The Hundredth Meridian

Mother and Daughter

Neither Mr. nor Mrs. Villa slept much that night from worry over Contracepción and her love interest.  From time to time, one or the other would drift off—AveMaría into nightmares of a Muslim wedding, Héctor to dream of thrashing the lusty young Islamist within an inch of his life.  But they would soon wake and lie side by side in the darkness, discussing in hushed tones the necessary measures to be taken before AveMaría delivered Contracep to work at the mosque the next morning.

Héctor was all for confronting their daughter at breakfast and forbidding her outright to see the fellow again.  His wife favored collecting Contracep herself after work on pretence of driving her to the Los Lunas mall to shop for new shoes and postponing the unpleasantness until after supper in the presence of Bro. Billy Joe, who was expected to drop by for dessert and coffee.  Héctor, who considered AveMaría’s plan a classic example of weak-minded female indirection, held his tongue anyway.  If only his children were reversed in age and it were Dubya he had to deal with tomorrow!  For some reason he didn’t understand but which had nothing to do with cowardice (he assured himself), Héctor felt he’d rather face a firing squad than have to lay down the law to his daughter on an issue of romance.  And, was she really his daughter anymore?  A great part of his anguish,...

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