the entrance for passing through a room or building
The day Don Serafín gave Juan Pedro Martínez Sánchez permission to take Cleofilas Enriqueta DeLeón Hernández as his bride, across her father's
threshold, over several miles of dirt road and several miles of paved, over one border and beyond to a town en el otro lado—on the other side—already did he divine the morning his daughter would raise her hand over her eyes, look south, and dream of returning to the chores that never ended, six good-for-nothing brothers, and one old man's complaints.
leave someone who needs or counts on you; leave in the lurch
He had said, after all, in the hubbub of parting: I am your father, I will never
be excited or anxious about
But what Cleófilas has been waiting for, has been whispering and sighing and giggling for, has been
anticipating since she was old enough to lean against the window displays of gauze and butterflies and lace, is passion.
save from ruin, destruction, or harm
Not the kind on the cover of the Alarma! magazines, mind you, where the lover is photographed with the bloody fork she used to
salvage her good name.
a strong feeling or emotion
passion in its purest crystalline essence.
an act of deliberate disloyalty
The beautiful Lucía Méndez having to put up with all kinds of hardships of the heart, separation and
betrayal, and loving, always loving no matter what, because that is the most important thing
feel pain or be in pain
suffer for love is good. The pain all sweet somehow. In the end.
give advice to
And without even a mama to
advise her on things like her wedding night.
call out loudly
Though no one could say whether the woman had
hollered from anger or pain.
cause to be interested or curious
How could Cleófilas explain to a woman like this why the name Woman Hollering
intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one
In the other house lived la Señora Dolores, kind and very sweet, but her house smelled too much of incense and candles from the altars that burned continuously in memory of two sons who had died in the last war and one husband who had died shortly after from
a condition that accompanies some event or activity
They were too busy remembering the men who had left through either choice or
circumstance and would never come back.
a feeling of intense anger
rage, Cleófilas wondered when she drove over the bridge the first time as a newlywed and Juan Pedro had pointed it out.
protect against a challenge or attack
The first time she had been so surprised she didn't cry out or try to
allow without opposing or prohibiting
Although she admitted she may have been brought up a little leniently as an only daughter—la consentida, the princess—there were some things she would never
in a state of mental numbness as resulting from shock
Instead, when it happened the first time, when they were barely man and wife, she had been so
stunned, it left her speechless, motionless, numb.
remorse for your past conduct
Just stroked the dark curls of the man who wept and would weep like a child, his tears of
repentance and shame, this time and each.
unable to speak
From what she can tell, from the times during her first year when still a newlywed she is invited and accompanies her husband, sits
mute beside their conversation
decide by reasoning
from this Cleofilas
concludes each is nightly trying to find the truth lying at the bottom of the bottle like a gold doubloon on the sea floor.
openly distrustful and unwilling to confide
Or wonder a little when he kicks the refrigerator and says he hates this shitty house and is going out where he won't be bothered with the baby's howling and her
suspicious questions, and her requests to fix this and this and this because if she had any brains in her head she'd realize he's been up before the rooster earning his living to pay for the food in her belly and the roof over her head and would have to wake up again early the next day so why can't you just leave me in peace, woman.
the contestant you hope to defeat
this husband who cuts his fingernails in public, laughs loudly, curses like a man, and demands each course of dinner be served on a separate plate like at his mother's, as soon as he gets home, on time or late, and who doesn't care at all for music or telenovelas or romance or roses or the moon floating pearly over the arroyo, or through the bedroom window for that matter, shut the blinds and go back to sleep, this man, this father, this
rival, this keeper, this lord, this master
a state of dishonor
Sometimes she thinks of her father's house. But how could she go back there? What a
disgrace. What would the neighbors say? Coming home like that with one baby on her hip and one in the oven. Where's your husband?
a state in which all hope is lost or absent
The town of gossips. The town of dust and
despair. Which she has traded for this town of gossips. This town of dust,
have faith or confidence in
Nothing one could walk to, at any rate. Because the towns here are built so that you have to
depend on husbands. Or you stay home. Or you drive. If you're rich enough to own, allowed to drive, your own car.
enlarge beyond bounds or the truth
Was Cleófilas just
exaggerating as her husband always said?
the dead body of a human being
This woman found on the side of the interstate. This one pushed from a moving car. This one's
cadaver, this one unconscious, this one beaten blue. Her ex-husband, her husband, her lover, her father, her brother, her uncle, her friend, her co-worker.
shockingly repellent; inspiring horror
grisly news in the pages of the dailies.
a raised mark on the skin
He had thrown a book. Hers. From across the room. A hot
welt across the cheek. She could forgive that. But what stung more was the fact it was her book, a love story
the act of reducing something unpleasant
Cleófilas thought her life would have to be like that, like a telenovela, only now the episodes got sadder and sadder. And there were no commercials in between for comic
relief. And no happy ending in sight.
the state of owing something, especially money
She knows it's difficult saving money with all the bills they have, but how else are they going to get out of
debt with the truck payments?
causing or fraught with or showing nervousness
But please, at least for the doctor visit. She won't ask for anything else. She has to. Why is she so
image produced by reflections of high-frequency sound waves
I was going to do this
sonogram on her—she's pregnant, right?—and she just starts crying on me.
one who suffers for the sake of principle
Oh, and her name's Cleófilas. - I don't know. One of those Mexican saints, I guess. A
martyr or something.
Did you ever
notice, Felice continued, how nothing around here is named after a woman? Really. Unless she's the Virgin.
a stream or brook
Can you imagine, when we crossed the
arroyo she just started yelling like a crazy, she would say later to her father and brothers. Just like that. Who would've thought?