Later, we had a nice dinner together. Edward was very excited about his decision to go to law school and talked so much that neither Tía Isabela nor I had a chance to tell him anything. It made us laugh even harder. Finally, toward the end of our dinner, he put down his coffee cup and leaned toward his mother.
“I have been meaning to ask you something,” he said. “I didn’t want to bring it up, because I didn’t want to spoil everything.”
“What is it, Edward?” Tía Isabela groaned, throwing me a look of feigned agony.
“When we were on our way to Señor Bovio’s home that night, you told us you had gotten him to grant the meeting by making him a promise. You never told us what that promise was. What was it?”
She looked down at her coffee cup and fiddled with her spoon, a slight smile on her lips. “I promised him I would marry him,” she said. “Who knows? Maybe I will keep it.”
“I thought you always wanted to marry him,” Edward said.
“Not while he was living with a ghost. If I had married him then, I’d probably be doing what Delia had to do, wearing his dead wife’s clothes, maybe even her wigs.”
“That was quite a chance you took, then,” Edward said.
She looked at me and nodded. “I thought it was time to take one.”
None of us spoke. I took a deep breath.
“I think it’s time to do one more thing,” she said.
“Let it be a surprise.”
We didn’t pursue her. When Sophia’s spring holiday began, and Edward’s as well, she revealed it.
Two days after we were all together, she presented us each with a plane ticket.
The following morning, we were all on our way to the airport. The flight and the drive took most of the day, but we arrived in our village in Mexico before the sun had gone down. Sophia was all eyes as we navigated the broken streets and passed the cantinas to the square, where the people had gathered to eat and sing. For her, it was truly like visiting another planet. It was even a little like that for me. I had been in such a different world.
It wasn’t until we reached the cemetery and got out to stand before the family graves that I felt I had truly come home again.
And when I looked at Tía Isabela, I could see she finally felt something similar.
She smiled and talked about her parents. She knelt at their graves and my parents’ graves and said her prayers.
“I’m sure my father is still angry at me,” she told us.
“Not anymore,” I said. “You’ve returned and won’t let him die the third death.”
She smiled and put her arm around my shoulder. “Gracias, Delia, gracias for bringing us all here.”
We joined hands, the four of us, and walked to the car to go to the square, where we would find the Mexico that was in us, that would not die, that would take us farther than we had ever dreamed, that would help us to cross over any obstacle.
And where the spirits of our family waited to embrace us and help us light the candles to guide us forever through the darkness.