By Ben Crisp and Rosalinda Flores
There was no place to go, but here.
I was raging as always, to imperfections. As such, at least, be perfect in front of this holy woman.
Something stirred into my memory, while I uttered chants I couldn’t even understand. So, this holy woman people called their mother, and the Catholics believed to be the mother of Christ, had always stunned me. No, she did not stun me like ghosts scared, but her benevolence scared my sins and inspired me to hope. At least, in this way, I could re-organize my undecided life.
At least, I’d be prim in front of her, confident in front of her; complete. Apart from my whoring affairs to get money, I wished some guy would come back for me, as my yellow dress meant waiting.
In a few weeks, my boyfriend, a married man, would decide whether to marry me and annul their marriage, or leave me for his wife. Of all the men in my life, I just got into material quests so I could sustain my falling business, but this married man was different because he thrilled my every need, other than desire.
We’ve been on and off this love affair for two years now, and I could see how he craved for my being, because of his maid wife. “My wife compared to your diplomas is only good for a housekeeper,” he told me.
And so, I summoned him. “You must choose between me and your wife.” In a few weeks, I hoped, he’d be back to cuddle me and present me a diamond engagement ring.
A yellow dress would be good to wear all the time! I’d go for this good luck hype.
“Oh, would you always come back for me, Madonna?”
In my thoughts I chanted, “My boy friend would come back for me; heaven might let the maid wife curse me, but what can I do? I have to steal something to love me, or else I won’t stop whoring. Who would come back for me? Maybe, a thousand other men, to prance on my neck and mark it ‘Hey, I’ve got your ass, too.” Will I be punished for ruining a sacred matrimony or stealing a father?
In this place, was something more real and tender. “Love me tender, love me sweet… Oh, my love complete,” I hummed. After my love affairs, here was the only concrete and beautiful thing.
Across the benches, of this, which I called a sanctuary, were a few others who breathed solace like me. Perhaps. One could be on a fitness program, another read a newspaper, and still another guy, sipped his brew. This guy, sipping his brew, could be thinking nuts like me. Or could he be thanking the magnificence of another day, while he looked up the sky, bowed low for his cup, and darted again, in front this Madonna?
Or would he look at me, too? His gaze was flaming hot. For what thoughts, he could have sensed my urgent pleading to this holy statue, sublime in simplicity and honesty. “Well, we’re flesh and bones, but if for moments, we could be holy,” an old priest said that during the mass I had attended when I was younger, so once in a lifetime I had been serious in the temples; so once pure, I was, before I came into this labyrinth. Would my pleadings echo around?
I caught him looking into nothingness, unconscious maybe, when he glanced into my space and my confused efforts. That time, when he raised his cup, swallowed and sipped again, I thought he was a handsome bum.
April 23, 2012