Every night as the sun slipped down behind the red canyon walls, she turned from the stove to peek once more through the white lace curtain. She could measure the moments of her life, she thought, by all the years she’d watched and waited at the window as evening fell, the beans and posole simmering on the stove, fresh tortillas warming in the old oven.
Night after night as Mateo slowly pushed it open, the old barn door would complain, much like an old man getting up from his easy chair groans from aching joints. In her stall, Poquita would whinny and knock the gate with her hoof, welcoming old Blanco back home. And every night her husband’s soft voice floated across the yard and through the open kitchen window. “Calmate, bellita. Calmate.”
That would be the time to quickly spoon the beans and posole into a blue ceramic bowl, one her Abuela Aguasanta gave her years ago. The bread was sliced, and often there would be fresh-baked pie for dessert. The table was set, a bottle of cold beer chilled in the old fridge.
She returned to the window and anxiously peered through the lace, noting with some anxiety the gathering darkness in the yard. The sky above the canyon walls still held a small glow of light, outlining the black silhouettes of the tall ponderosas towering silently on the tops of the cliffs.
Perhaps Mateo stopped to talk with someone. Perhaps he had extra work today, up there on the mountain. He came home so tired in the evenings now, his back slightly stooped from the years of hard work. She worried that he might fall on the rocky trail as he came down in the dark. What if Blanco stumbled and fell? She turned to the small shrine in the corner by the wood stove.
“Santa Madre de Dios,” She whispered. “Please bring my Mateo home to me. He is getting old and still works so hard. Please help him.”
Once more she returned to the window, faded eyes struggling to see through the darkness. And then, very faintly, she heard the groan of the old barn door. Poquita whinnied loudly, banging her hoof against the stall.
“Calmate, bellita. Calmate.”
A tear slid down her cheek. She held out her thin, blue-veined hand, softly touching the delicate robe of the Holy Mother.
“Gracias,” she whispered softly. “Gracias, Madre.”
Then with purpose she turned to the stove and very carefully spooned the beans into Mateo’s special bowl.
JHG Journal 10/2017