“How dare you pound on this door like that?”
“I wasn’t pounding. What is happening?”
“This sneaking around and violating of my rules will end here and now,” she said instead of replying.
“I won’t leave here until I find out what’s going on. I want to speak with Señor Bovio. Señor!” I called. “Please!”
She shook her head calmly when he didn’t come to the door.
“Yelling like that won’t do you any good now. You might as well pack your things tonight. I assure you, you’ll be leaving tomorrow.”
“I won’t. I won’t leave my baby. You have no right to tell me what to do.”
“No, it is you who have no rights anymore, Delia, especially when it concerns the baby. Have you forgotten? You signed them away. Señor Bovio will have to choose between you and me, and whom do you think he will choose, Delia?”
“I don’t know what you’re doing, but I know you’re taking advantage of his sorrow. You’re a sick woman,” I said, gathering my courage.
“Am I? Who’s been in trouble with the law? Who nearly lost her baby because of drugs? Who signed away her baby for money? Whom will people be more inclined to believe, you or me?”
“Won’t what? Please stop wasting my time. It’s very late. Go to sleep. Enjoy your last night here. There’s a motel I can recommend, by the way. It caters to illegal immigrants. You’ll be right at home. Good night,” she said. She turned and went back into Adan’s room.
I heard the door being locked. I debated whether to pound on it again and again until Señor Bovio came to his senses, but I decided not to make a scene that could disturb Adan Jr. and give her more ammunition to shoot at me.
I’ve got to get help now, I thought. I’ve got to get her away from my baby. Somehow, I’ve got to make Señor Bovio see what is happening and why it is wrong for him as much as for Adan Jr.
I had no idea how I would do it, but I knew this was my sole purpose for living now.
I returned to my room to pray and call on the spirit of mi abuela Anabela to return to me and help me.
“Give me the strength; give me the wisdom,” I begged.
I closed my eyes, but I slept for only minutes on and off. I was exhausted when the morning light shattered the darkness and pulled the stars back into the sky. Somehow, however, I reached down deep and gathered the energy I needed to rise and dress and go face the enemy.
I knew that the enemy wasn’t simply Mrs. Newell or mi tía Isabela or mi prima Sophia.
It wasn’t simply the ojo malvado, either.
The enemy was my own fear, my own weakness.
There was so much first to defeat in myself before I could defeat the rest.
But I would do it. On the graves of my family, on the memories of my parents whom I cherished, on the very essence of my own soul, I pledged and swore that I would save the baby I had nearly lost once. I would win back the respect of my ancestors.
And in doing so, I would save all those I loved.
Señor Bovio was already at the table dressed for work. He had finished eating his breakfast and was simply sitting there, staring down, not even reading his paper. I stood there for a few moments, waiting for him to realize that I had entered the dining room, but he didn’t look up.
“Señor,” I said.
He raised his gaze from the table and turned slowly to me. For a moment, he looked as if he had completely forgotten who I was. Then he blinked, and his expression changed to a look of sternness, anger.
“Your car is outside, all registered and insured,” he said.