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#a144 :: Rosary

July 7, 2008

ENLARGEAnother Tuesday, another morning with little Kylie, the
niña pequeña she cared for three days a week.

She trudged uphill once more, the rosary draped over her fingers. “Nomini patri et fili et spiritu sancto,” the sign of the cross trailing from her lips as she kissed the little madonna milagro and worried the yellow and garnet glass beads with her fingertips.

Traffic surged down the steep hill, past the place where she walked with no sidewalk. Cars and trucks gave her a respectful berth of three feet – almost colliding with oncoming traffic on the narrow street – and rolled on, brakes squealing to a distant stop …


Padre nuestro, que estás en el cielo,. santificado sea tu Nombre;. venga a nosotros tu reino;. hágase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo …

The hill Kylie’s parents lived on seemed to grow steeper each week. Their nattering and boorishly-accented Berlitz accents seemed to gall Cecilia more.

It wasn’t the textbook Spanish, the haughty pride with which they flaunted the lisping çs taught by their Madrid-born teacher. Nor was it the gushy sound their voices took on when they began tossing numbers around – she heard the word “million” and “mil” more than she ever thought possible, even in the life of Pasadena white people.

It was none of that. It was the bond she was forming with Kylie – and the complete lack of passion her own parents reserved for her. They almost seemed glad to fob the 15-month-old off on her, to let this dependable “professional” nanny raise their child because the responsibility of shaping someone else’s heart and mind was almost too much for ricos to bear.

A car swerved horribly close, and Cecilia jumped.

It’s not the job, she thought, as she bobbled the rosary. It’s not the money or the hours – the string of beads flew in a lazy arc from her fingers to the pavement, where three more cars ran over it, in quick succession, severing the cheap cotton neck, .

It was the thought that this little girl would be bonded emotionally to her, Cecilia, rather than her own parents.

She could see now it was ruined – glass beads scattering beneath the relentless flattening power of the cars.

It was disgust she was feeling – disdain for people who thought so little of their beautiful child that they were happy to ignore the gift God had given them and pay someone $80 a day to raise her instead.

Cecilia shuddered. And made a little shrug to herself, watching the beads splash beneath the thrumming tires of the traffic’s downhill stream.

And she made a little shrug to herself. And a sign of the cross, for the Lord had not seen fit to take her that day.

And she walked on – doubly grateful for her work, and for the rest of this day.

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