Esther came to The States from Honduras in the late 70’s as the Mail-Order bride of a man named Walter. She was not what anyone expected, neither young and timid, nor shapely and full of fire. Instead, she was thick, forty-something, plain and docile. She spoke little English, and faded into the background of any room she entered, like a dull, flowered wallpaper curling ever so slightly at the seams.
By all accounts, her husband was a simple man with few demands and little capacity for cruelty. He had already buried two wives and now looked to this new bride, to carry him through old age. Men, after all, were not meant to care for themselves. Maybe she expected more than his little trailer in that tiny foothill town, in the dry center of California. But if she did, she never said so.
Sometimes Walter took her to visit his children, two daughters and a son. He introduced her to his grandchildren as Esther. They never once called her Grandma. She was awkwardly kind to them, stroking their hair, hugging them, and smiling as they prattled on, seemingly unaware that she understood not a word of what they said. She had no grandchildren of her own. But she did have a son. Read more