Joshua shook his head. “I’m not feeling much like a good man. I don’t know why Richard didn’t come to me before killing himself. If I can’t be trusted in somebody’s hour of need, how can I be a good friend or psychiatrist?”
Maria gently rubbed his arm. “I don’t think it was your fault or Richard’s. We lived near Guadalajara when I was a young girl. My uncle had a store. These bad men would always come once a week and take his money. If he didn’t hide some, they would take all of it. This went on for a couple of years. The police would not help because the bad men paid them. One day when I was in the store, the men came, and my uncle did not have as much money as he normally would. They said they would be back the next day, and if he did not have more money, they would take the store and me.
“My uncle was so upset. He cried and cried. He told my father what had happened. My father was afraid. These men were very powerful, and he could not stop them. That night, my uncle came over and I saw him give my father a lot of money. My father took my mother and me. I had nothing except my two dolls. The last I saw of my uncle, he was standing at the front door waving goodbye. We were just out of sight of our house when I heard a gunshot. I knew my uncle had taken his own life. I cried and cried. I loved my uncle very much. My dad explained to me that the bad men would not bother us because they would not find us with my uncle dead.”
“Is that how you ended up here?”
“Eventually. My uncle didn’t think the men would know about the money he had hidden, but they did. They had men everywhere. My parents sneaked over the border to get away from them when I was still a young girl. They were afraid to put me in school since we were not here legally. I was not able to learn like the other children. When Richard and Barbara moved here, they met our family through a friend who cleaned for the Richmonds. My mother was too old to do this work, but I was already cleaning other homes. Richard offered to help educate me, give me a full-time job and a place to live, and told my parents he would take care of them, as well. After my parents died, I stayed here because Richard and Barbara are like my family.”
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