That night, we attended the evening service at Rey's church, and then he put me on the 8 pm bus heading south for the state of Queretaro, where my aunt and uncle lived. Let me just tell you here, Mexican buses are a-w-e-s-o-m-e. Roomy comfortable seats, snacks and a movie! I had the seat next to me open and was able to really zonk nearly the entire 12-hour ride.
I woke up around 6 am, and then dozed the remaining 2 hours. At the bus station, I got into one of the taxi's waiting outside and handed him the piece of paper with my aunt's address scribbled on it. I remember thinking that if this guy didn't know where that address was, we were in big trouble.
He did, and I soon found myself knocking on my aunt's gate. The 2 weeks at my aunt's drug by--not because of the girls. Because I was counting the moments before I'd be able to see Rey again! We had planned for me to stay a nearly at the deaf school again, before heading back to Illinois.
When my relatives got back from their anniversary trip, they mentioned that they were having a baptism that weekend and would love it if Rey and I would want to come. We were crazy and young, so we did the following:
On Monday, I took the ride back up to the border to "get" Rey. I took it during the day, and-- thanks to many comlications which it seems I was attracting on this trip--it ended up being more like a 15-16 hour trip, which left poor Rey waiting for me at the bus stop on his end until about 11 pm. I was unable to contact him, so he was very worried by the time I arrived.
Again, I was starving, because I'd only eaten a bag of sunflower seeds on the way, and Rey took me to the only 24-hour restaurant in town. I ordered some huge sandwich and he asked me if I really was going to be able to eat all of that. I didn't even leave a crumb.
Rey had to work Tuesday-Thursday, so during the days I would spend time with his family. We had a good ole time goofing around and generally trying to keep our minds off the fact that we were sweating our brains out.
Typical day at the farm:
1. Run around and get really sweaty.
2. Come inside to cool off and have some giggles...
...because we happen to be watching a show put on by Rey's crazy sister who looks like this (for the moment):
3. Decide it is still too hot and go cool off in a canal that runs near the farm.
I do have to tell you about Wednesday. The infamously "LONGEST DAY IN THE HISTORY OF US".
Here's how it began:
Rey wanted to leave us his car during the day (since I know how to drive) so that if his family wanted to go out somewhere, we could. So, I would take him to work in the morning and go pick him up in the afternoon.
Tuesday night, Rey told me to be at his house by 5:25 am. No later. So, I pulled in front of his house about 5:20. Everything was pitch black. The minutes ticked by, and I waited. I had no idea which part of the house he slept in, so the idea of tossing a rock at a window wasn't a good one. I didn't want to start honking and wake everyone else up. And so, I sat. And sat.
Finally, at about 6, a crazed figure emerged from the darkness--dashing for the car and jumping into the driver's seat.
"Oh, man!" gasped Rey, "I can't believe I overslept. We are going to be so late."
By this time, the sun had popped up over the horizen and was painting the skies pastel pinks and yellows, bathing the corn fields in soft light. The road connecting Rey's house to the main road is a long, rutted dirt road. As we were bouncing over the bone-jarring pot holes, Rey reached over to give me a good-morning squeeze.
And then, we heard--or maybe felt--a crash. My harried and distracted honey had drove the car into the ditch running along the side of the road. The headlight was busted and the bumper bent in. After checking Rey's reaction from the corner of my eye, I couldn't help but laugh at the craziness of this "all-wrong" morning.
Rey managed to pull the car back onto the road, completely filling every crevice with dirt and mud from the spinning tires. On the way to work, Rey asked me to tell his brother to work on the headlight and get the car washed.
Well, during the day, Rey's brother found a headlight laying around their farm that he could use to replace Rey's. His sisters and I got 5 gallon buckets and scrubbed that baby 'till she shone. At one point, we literally had a semi-circle of 4 guys telling us how we could get the hubcabs a little shinier or buff out the hood a bit more. We also went to the grocery store, and I picked up some things to surprise Rey by making a candle-lit dinner for two at the deaf school cafeteria.
Rey had told me that while in the US, he'd come to like Chicken Parmesan, so I decided to make that along with rolls and a salad. Most of the afternoon went into making the food and setting the table in the prettiest way possible with plastic luncheon plates and cups. I did find something to prop up the candle I had bought and grabbed wildflowers from around the school.
Then, it was time to go for Rey. One of his sisters and I hopped in the car and headed off. I giggled to myself as I passed the spot of road where our little "oops" had left a mark on the ditch. Ah, well, I thought to myself, At least we'll have a nice quiet evening.
Rey got out of work a little late, so his sister and I waited out front in the car. He came out and hopped behind the wheel to drive. Just about as soon as he pulled onto the highway, it began to rain. Rey said he hoped it wouldn't rain hard, because he didn't have any lights on his vehicle. Just in case, he decided to pull off the highway and get on a back farm road through the fields, so as not to be in danger of being hit by someone who couldn't see us.
As soon as we were about a mile down this dirt farmer's trail, it became nearly pitch black and the heavens opened up on us. I have not often seen such a torrential rain--mud was leaping up from the fields onto our windshields. And we are slipping around on this elevated field road with no lights. Rey decides to turn the car around and head back for the cement road.
We were all clenching our hands and chanting, "Come on, come on" to the old car, but then--slide, slide, slide, thunk. We were stuck. So, Rey and I got out to push while his sister sat behind the wheel. We weren't really making any progress. Then his sister got out and Rey just stuck his arm in the window to stear while the 3 of us pushed.
Once we got the car pushed back up onto the one-lane trail, Rey told me to get behind the wheel and stear while he and his sister pushed. "You are lighter."
It was the most nerve-wracking thing ever--because the windshield was entirely covered with mud and it was dark and the rain was still coming down in curtains. I remember being tensed into a C-shape around the steering wheel, making constant one-inch adjustments and we slipped and sloshed back up the path towards the highway.
I was also keeping my eye on the temperature gage, and about every 15 feet we'd have to stop because the car was overheating. Rey would slip down to a canal on the side of the road, fill up a soda bottle and use that to pour water over the radiator. We'd wait about 5 minutes and then go again.
It probably took about 40 minutes to go back the mile or so that we had come. Rey pulled the mud-filled vehicle back onto the road and we limped down the shoulder of the highway with our hazards on the rest of the way. About half-way home, the rain turned light and the skies began to brighten. Of course. And then, the irony of the attention to detail that we girls gave the car while we washed it came to me. Mud was literally caked onto every inch of this car, inside and out.
So, we dropped Rey's sister off at home and went over to the deaf school. Damp, muddy and completly exhausted. I felt kind of embaressed about my plan and Rey said, "Aww, that's so sweet! No, no! We'll do it now! Just let me go wash up in this back room while you get everything ready."
So, I heated up the food. Lit the candles. Rearranged the flowers. Sat. Waited. After about 45 minutes, I just had to go see what he was doing!
I went back to the room he had said he was going to wash up in and knocked on the door. I knocked quite a few times. I finally opened it. Rey was sprawled out on a bed, completely asleep.
We returned to my aunt and uncle's on the Thursday night bus, after Rey got off work. We arrived at 8 am on Friday and went to my aunt's house. We spent the morning catching up with them, and then my aunt pulled me aside.
She hoped I didn't think it was weird, but one of her daughters was really sweet on Rey and wondered and her and he could go out for ice cream. My aunt thought it would mean alot to her daughter if she would be able to spend some time getting wisdom from an "older guy".
We giggled together at how cute that was and I said of course I didn't care. My aunt and I went out for some dessert and chats at the same time. While we were at our little restaurant in the downtown area of the old colonial town, we happened to see my cousin and Rey walking very quickly past the front of the restaurant. Rey looked rather stressed and I wondered if he hadn't liked the idea as much as my aunt and I had.
Later on that evening, Rey wondered if I wouldn't want to go out to eat? The city my aunt and uncle lived in is really beautiful and romantic and we both loved strolling around the plaza together. I, of course, said yes--let's go.
My aunt wondered if I wouldn't want to put on something nicer. She said Rey had been asking her about nice restaurants in town and she didn't want me to feel underdressed. I felt mildly offended that my interior beauty wouldn't radiate through a sweaty t-shirt and shorts but humored her as she gave me one of her daughter's dresses to wear. Little did I know.