1.13 – Secretos

Stephanie Sánchez Belén

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BURNING LOVE; AS TOLD BY MY AUNT LILLIAN – “She was my mother, Irmaculada. Wavy dark hair, light skin, and a half smile. My mother never fully smiled because she had things to sort out. One of those things was my father for she was not my father’s wife, but his mistress. Irmaculada gave him a wife’s oath, ‘’til death do us part.’ She also gave him three children: José, Irma, and me, Lillian, the oldest. Everyone in the neighborhood knew my father could not decide between her and his wife. My mother, being the decisive woman she was, made the decision for him. One morning, I helped my grandmother prepare the corn meal for breakfast as usual. My mother hummed a song as she set the table. ‘Well! You are positively glowing with happiness today,’...

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Meganlee Rose Rivera

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THE WAIT FOR TRUE LOVE – I always thought the superstitions of the jibaritos, the past generations of Puerto Ricans, were fake because they were abstract and hard to believe. But one night while we sat together watching our usual TV shows, I heard my Grandmother Elsie, say, “I remember the first time I saw a living dead.” “Whaaaat?” I asked, incredulous. “Yes, the living dead. That was the way people from my time called them,” she said. It was story time. I knew because she shifted her body in a certain way, crossed her legs and started moving her hands in the air for emphasis. I always found it funny the way she changed. Funny because she looked a lot like “La Comay” from the TV show “Super Xclusivo” where Cobo Santarosa disguises himself to gossip about...

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Ángel Rodríguez Rivera

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    FORBIDDEN MEMORIES – “Ah, well look at this picture of your grandpa, Alfredo, and me. And that’s your Aunt Carmen in my arms. She was like a little angel,” said my grandmother holding the photograph with both hands. “So many memories come to my mind, both charming and dark.” “Dark memories?” I asked. She was staring at the picture with a blank expression on her face. It was rather frightening because it was as if she had been hypnotized by the old photo. “Abuela?” I said finally. She snapped out of the hypnosis. “When you say dark memories, what do you mean?” I asked. “Well Ángel, there are stories regarding your grandfather that no one knows, except our inner family, of course,” she sighed. “What stories? Please tell me. I want to know,” I...

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Elizabeth Lenherr

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IN HER WORDS –  Preface My lifelong search is about discovering my truest identity. My twenties was spent exploring life to its fullest, traveling and celebrating what I felt I had been denied growing up in a small, conservative Kansas town. The majority of my travels then focused on the States and Mexico. What I learned about myself was that I have a burning desire to explore, to learn, and form intimate relationships with new cultures. Unfortunately, I had always been under the impression that traveling was something only wealthy people could do, not people like me. When I took a position at the age of twenty-seven as an Accent Reductionist in the Republic of Mauritius, I had never flown over the ocean before. Feeling as though I had beaten the odds of my...

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Katia Matías López

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THE REAL GATO – I never thought the phrase, “De tal palo, tal astilla,” was so true. It’s similar to a saying in English, “Like father, like son.” It was Gato’s story that changed my mind. I met Gato at a Christmas party at Tia Barbara’s house. Gato was my mom’s cousin but he lived far and I had never seen him before. We all sat as a family at a long wooden table, including Gato. He was at the other end but I could still hear him very well. “Remember last Christmas when Carlos fell down the stairs?” He asked. “Yeah,” his cousin, Martin, answered. “No,” a girl who sat next to him replied. “OK, I’ll explain,” said Gato with a sly smile. Then Gato told of how Carlos had fallen down the stairs. He used exaggerated gestures and movements causing everyone at the...

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Suheily Ramos Hernández

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  HIDDEN LOVE STORY? – This is a story that my grandmother, Hilda Vazquez “Mamita,” told me one sunny, Sunday afternoon. The story is about my great-grandparents from my father’s side, the Ramos’ side. Long before my father was born, a family secret began. My father’s, grandfather Bonifacio Ramos, was married to Persiliana Ramirez. They lived in Cerro Gordo, Moca in a small wooden house with their two children. One day, a neighbor, Logio Cruz asked Bonifacio for a favor. Logio had an elbow injury and had to go to San Juan to receive medical treatment. So, he asked Bonifacio if his wife, Francisca Hernandez, could stay in his home. After a week, Logio returned to pick up his wife, but Francisca refused to leave. She chose to stay with Bonifacio....

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