February Challenge from Anna
It was a sunny day but the breeze kept it from being
uncomfortable and Johnny sat under a tree enjoying the apple Teresa packed
for his dessert. He had a few minutes rest before finishing the fence line
repairs. “Got to keep the ol’ man happy,” he called to Barranca, “and no
you can’t have my apple.”
With a full stomach and the sound of the breeze through the leaves, Johnny stretched out under the tree, closed his eyes, and remembered another day such as this one.
In his mind’s eye he saw the usual poor village found
all over Mexico. It was filled with peons who had long ago given up on
anything better, government soldiers who pillaged what little the villagers
had left, and of course the occasional pistolero.
Johnny loved watching the pistoleros and hoped to be one when he grew up. Then he could protect his mama, and the villagers would stop being mean to her.
Johnny was running down the dusty street followed by two bigger boys. He ducked between the cantina and the store, he stopped and leaned against the cantina wall trying to catch his breath. When the coast was clear he headed for home.
He saw her standing in front of the shack, her shiny black hair glimmered in the sunlight and the breeze blew the long strands in her eyes. When she saw him, she smiled and held out her arms for him. He wished he could cover the bruises on his arms and face because it always made her sad. When he got to her she hugged him and kissed his head. He like it when she hugged him.
“Te amo mi hijo.” She turned him toward the shack they lived in and pointed to a basket and blanket by the door.
“A picnic.” He bounced on his toes and ran over to pick up the basket.
Maria picked up the blanket and took Johnny’s free hand and together they walked to the stream west of the shack, it was their favorite spot. Johnny sat the basket down and helped his mother spread the blanket under the tree, when she knelt he handed her the basket. He was so excited and hoped that his mother’s wonderful tamales were part of the picnic.
Maria smiled when she heard his stomach growl, “Are you hungry mi hijo?”
“Si mama,” he relied as he tried to peek around her. His face lit up when she handed him a tamale, “Gracias mama.”
It was a sunny day but the breeze kept it from being uncomfortable so after lunch Johnny played in the stream. The cool water felt so good and he wished mama would swim with him. He looked toward her, she was sitting under the tree watching him, he waved.
It was a perfect day, just him and mama. When he caught a frog he held up his catch. She laughed and motioned for him to come to her. He released the frog since mama wasn’t fond of the slimy things and ran to her.
When he sat on the blanket she pulled him into her arms and sang to him while running her fingers through his sweaty hair. Johnny felt so safe and loved when in his mother’s arms, he wished this day would never end.
Johnny smiled, not all of his memories of Maria were
sad and he truly missed her. Shaking his head he stood and stretched out
the kinks then tossed the apple core to Barranca, “Well boy best get busy
before the ol’ man comes checking on me.”
He looked up at the clear blue sky, yep it sure was a nice day.
I just wanted Johnny to have some good memories. EJ