After visiting the tomb of her daughter in Guadalajara, my mother-in-law Luz sits quietly in the backseat with her sister Esperanza. The high-beams guide us in the darkness. Rosario takes advantage of the two-and-a-half hour drive to LeÃ³n, Guanajuato to interview her aunt about her youth. “TenÃa ud. muchos novios? Did you have a lot of boyfriends?” she asks. “Uy, sÃ. Oh yeah.” They both chuckle. Esperanza continues, explaining how she dated three boys at the same time, one being her future husband. Once, she was out dancing with one boyfriend, and another boyfriend arrived. Her friends quickly alerted her “AhÃ viene JosÃ© Here comes JosÃ©” so she could excuse herself from the dance-floor.
Rosario asks her aunt how she eventually married JosÃ©. “Por accidente! By accident!” Esperanza explains how different times were back then. She was a good girl who held hands but didn’t kiss. One day, she got angry with a neighbor and the two exchanged heated words. Later, Esperanza’s father, a man who rarely spoke to her whatsoever, asked her if what the neighbor told him was true. She reluctantly agreed. What she didn’t know was that the neighbor actually said Esperanza and JosÃ© were having inappropriate relations. Her father obliged JosÃ© to marry Esperanza. She liked JosÃ© but had no interest in marriage at age 16. Her father insisted. The Catholic train couldn’t be stopped and the two were married. It wasn’t until several years later, while talking with her mother, she realized what had happened.
But the story didn’t stop there. She describes JosÃ©’s drinking, the beatings, the 20 pregnancies, and their first kiss after over 50 years of marriage. After an hour of her stories, all those telenovelas with ridiculous plot turns somehow seemed a little less ridiculous.