AHORA SÍ, LUCY
CHARACTERS: Lucía, 90 years old SCENE 1 LUCÍA sitting on a couch by a little side table in her living room. She has a pan de dulce in her hand. LUCÍA (About to take a bite off the pan.) Seven fifteen I had to get to school. It was still dark when I left home because I had to go by foot, and the blocks of La Doctores’ are long. Before leaving home I would grab two pastries and a glass of warm milk and—glug glug glug. One day I get home and my dad tells me “Here.” “What is this?” I asked him. “Our spending money. You’re the oldest. Now it’s your responsibility.” I was just a little girl. Twelve years old perhaps? (She brings the pan up to her mouth to give it a bite, but right before she does she remembers something else she wants to say and continues talking with the pan in her hand, without biting it.) And since then, no school, no nothing. Early in the morning, off to work. And when I got back, just wringing my hands— struggling to figure out how to make ends meet. (She puts the pan down on the little side table.) Even your uncle’s—your grandfather’s— your granduncle’s kids I mean! I had to provide for them, because he—(makes a sign with her hand). Get help from my sister? I wish! She was lazy. Always out with men. Until the story with that what’s-his-name? (Instrumental track of “Perfume de Gardenias” starts playing.) Your grandpa was a gift from the sky. When I married him, I tasted paradise. Perfume de gardenias tiene tu boca bellísimos destellos de luz en tu mirar. On Sundays, he would take me for a ride in the car. And there I was, cigarette in hand, just like this— No more leaving the house in the early morning. No more wringing my hands. I felt like I was dreaming. Tu cuerpo es una copia de Venus de Citeres que envidian las mujeres cuando te ven pasar. Y llevas en tu alma la virginal pureza por eso es tu belleza de un místico candor. All the women stared at us, envious of me. If envy were ringworm, I would say, all of you would be ill! He was a cutie, your grandfather. And a flirt! There they went, all the women after him. Though I also had my suitors, don’t think I didn’t. But one thing’s for sure— I was always faithful to your grandpa. That kind of thing? Not my cup of tea. Tu cuerpo es una copia de Venus de Citeres que envidian las mujeres cuando te ven pasar. Y llevas en tu alma la virginal pureza por eso es tu belleza de un místico candor. It wasn’t luck, hijas—it was God’s favor. (She finally takes a bite off her pan, reminiscing of when she used to go for rides in the car, windows down, a cigarette in her hand.) Just like that— (Music fades out.)
SCENE 2 Comb that hair, hija, you look like a wild bird! No, you don’t need to worry about me. I’ve already lived that life. One day you’ll get a chance to be in my place. And in your grandpa’s. And in your sister’s— your aunt’s I mean! As you see yourself, I once saw myself. As you see me now, you will see yourself. Stories? Of course, hija, but it would take a lifetime to tell you my story in full detail. It’s a tragedy and a fortune, hija, the fact that we forget. With your grandpa? Well, I was young. And foolish. It was what it was. It’s not that it wasn’t true. It just depends where you are what your eyes can reach. But here, I’ll tell you one more story. It was way before I met your grandpa. Before my mother passed away. He was my neighbor, back at La Doctores. Used to come looking for me since we were little kids. To go play outside. We used to say we were going to get married. But he grew up, and had to leave for the US. “Just a few months,” he said. “To work.” Your grandpa started courting me. “I'm not about to open a kindergarten!” I would say. He was five years younger than me—the scandal! Besides, I was waiting for the other one. “Now it’s for real,” he would write in his letters. “Ahora sí, Lucy.” And meanwhile, I? Still here, like a fool. Growing old. One day, that what’s-his-name came looking for my sister. He was crazy about her. But he had a family. I was up on the roof, washing everyone’s clothes, when I heard a gunshot—“Ay, Diosito Santo!” And then, another one—“Virgen María Purísima!” And so I ran downstairs. The first bullet had barely missed my sister’s ear. Not even a scratch. But the second bullet didn’t miss. He shot himself in the head. Hand still on the gun; never got back up again. There was blood all over the wall. I had to be the one to call the police, because my sister? Struck dumb. Just sitting there, right next to him. Ay hija, the things I was meant to live through! Well, I thought to myself, might as well say yes to that young man, not bad looking. Just so I can leave this place. Wearing white, as it should be. Your grandpa was a gift from the sky. When I married him, I tasted paradise. (She thinks of when she used to go for rides in the car, windows down, smoking:) Just like that— BLACKOUT.
Mariana Roa Oliva creates fiction, performance, and installation works. Originally from Mexico City, their short stories have been published in the anthologies Lados B: Narrativa de Alto Riesgo, and Under the Volcano: the Best Writing of our First 15 Years. Mariana holds an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, where they received the John Hawkes Prize in Fiction, the Feldman Prize for best stories, and the Frances Mason Harris Prize for a book-length manuscript.