death' celebrations. I think Gloria from Viva la Vida would really enjoy this post. She enjoys making artwork with catrines and skulls.

Mr. Charleston said...

Ditto all of the above. Love the tales of your culture JP. To folks like me, who have never really been exposed to it, except as tourists, they ooze with rich colors and fragrances.

Juan Pablo said...

Thanks so much everyone! :)

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Yep. I definitely want to go to Mexico. BADLY. The smells you portray alone makes me want it. Plus there's something just so provocative and evocative and alive about Mexico. Nice entry senor!

Juan Pablo said...

Thanks veggie assassin! :)

glorv1 said...

Hola Juan Pablo. I too thought that was a very moving story. Come November 2 there will be MANY blogs posting their Dia De Los Muertos posts. If you go to my blog and click on the link that says Dia De Los Muertos 2009, it will take you to Stephanie's blog. Last year was a great success for the DIA. Tons of people posted pictures of their ofrendas. It was beautiful, sad, heartwarming, and special, like your story today. Thank you for sharing. Take care.

Juan Pablo said...

muchisimos gracias como siempre, Gloria!

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