The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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This was an experience that shaped my mother. She learned that the world is a scary place and this was not the only trauma that she faced in her life.

"That is all there is," her mother said in a soft but defeated tone. Two boiled eggs, to be shared between 10 children. She sat and thought about how she would someday tell this story, and how it would sound like she was just exaggerating the facts, but this happened often. Her mother and her would skip the meal (could you even call this a meal?), to give her siblings just a little more to eat to hold them over until the next meal. 

"Ramon said that if Vinny and I come over today, he will gift us a chicken. What do you think about that?"

"Well, I think that would be a great gift but what is he looking for in exchange?" asked her mother. 

"Nothing, just a visit!" 

With doubt in her mind and an emptiness that was willing to sacrifice in her belly, her mother let them go. When they arrived, he was waiting there, standing up against a plantain tree. Ramon was a man who was known by many in el campo he walked with a cane and looked very brittle. There were never really too many people coming out of his house, only going in, and although that seemed odd to some people, he was just too weak to be up to no good. 

"I want you and Vinny to race. You will run to the end of my plot of land and when you make it back you will receive your chicken as a reward. Easy enough?" said Ramon

"Easy enough!" they said 

"Alright, Vinny you get a head start because you are younger, and you've got shorter legs... it's only fair. Go!" 

When he heard the word, Vinny ran like la muerte was chasing after him and when they couldn't see him anymore, Ramon turned to her and said, "Follow me this way, when we come back it will look like you've won!" Something about this didn't feel right. He looked at her with his dark eyes looking like a wolf who had just found easy prey. He reached his hand out and grazed her cheek. Something definitely wasn't right. Her instincts told her it was time to run, so she began to run in Vinny's direction. And Ramon... Ramon who couldn't walk without a cane began chasing after her. Asking her to slow down, assuring her that he was only trying to help her win.

When she and Vinny made it back home, they came empty-handed. Instead of telling her mother the truth about why they didn't have the chicken she told her that they had not found Ramon there.

El cuco known as Ramon

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