Chapter 17: Rosa
Thick clouds petulantly collide into a swirling veil of grayish-green thick soup. Winds sweep the desert floor and lift bursts of sand that spiral like flames to the sky. The wind rattles a loosened shutter against the adobe wall. Men are the ones who lose their faith in the center of a storm.
Rosa stared at the ceiling. It’s 4:15 a.m. An iridescent hue from the storm peered through the window. Her husband, Pepe, snored in counterpoint to to the tapping of the shutter loosely secured to the outside wall. She turned to him. His sausage lips are parted as he snores in a staccato. His waxy eyelids are sunken above his fleshy cheeks. His bushy mustache and once jet-black hair is darted with grey. She wishes that he had left her a long time ago.
Rosa puts on an ironed apron. The apron shows signs of staining from food color and hot pans. She puts on her stained flat rubber sole shoes. She has three aprons that she cleans during the week. It is important that as a baker, her appearance is fresh. But, Rosa is unhappy with her tattering clothes, her rounding face and her sagging arms. Her uniform is showing her diminished authority. She’s had a crooked smile and her front teeth have not been quite straight ever since she was a child, and she is relegated to limit her smiles. Even when children are excited about a cupcake or empanada, Rosa will not smile. She is convinced that her ability to not smile allows her to see the sorrow in others.
Rosa leaves a note on the kitchen table for Pepe. He is to pick up some supplies for the bakery from the super mercado and eggs from Sancho’s ranch. She leaves a small amount of folded bills under the note and hopes that he can stretch the money.
The aluminum cover over street lamp down the block is pushed to one side by the gusting winds. The always dim lighting from the lamp is distorted by waves of dust that the wind is tossing about. Dust lifts off of the dirt streets. And Rosa takes her scarf and wraps it around her face as a filter. She is always creeped out by the four block walk to the panederia. It is not the darkness that she fears, but the creatures that live in the night.
She heads to the refuge of her bakery. It’s her early morning refuge away from Pepe. She finds solace in the racks and pans in the bakery. The possibility that exists with each pan and the hope that it brings to the sadness of her patrons.
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