Essay Excerpts: A Man and His Tuba

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day
By Elmer Mendoza

Mar/Garita. Marga/Rita. Mar/garrr/Ita.

That guy used to play with my name, you're crazy, I said, but he didn't care, and soon after I heard a name that wasn't mine, but had the same letters, why do you ask me so much about him? Knowing things about him is knowing things about you...

When he was home he was always happy, playing around with my name. Mar/gatita, amar/guita, like that. You introduced us, remember? But you didn't ask who killed him. Cuz, don't push it, some things are better left alone. What difference does it make? It ain't gonna bring him back, the man lived his life, lived through and through, and that's it, the kids are growing, they go to school, and I, well, I'm what you see, I indulge myself and I've got the cantina, that's enough for me. My man knew this would happen after he died, he said you had the devil inside. Oh really, what did he want? He wanted me to mourn him for the rest of my life? I'm not buying that; I already told you, cuz, I'm pissed at him, I think it sucks he got himself killed, and I still don't get why you ask me so many f***ing questions, I'm telling you, I've let him rest. The day he got killed he called me on his cell. And? He said if they killed him to go find you. You're good at taking orders, stupid, its been five years. I was in Albuquerque, and right after he called me I got caught, I just got out last week. Congratulations, man.

The tomb was impeccable, surrounded by similar monuments, she gave the watchman a tip so he would sweep and cut the weeds. She opened the door, went in, and told him why she wanted to finally break up with him; you're an a**hole, you knocked me up at 18 and left me at 20 to be with other women. It hurt, but you know it wasn't me who killed you, I was going to, but they got to you before. I heard it from the door, I wasn't surprised. She didn't ask for forgiveness, and she told him twice that she was angry at him, There was a long silence. The Sig Sauer on my waist had mixed feelings about it. Then my cousin lit the candles that were before my bro's photo. He was smiling. I remembered when he told me with a broken voice. Man, you introduced me to her, and he cried. I got closer, my cousin didn't turn around. I saw her name next to his photo Mar/Garita, and then knew God had decided. Valentine's Day.