Little Maria

Below is the thirteenth segment of a new short story, ‘Little Maria.’ While the story is new, it is based on a chapter from my novel, Unidentified Woman, a literary crime about rape, revenge and redemption. I believe it stands alone as is, and will reward you handsomely when you read it.
*
Not today maybe. Because today Big Mamá calls me into her room in the morning after all the girls leave for work. That never happened before, Adela, so I’m afraid I’m in big troubles. She has a nice room with a real bed, and a white sink too. She tells me to sit on a wooden chair opposite her, while she sits on the bed. Don’t know what I did wrong. Don’t know why I’m being punished this way. All I know is, after El Meya she is the most powerful person on the farm. Even more than Mario. But now my luck with her is coming to an end, I’m afraid.
You’re very lucky, Little Maria, she tells me instead. You survived one year in the farm. Today is your anniversary!
Had no idea a year could pass so fast. Maybe it’s fall again, don’t know. This morning really felt a little chilly. Lost all sense of the passing of time and of important dates. Truth is, I think less and less of Mami and Papi. How come they didn’t look for me? How come they didn’t call the police? How come they didn’t come here to rescue me from this horrible place?
But I think of you, Adela, all the time I think of you. What you doing this minute? What you look like now? Sure you are pretty and all the boys are crazy over you. There are no boys here at the farm at all, just ugly, bad men. Sometimes I imagine I’m back at school, or even jumping rope with you again. Like we used to. It’s the only thing that makes me feel good: remembering that.
She kisses me on my lips, Big Mamá, for a long time. I don’t like it. She hugs me too. Almost kills me, so strong she hugs me. Then she tells me that one day, if I start talking again, I will take her place as Big Mamá. Because I’m strong, that’s what she says, and because I’m a survivor. Very few girls survive here the whole year.
Thanks, Big Mamá, I nod my head. But I want to ask her how come she is here doing what she is doing? How come she is helping these men do all those terrible things to us girls?
Me—I would never do that! And how come she never wrote to my parents when I arrived here? How come she doesn’t call the police right now? How come she hit my head against the wall that first day in the bathroom? And how come she kissed me on my lips like that just now?
But before I can ask her any of these questions, before I attempt to see if I can speak again, she surprises me with a present. A nice, small box wrapped with colorful paper and tied with red ribbons. She tells me to unwrap it and open it so I do what she says. Find a box of chocolates inside, Adela. Can’t believe my eyes. Haven’t seen a piece of chocolate in such a long time. Live on tamales with beans and dirty porridge. So I take one piece and put it in my mouth. Chew on it very slowly. It tastes like no other thing I have ever tasted in my life. It tastes like heaven.

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Filed under Crime, Culture, Literary

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