The adobe house had a long driveway and when cars would arrive dust would flair up, especially in the summer time. Her husband had driven off. It was summer, and the dust was lit up in the early morning air.
She held a baby on her hip and moved some things around on the stove. But she had a purpose this morning.
The baby would be fine on the floor; he was fed. The other children were asleep. So she moved to the bedroom and to a cabinet. She opened it, wiping her hands on her dress. She pushed around his things, bibles, books, hats and handkerchiefs. She pushed the suits and clothes back and forth on their hangers. Then she squatted down and saw a box. She reached in and pulled it out.
She set it on the bed, their bed. It was a cigar box, but it was full of paper not cigars. Not just paper, letters.
Your hands, they are rough. I love how they feel on my skin. And what can I say about your green eyes, the way they look at me when you fill me.
“Chingado,” she said. But slow. Cheeengaadtho.
“When we’re done, I love to nuzzle your armpits, and bury myself in you.”
She knew it. She knew the woman. Mother fucker. She lived just up the road, past the end of the driveway. She was married.
She went to the kitchen. She turned on the radio. Que Tal Si Te Compro was playing.
She fumbled around for a knife. She needed something nobody would notice. She tucked different ones in her dress and apron. She took them all out and dropped them on the floor. The noise woke a son. He walked out, bleary eyed.
“Que te pasa, mama,” he said.
“Nada,” she said.
Cuco Sanchez was on the radio now, Derecho a la vida.
She grabbed the largest knife and left everything else on the floor. She took the letters and stuffed them down the front of her dress. The knife she put in a pocket in her apron. She practiced drawing it and made stabbing motions.
“Vamos,” she said, grabbing the boys hand.
They marched out the door and down the driveway. When she left, the radio was playing another Cuco Sanchez song, Guitarras, lloren guitarras.
She held her son’s hand as she walked purposefully toward the woman’s house. Along the way, she took her hair down.
When they arrived, she pounded on their door. She didn’t knock. She beat the door with her left hand as hard as she could, holding her son’s hand with right.
“Abre la puerta, puta,” she shouted. “Esta la hora de tu muerte!”
Bang, bang, bang.
The door flies open. It’s the woman’s husband.
“Get off my property, bitch,” he says. He pulls out a gun. “Go home!”
She stands there for a moment. Then she takes the letters and throws them at his feet. She stares at him. Their eyes are locked.
“Puedes leer?” she asks. “Entonces, leer esa.”
She turns and walks away, still holding her son’s hand. They march back home. She opens the door, picks up the baby. She puts her hair back up. She changes the radio to a different station. It’s Marty Robbins, I’ll Go on Alone.”
She finds the knife in her apron and laughs to herself. She puts it and all the others away. She puts together the pressure cooker filled with beans. Tonight is a church meeting, led by her husband. She needs to prepare the food.
When the people arrive that evening, she’s exhausted from cooking and arranging things in the tiny house to accommodate all the people. Cars start arriving. People start coming in and sitting down. She greets them. Then he gets there.
She’s as officious as she can be. He introduces her. She starts to speak about her day, about how she walked up the road to kill her husband’s lover. How she took her son with her. It doesn’t take long before he pushes her into the bedroom and takes off his belt and beats her. She screams as loud as she can, she fights back with everything she has.
Some of the men at the meeting come in and hold her down. There is a rug in one of the rooms. She is kicking and screaming. They hold her down. One of the men suggests rolling her up in the rug. They carry her there, set her down, and roll her in the rug. Only her head is sticking out.
“Take her,” he says.
“We will,” the other man says.
They carry her off into one of the cars parked in that long driveway. And they disappear.
“Lo siento,” he says. Then he leads them in a hymn.