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Chapter 36 Born Bad

  Most likely I will go to hell and most likely I deserve to be there.My brother says I was born on an evil day and pray for me.Lucy and Rachel pray too.For ourselves and for each other……because of what we did to Aunt Lupe.

  Her name was Guadalupe and she was pretty like my mother.Dark.Good to look at.In her Joan Crawford dress and swimmer`s legs.Aunt Lupe of the photographs.

  But I knew her sick fromthe disease that would not go,her legs bunched under the yellow sheets,the bones gone limp as worms.The yellow pillow,the yellow smell,the bottles and spoonsl.Her head thrown back like a thirsty lady.My aunt,the swimmer.

  Hard to imagine her legs once strong, the bones hard and parting water, clean sharp strokes, not bent and wrinkled like a baby, not drowning under the sticky yellow light. Second-floor rear apartment. The naked light bulb. The high ceilings. The light bulb always burning.

  I don't know who decides who deserves to go bad. There was no evil in her birth. No wicked curse. One day I believe she was swimming, and the next day she was sick. It might have been the day that gray photograph was taken. It might have been the day she was holding cousin Totchy and baby Frank. It might have been the moment she pointed to the camera for the kids to look and they


  Maybe the sky didn't look the day she fell down. Maybe God was busy. It could be true she didn't dive right one day and hurt her spine. Or maybe the story that she fell very hard from a high step stool, like Totchy said, is true.

  But I think diseases have no eyes. They pick with a dizzy finger anyone, just anyone. Like my aunt who happened to be walking down the street one day in her Joan Crawford dress, in her funny felt hat with the black feather, cousin Totchy in one hand, baby Frank in the other.

  Sometimes you get used to the sick and sometimes the sickness, if it is there too long, gets to seem normal. This is how it was with her, and maybe this is why we chose her.

  It was a game, that's all. It was the game we played every afternoon ever since that day one of us invented it. I can't remember who. I think it was me. You had to pick somebody.

  You had to think of someone everybody knew. Someone you could imitate and everyone else would have to guess who it was. It started out with famous people: Wonder Woman, the Beatles, Marilyn Monroe... But then somebody thought it'd be better if we changed the game a little, if we pretended we were Mr. Benny, or his wife Blanca, or Ruthie, or anybody we knew.

  I don't know why we picked her. Maybe we were ............

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