I am sitting on a cement bench in front of my house. The bench is against a picket fence next to the sidewalk on the front yard. My twelve year old little sister is next to me, her legs are swinging back and forth the way you do it to start going on a swing. Her hands are under her legs; she is crouching a little bit and she’s crying, and that makes me sad.
It’s cold, it’s winter and it’s cold, but we’re warm, very warm because of the heat coming from our house. The house is burning down. My little sister’s house is burning down. We just came back from school. Nobody was home when the fire started. My dad is at work; I just called him to give him the bad news.
My mom died last year, out of pure sadness. She died disappointed and shamed. In complete sorrow.
We came from Mexico. We landed in this little town called Visalia in the central valley of California, an agricultural region near Fresno. My dad’s name is Plutarco. Where we’re from, if the first born is a boy he's named after the father, but in this case it was a female, so he named her Plutarca. Ugly name for a man but ten times worse for a woman. She's now in Las Vegas, Nevada; she is a prostitute; she sells her body for money. I consulted the meaning of the word ‘prostitute’ in the dictionary when I was ten years old.
My mom used to say that my dad cursed her with such an ugly name. She said that even in the words of her name you could find what she became, a 'puta', or whore in Spanish.
She lives in Las Vegas. She’s a whore and a college student. She pays for her own tuition, she’s using her body to pay for college. She wanted to get out of this town and she wanted to study a career. That was the best solution she could find. Now she’s doing what she likes to become what she wants, or vice versa.
She was always horny, and men can smell that. My mom used to say that she changed boyfriends more often than her underwear. One time she sent money to my mom, my mom told me to burn it. She didn’t even touch it. Now, my sister is in exile, she was thrown out from our house; my dad kicked her out. 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 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 whenever they see each other they still do it. Now, I don’t know if we can call her a whore, because she doesn’t sell her body, 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 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, even family members, 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 my little sister, but my dad doesn’t want her near her. He says he could contaminate my little sister.
Now, my little sister Virginia is sitting next to me, she is still sobbing because her house is burning down. My dad put the house on his and my sister’s name after my mom died. My 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 my mom was about to die she made my dad promise her to leave the house to Virginia, so she wouldn’t become a whore. 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 also 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 wait until she got married and that that was her only wish, her last wish.
Now, what I’m worried about is my little sister, because she's even more beautiful than my other two sisters. Her breasts are going to attract even more lustful looks. 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 many desires and 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. She’s going to lure and raise lustful desires. Hers, are tits that point to heaven, but can take to hell. Tits that won’t obey the laws of gravity, tits that now she tries to hide 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 is doing the same thing, trying to hide her erected tits. She will attract lustful looks anywhere. She’s in trouble, and she knows it.
Now, with the house burning down she’ll be afraid of wanting to go to college. She’ll be afraid of getting good grades and everybody having great expectations for her to go to college and not having money for it. She will be afraid of needing money for any reason. She’ll be afraid of sex, and she’ll be afraid she might enjoy sex too much and turn into a sex maniac like her sisters. To other people it might seem like absurd preoccupations, but she doesn’t have other examples, what she has seen is what seems normal to her. But most of all, she’s worried about getting too close to her only phobia, to become a ‘piruja’. With the house burning down, she feels like a step away from becoming one.
The firefighters are losing the fight to the fire; that’s why my sister is still crying. Her hopes are disappearing with the flames. The house is hers, but there is no house anymore. With the house intact, she thought she could please our mom even more, and become a nun, but now she felt a step away to graduate as a whore instead.
Our dad just got home, but what home? He's behind us, in the middle, hugging us both. He knew we were safe. To our surprise, he tells us not to worry, “We have 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.
In any case, he says we could build a new house right here 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, like family photographs, birth certificates and other important documents or our family jewels that were so precious to my 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 opportunity to make my mom proud. I guess my dad 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.
My dad says that we’re spending the night in a hotel. He tells us not to worry and says that tomorrow we’ll visit our mom at the graveyard to tell her the good news. Virginia is safe.
Virginia starts walking by my father’s side. She grabs his hand, looks into his eyes and says, “Thank you daddy.”
Visalia, Ca. 01-27-2011
Visalia, Ca. 01-27-2011