Isabel establishes a great lie
Isabel once believed what a young man told her.
Vittorio swore his love for her. For now and forever he said. In all storms and for all seasons.
When the day came for her to tell him she was carrying his child, she had no doubt that he would marry her. But after, when he told his parents and wanted them to meet Isabel, his parents took him away from Florence, away from Isabel, away from their baby who was not yet fully formed. And she never saw him again. A letter came three days before she was to leave Italy to go home, back to her Mamita and Papa, back to Señor Sierra Vargas.
Vittorio was desolate, he said. His parents threatened to take him out of school, to send him to the army and from there to a NATO post outside the country. They had powerful friends who would do anything they asked. He begged Isabel to be patient. He said he would wear them down, convince them of his love for her, make them see it his way. He said he had never loved anyone before, that all his past experiences were nothing compared to what he felt for her. He told her to be brave, to take care of herself, to keep herself only for him and to love their baby. He said he would come to her soon, that he would fly to Mexico and take her away.
But he did not say how he was to do this, if he could not even leave his parents. In the act of reading that letter, Isabel was transformed from a child to a woman. She realized would have the baby alone. But she would never tell anyone what had happened to her.
And so, she told her parents and Señor Sierra Vargas that she had been married in Florence to a young architecture student and that he was to come to work in Mexico City after he graduated in the spring.
She went to a church and convinced a young priest to make out all the papers for her because her fiancé was away. She told the priest they would come back in three days upon his return.
Then she signed and filled in the papers herself and trusted that no one would ever see them or, if they did, would not examine them closely and see that they had never been officially documented. Since they were written in Italian, she felt certain her ruse would succeed.
A few months after returning to Sayulita she received a letter from Italy. She herself had written the letter and left it with the woman who owned the pensione where Isabel had lived In Florence. For a small amount of money, the woman had held onto it, and mailed it on the date Isabel specified. After receiving the letter, Isabel went into a period of mourning for her dead husband. By then she was large and ready to give birth. And, after Estrellita was born, no one ever asked to see the Italian marriage papers, or the letter from Florence, or anything else about Vittorio. She kept a framed picture of him sitting by the Arno river, and one taken for them by a street vendor – Isabel and Vittorio standing in the Uffizi Plaza, smiling, happy, in love for all time.
She had Estrellita. And life went on.