Mary Peace Finley
Award-winning author of books for young people
© Mary Peace Finley 2012
"Pah! Let him ramble like an old bear!" Mamá jerked her head toward Teresita. "What
do I care if he goes?" She flounced toward their one-room adobe casita scattering
daughters and squawking chickens, clutching the gold and silver coins Papá had earned
making adobe bricks to build Bent's Fort. "Magdalena, María, Constancia, help me with the
The comer of Papá's left eye twitched violently. Teresita remembered that twitch, how it
flickered when Papá was upset, pressing stubby eyelashes against high cheekbones,
straight and harsh. Her own eyelashes pressed down that way, too.
"Three years," he muttered, shaking his head. "Three long years for this." Teresita
wanted to run to Papá, put her arms around him, and make things right, but she knew
only Mamá could do that. When I get married, she promised herself, I will never treat
my husband the way Mamá treats Papá! Never!
"Teresita?" Julio edged to her side, speaking softly. "What happened?" His shoulders lifted, then
fell. "Why is Mamá acting that way? Why are women like that?"
"Julio!" Teresita's hand landed on Julio's face with a loud smack. Her voice, out of control, cried out,
"I'm not like that! I'm not like Mamá at all!" She backed away, staring at the stinging palm as if it
were not her own. She had slapped the person she loved most in the whole world—exactly what
Mamá might have done.
Julio's startled green eyes stretched wide, filled with disbelief. A red splotch began to rise on his