When Mother died all that was left was a void, a hollow in my chest where my heart had been. I would dream about her though.
Nice dreams. I had sweet dreams of music, dancing, fiestas. We would put on our party dresses and dance together while the mariachis played. We would eat freshly baked pan dulce from plates stacked high. I wish it had stayed that way but it didn’t. It couldn’t. It changed.
I don’t dream of Mother anymore because to dream you must sleep and I seldom sleep these nights. I don’t want to be asleep when Mother is home. Mother is here, in this house. She speaks to me directly now. Oh, it began simply enough, “Adelita, you should put on a wrap, hace frio.” Or, “Adelita, put a pork roast into the oven. I love the way the aroma fills the kitchen.” I would come home and find fresh cut flowers in a vase next to my bed. I knew that they were from her.
Quickly though, it changed. She became hard. You know what I mean? And demanding. The first time she led me to do it. She started slow. “Adelita, that Señor Duran sat behind you in church today. I don’t like the way he was looking at you.”
“Adelita, Señor Duran followed you home from the market today. Be careful, mi hija.”
“Adelita, Señor Duran means you no good. You must stop him. You can easily kill a man with a blow to the head. A shovel would work well.”
When Señor Duran was killed last summer no one suspected me. After that it got easier. Señora Mendez was the last. They say she fell from the bridge, hit her head, and drown in the river. In fact they almost got it right! That is pretty close to how it happened. She didn’t fall though.
You know, Mother doesn’t even give me reasons to strike anymore. She just gives me the names and I do as she asks. The last name she gave me was yours, Señor. I hope you enjoyed your tea. You should be finding it hard to concentrate now and difficult to move.
Tomorrow is el Dia de los Muertos and I must go put flowers on Mother’s grave. Marigolds, she always loved marigolds. But tonight I must prepare a grave for you.