“Now if your Papa would show his face, we could have our last meal together.”
“No, not the last meal, Mama. Don’t say that,” Clara said. “It will be bad luck for our trip.”
“I am here to guard against bad luck. Plus, I brought this special candle to bless Dolores in Laredo while we are all together today.” They all watched Padre Romo place the candle in the middle of the table and light the flame. Alicia noticed how he waved his open palm over the flame. North, south, east, and west, as Masagawa did with her sage.
“Ooooh!” Baby Carlos watched the flame glow. Everyone laughed at his enthusiasm and Mama gave him a big kiss on the top of his head.
“That is the sound Dolores made as a child when we lit our candles!” Mama’s eyes glistened with tears.
“Oh Mama, we miss her, too. Thank you for the blessing, Padre Romo.” Alicia felt her own tears. “We can’t leave out Mother Mary.” Alicia reached out to Mama’s altar to light Mother Mary’s candle one last time.
“What have you got to pray about? All the horrible days have passed, and now we’re going on a new journey,” Clara said.
“I envied Dolores when she left on her journey. I never imagined all the things that would happen here at home.” Alicia’s hand brushed over Nina’s favorite manzanita broom below the altar. “Mama, will you light this candle for us while we are gone?”
“We will all pray for you,” the padre said. “When you see Nina, give her my condolences on her grandma’s death. I must admit, her remedies often helped ease the pain of my parishioners.” Alicia thought she must have misunderstood him. There was no time to ask because Papa arrived, drawing everyone’s attention.
“And who will miss me, your dear papa? We can postpone this trip, you know.” Papa broke the spell that the candle cast on everyone.
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