El cuento de ella es uno de sudor y sacrificio. Not because she gave all of herself to become la abogada, la licenciada, la doctora, or even la maestra, her parents so desperately wanted her to be. Hell, her mom would even tell her behind her father’s back, buscate un muchacho rico que te sepa cuidar y apreciar…si no está guapo, está bien, eso es lo de menos.
Instead, because she did precisely the opposite. Juancho was poor, yes. He was guapo, yes. He had money, no. Clase, no. Connections? Not unless you considered getting a pack of cigarettes fiados at the corner store until pay day any type of power. But he was funny, charming, stupid at always just the right times…like when Ginoveba decided maybe her parents were right and she should dump him at least until he could hold down a steady job, for more than a month digo, she thought. All it took was him pulling out two napkins full of chicken nuggets that he had stolen from his latest job to get fired from as revenge, placing them in the middle of the table and saying “hey well at least we have dinner tonight prietita” to make her give him that overly tooth-baring smile, which he knew meant everything is still okay between us. He knew she was in love with him and that gave him the courage to seguir de vago.
At least that’s what mamá would say every time, on her weekly visits to their little one bedroom, one bath, no-furniture apartment, in the middle of nowhere, where the rent was cheap and all the utilities were included in the monthly payment. There in between those two gas station tienditas, the liquor store, and the panaderia was where each night they’d hold each other really tight laying flat on the floor, well separated by a thin mattress only, promising each other what was yet to come el día de mañana when they could afford it and things were surely going to be better.
¡Ginoveba Maria Guadalupe Torres! No seas tan pendeja, abre los ojos, her mother would always yell when Ginoveba would refuse to believe anything she was telling her about El Juancho. That was also always her last line before storming out of the apartment in an uproar.
From the window, her daughter would just watch. There she went jumping into her car, sitting in there for a minute or two, trying to think of what to say to her husband before calling him, to report why this week again Ginoveba would not be coming home. ¡Papá would not step foot inside that apartamentillo she had left his house for! Instead he’d send mamá to talk some sense into her daughter.
His house might have been small and bien humilde, but it was his. He’d spent the better part of his much younger years breaking his back as an obrero, un buenoparatodo, to pay it off and raise all of his seven kids inside of it. Now this little mocoso was all his little girl could think about and see. La más chiquita, la bebe, la consentida, the one who just a few years back would never have dreamt of leaving his side, now she was the one breaking his heart.
In her defense, Ginoveba really didn’t mean to do it. She was in love. What else could she do? In the novelas you always did whatever you had to in the name of love. And that’s all she was trying to do. She’d be a fiera, a salvaje, an ursurpadora, if she had to be, fight everyone and anybody to defend her amorcito corazón, Ginoveba foolishly thought.
Besides how could she have known that boyishly good looking smile Juancho first gave her when papá brought him to the house por primera vez would have turned into all this? Papá said “Beba ayudale a tu mamá a servir la cena”, that’s what he called her back then, before he was so angry at her. So there she came, rolling her eyes y toda la cosa, despeinada, desganada, and wearing what she always wore when she was just at home watching TV, a pair of basketball shorts and a big tee-shirt. The usual for the quinceañera of the casa. Only this time La Beba was completely humiliated. Her dad’s coworkers were never this young! Or guapos! Even though he looked at least three years older than her, Ginoveba was mesmerized…from the beginning.
He smiled at her! That had to mean something! Papá’s uncomfortable grunting and groaning…only more proof that Juancho now knew who La Beba was.
Now all she needed to do was figure who she actually wanted Ginoveba Maria Guadalupe Torres to be.