The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my mother, Mery. This is another memory that my mom specifically remembers despite the fact that she is not very fond of it. It is the story of my mom and my aunt Janet's First Holy Communion experience. Their stepmom, Elsa,  forced them to walk from their house to the Church, which was ten blocks away, in the searing heat at eight years old. She forced them to wear the traditional habit and veil that nuns wore instead of pretty white dresses like the other girls. There was no specific reason as to why she hated her stepdaughters. Mery assumes that Elsa hated their mom, also known as their dad's ex-wife, and wanted to take her anger out on the girls. She was simply the evil stepmom. Although it isn't a joyous memory, she remembers it very clearly because of the milestone she and her sister hit that day.

As Mery and Janet stepped outside of their house, the sweat instantly accumulated on their foreheads and dripped onto their white gowns as they dragged their feet across the dirt. It was nearly 100 degrees outside but their evil stepmother Elsa did not care. She forced them to wear the traditional outfit that nuns wore to the celebration of the sacrament - a white tunic with a white veil - rather than the beautiful white dresses and white veils that all little girls wore to their First Holy Communion. Lifting one boot after another, Mery and Janet slowly began to run out of energy.

“I’m not going to make it, Mery!” cried Janet. “We’re still ten blocks away.”

The Church was ten blocks away but Elsa believed that walking would be better than taking a cab.  

“Nine...more...blocks” Mery whispered out of breath, afraid that Elsa would hear their complaints.

Elsa walked behind them with a dark grin on her face. Watching them suffer brought her pleasure. With her folding fan in her right hand and a cold water bottle in the other, she let out a sinister laugh. Mery turned her head just in time to see Elsa gulp down the crisp, clear water. She imagined how it would feel going down her throat. She imagined that this is what hell was like. 

“Seven. We can do it,” she sighed. “We won’t let her win.”

“Shush!” yelled Elsa. They continued their journey in silence to the Church.

As they reached the final block before the Church, they wiped the sweat off of their faces.

“What on earth are you both wearing?” said one of their classmates as she stepped out of her family’s car.

Mery’s rosy red face stared at her in awe. The girl wore a beautiful white dress with a long lacy veil. Her white heeled shoes clicked and clacked on the ground with every step that she took. 

“Are you-are you an angel?” said Janet with difficulty, incapable of differentiating what was real or not.

“Why are you wearing that?” said the girl.

Their tiny faces flushed with embarrassment as they realized what they looked.

“Isn’t that what Sister Happ wears? You look like nuns!” she commented as she giggled before walking through the big Church doors.

Mery and Janet looked at each other in agony. They couldn’t understand why their stepmother despised them enough to torture them in this way.

“Smile!” said Elsa gleefully. “It’s time for your First Holy Communion.”

First Holy Communion

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1978
Lima, Peru

I interviewed my mother, Mery. This is another memory that my mom specifically remembers despite the fact that she is not very fond of it. It is the story of my mom and my aunt Janet's First Holy Communion experience. Their stepmom, Elsa, forced them to walk from their house to the Church, which was ten blocks away, in the searing heat at eight years old. She forced them to wear the traditional habit and veil that nuns wore instead of pretty white dresses like the other girls. There was no specific reason as to why she hated her stepdaughters. Mery assumes that Elsa hated their mom, also known as their dad's ex-wife, and wanted to take her anger out on the girls. She was simply the evil stepmom. Although it isn't a joyous memory, she remembers it very clearly because of the milestone she and her sister hit that day.

Decade: 1970s
Rating:
Recorded by Shannon on April 29, 2019
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