Monday, January 21, 2013

Virginia and Her Fears

I'm sitting on a cement bench in front of the house. The bench is against a picket fence next to the sidewalk in the front yard. My twelve year old little sister sits next to me. Her legs rock back and forth, with her hands crushed under her legs; she is crouching a little bit. She’s crying, and that makes me sad. 

Even though it's winter, we're warm, very warm, because of the heat coming from the house. The house is burning down. Nobody was home when the fire started, we just came back from school. I called my dad at work to give him the bad news.

I don't know why we ended up in this little town in the central valley of California, an agricultural region near Fresno. I don't know why we left our simple life in central Mexico. Things could have been so different.

My mom died last year, some say out of pure sadness. She died disappointed and ashamed in complete sorrow. She wasn't sick, she was defeated. Can you really die of disappointment?

My dad’s name is Plutarco. Where we’re from, if the first born is a boy, the father names the boy after him, but in this case the boy was a girl, so he named her Plutarca. Ugly name for a man but ten times worse for a woman. 

My mom said dad cursed her with such an ugly name. She said she could see the word 'puta' in her name. And that's what she became, a 'puta', or whore in Spanish.

She lives in Las Vegas now. I heard she sells her body for money. I consulted the meaning of the word ‘prostitute’ in the dictionary after hearing that word so many times in the house.

She's not completely condemned, she’s a whore, but she also goes to college. She pays for her tuition selling her body. She wanted to get out of this town, she wanted to study a career, and she loved having sex. To reach her goal she combined her three wishes. She moved out of town, she goes to college and she became a call girl. Now, she does what she wants to get what she likes, or vice versa.  

My mom used to say that Plutarca was always horny, always in need of men, and they could smell that. My mom said Plutarca would change boyfriends more frequent than her underwear. Now, my sister is in exile, my dad kicked her out. One time she sent money to mom, but my mom told me to burn it. She didn’t even touch it.

Other than that she wasn’t a bad person. I still miss her, she was a good sister to me.

My other sister, her case is even worse. She’s still in town; she’s married. I've found her having sex with different men, many times. In the car, at school, in the house, in the backyard, even in the park. My mom used to say she could fuck anything that moved. 

My sister told me that our uncle raped her and that he took her virginity. Yeah, it’s always an uncle or a cousin, but I guess she liked it, because they still do it. Now, I don’t know if we can call her a whore, because she doesn’t do it for money. I guess she’s just addicted to it. My mom used to call her a slut. One time I heard my mom call her a nymphomaniac, (a woman with abnormal desire to have sex) I checked for the meaning of that word in the dictionary when I was eleven years old. 

She does it with co-workers, friends of the family, cousins, nephews and of course, uncles. She’s unashamed, maybe even proud. She doesn't discriminate, she flirts all the time with anybody, from gardeners to lawyers and everyone in between. What I can’t understand is how her husband doesn’t know about it, when everybody in the family does. My dad kicked her out too; she is not allowed in the house anymore, but she still comes when my dad isn’t home. She loves Virginia, but my dad doesn’t want her near her. He says she could contaminate my little sister.

Now, my little sister is sitting next to me, and it breaks my heart to see her sobbing as she watches her house go up in flames. My dad put the house on his and Virginia’s name after my mom died. 

Dad says my mom died of sadness, because of the enormous affliction my two older sisters inflicted on her. My mom used to call them ‘par de pirujas,’ pair of whores. At one point my mom decided not to go out of the house anymore because she said she felt the accusatory stares from the neighbors. Then she lost interest in life and became sad, depressed and joyless, then she fell ill. 

When mom was about to die, she made my dad promise her to leave the house to Virginia, so she wouldn’t become a whore. Her logic was, if she wanted to go to college she could sell the house or maybe a decent man would marry her, even if just for the house.

Before my mom died she called my sister Virginia to give her one last piece of advice. She told her that if the word ‘Puta’ was in Plutarca’s name, the word ‘virgin’ was in the name 'Virginia'. Then she told her to honor her name and not to mess it in the mud. And she begged her not to follow the example of the other ‘par de pirujas'. Finally, she told her to save her innocence and purity for a decent man, and to avoid sex until she got married.That was her only wish, her last wish. 

But I’m worried about my little sister, because she's even more beautiful than my other two sisters. I know that her breasts will attract lots of lustful desires. I saw my other two sisters naked, I don’t remember, or I don’t want to admit if it was accidental or on purpose, but I saw them naked a few times, and it was obvious they were going to provoke enough temptations.

My little sister was in deeper trouble than she could imagine. Just the other day she was trying to remove her sweater above her head, but she pulled it up along with her undershirt and I saw her small breasts, well, medium I should say. Hers, are tits that point to heaven but can take to hell, they don't obey the laws of gravity. She tries to hide them to avoid drawing the attention of men between the ages of fifteen to seventy-five. When I was her age, I was always trying to hide my erections, I thought everybody noticed them; my crotch looked like a circus tent. My little sister does the same thing, she hides her erected tits. She she'll be a magnet to males in general. She’s in trouble and she knows it.

With the house on fire, her options are disappearing too. Her college dreams would fade away. Her good grades will decline too.  She'll be afraid of desires and temptations, afraid of enjoying sex too much, and turning into a sex maniac like her sisters. And finally to become another exile.

To other people this logic might seem like absurd concerns, but she doesn’t have other examples. What she's seen, is what seems normal to her. 

Of course, she'll be worried about getting too close to her only phobia . . .  becoming a ‘piruja’. With the house in flames, she feels like a step away from becoming one. 

The firefighters are losing the fight to the fire. Her hopes are fading away with the flames. The house is hers, but it is fast turning into ashes. At some point, mom even considered sending Virginia to a convent. But now, Virginia probably thinks she's getting further from college, and closer to sin. 

Our dad just got home, but what home? He's behind us, hugging us both. He knew we were safe. To our surprise he says not to worry, “We had fire insurance.” he says.

He says he’s going to fix it himself. He used to work in construction, and he says we’re going to get a ton of money to fix it. He just needs to do it himself. He says he won’t give the job to unscrupulous general contractors or fraudulent companies and intermediaries that take huge commissions and profits out of suffering homeowners. 

He says he'll rebuild the house, and still have enough money left for a down payment on another house. I told my dad that I didn’t get in time to save our memories, family photographs, birth certificates or the family jewels that were so precious to mom. But he said he took care of all that yesterday. 

Hmm, in the back of my mind I had a little suspicion about that, but I erased it immediately. I knew my dad would do anything to save his last girl from perdition. He knew Virginia was his last hope to make mom proud. My dad too, was trying to make sure my little sister wouldn’t become a ‘piruja’ under any circumstances. He wanted to make a hundred percent sure that my little sister wouldn’t become a whore, a slut, or even a nymphomaniac. 
My dad says that we’re spending the night in a hotel. He says that tomorrow we’ll visit mom at the graveyard to tell her the good news . . .  Virginia is safe. 

Then, Virginia holding dad's hand, looks into his eyes and simply  says, “Thank you daddy.”

Edmundo Barraza 
Visalia, Ca. 01-27-2011