The wig did change my look, but I didn’t think it was flattering. It wasn’t me, and I wore it only to please him.
“We don’t see ourselves the way others see us sometimes, señor,” I said, coming as close as I could to telling him the truth.
“Very true, very true. You are a wise young lady. More and more, I understand why Adan was so attracted to you, Delia.”
I thanked him, but he looked very thoughtful for a moment, and then, after a moment, he asked, “How would you like to attend a nursing school in California?”
“I have been considering a few, sí, but as I have told you, señor, I would first like—”
“I have an idea for you.” He put his fork down and sat back. “Why not attend the nursing school in San Bernardino, which is only about an hour away? As I told you, I am buying you a car. You could attend that school and remain living here. To help you go to school and still care for our baby, I will hire a nanny to take care of the muchacho while you are at class and whenever you need to be away or work in quiet. How does that sound?”
When I was silent, he continued.
“There is no reason for someone as intelligent as you to delay her education. You’re comfortable here. Imagine a child growing up here,” he added. “Adan had a wonderful childhood.”
“With his mother being away so much?” I asked. It came through my lips so fast I didn’t have time to intercept the thought. I saw that my remark stung him and brought small white blotches of anger into his cheeks.
“We managed,” he said. “I did the best I could running a major business simultaneously. He grew up to be a fine young man, didn’t he? A father couldn’t be any prouder of a son, could he?”
“No, señor, of course not.”
“So? Why do you resist my offers?”
“I don’t know, Señor Bovio. Let me think about it all.”
“Think, sure, but you could start this schooling much sooner than you would if you went off on your own. Besides, it would be wonderful for a child to have a nurse, and peace of mind for a mother who was otherwise occupied with important things.”
I couldn’t deny any of that, but in my visi
on of the future, I saw myself being far more independent. And what if I found someone new to love and to love me? How difficult that would be if I still lived in Señor Bovio’s house. I wouldn’t bring up such a possibility now, of course, but it hung in the air like something inevitable.
We ate the remainder of our dinner in relative silence, but he did not retreat from his suggestion afterward. The following day, I found a pamphlet in my room for the school he had suggested in San Bernardino, and then he began to parade a variety of automobiles for me to consider.
“I’d turn over one of Adan’s many cars to you, but it would be too painful for me to see them without him driving them,” he said.
“I understand, of course.”
“I’m in the process of getting rid of them, actually. It’s one of the more painful things for me. It was hard enough donating most of his clothing to Angel View, the charity in Palm Springs. I am saving all of his precious personal jewelry and other mementos for little Adan.”
On a number of occasions since I had been given the ultrasound, he referred to my baby as little Adan. I knew he was hoping I would not object to naming him Adan. A part of me wanted simply to say I would, but another part of me wondered if my baby shouldn’t have his own identity and not be made to live in his dead father’s shadow. I was afraid even to bring up this conflict in my mind. How I longed for a companion, a trusted ear to listen to my most troubled and intimate thoughts.
Again, I tried reaching Fani and even considered calling Edward. I almost did, but I stopped myself when I thought I would just be getting him into deeper trouble. I had done enough to him as it was. He didn’t need me bringing him down any more.
However, whenever I saw the pile of mail being brought to Señor Bovio’s office, I wondered if there could be a letter from Edward or possibly, finally, a letter from Ignacio. Perhaps his mother had mentioned my visit when she had visited him in prison, and perhaps she had suggested that he write to me. It was truly a dream, I knew, but I couldn’t help fantasizing about it.
In my fantasy, Teresa would bring Ignacio’s letter to me, and I would hold it for hours without daring to open the envelope and read the letter. I would be too nervous. What if it was a letter filled with anger and curses? What if there were no forgiveness and understanding? It would be too painful.
But what if it was a letter filled with hope and love? Would I dare write back and tell him that Señor Bovio was working on getting him out earlier? What if I told him and Señor Bovio was unable to do much at all? It was much crueler to make a promise and have someone expect it than not to make any promise at all. He could hate me again. I spent hours thinking about all of this, even though it was something that hadn’t happened. I lived with the hope that someday it would.
Another three weeks went by, and my scheduled second visit to Dr. Denardo’s office occurred. This time, Señor Bovio was more nervous. I had the feeling that Mrs. Newell had unloaded her litany of terrible scenarios on him as well. I was having an amniocentesis, which was a test to see if there were any genetic abnormalities. I was sure she had told him, as she had made sure to tell me, that the test could detect chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome or the structural defect she had described earlier, spina bifida.
Señor Bovio tried to be nonchalant when he asked me questions about my family, my relatives, but I knew why he was asking.
“We have always been healthy people, señor. Anyone who died young in my family died because of an accident,” I said, making sure that Mrs. Newell clearly heard my answers. “Perhaps I don’t need this test,” I suggested. “I understand it is expensive.”
Mrs. Newell made a sound under her breath.
“No, no, it’s good we do it,” Señor Bovio said. “The cost is not important, and Dr. Denardo is a talented doctor.”