Mrs. Lopez Learns the Truth

Mariana Lopez was on her way home after having dinner with her friend, Rena when she spotted her son-in-law, Paul. He didn’t see her. He looked good. Married life must finally be agreeing with him. They hadn’t seen him for ages.

The family had been very disappointed when they didn’t spend Christmas with them. Angie had called and told her that they couldn’t visit on Christmas Day because Paul wasn’t feeling well. When she called to invite them over for dinner on New Year’s Eve, Angie told her that she and Paul wanted to stay in because it was too cold and she had just gotten over a cold.

Whenever she visited Angie was always alone. “Where’s Paul?” she asked her daughter. “Oh, he’s working late,” Angie would say or “He had to go out and probably won’t be back until after you leave.” And whenever she asked, “When will you and Paul come and see your Papa, Grand-mama, Raul and me?” Angie’s response would be, “I don’t know, Mama.”

“Maybe there’s trouble in paradise,” Raul had suggested.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Hijo,” she had snapped. “I’m sure everything is fine between Paul and your sister.”

Still, she couldn’t understand why every time she visited, Paul was never there and Angie tried to act cheerful but she could tell that something was wrong. “Have you been eating well? she asked her the last time she saw her which was a couple of weeks ago. “Of course, I am, Mama. You ask me that every time we talk.”

“When’s the baby due?” she asked Angie last night when she called her.

There was a brief silence and then, “In two weeks,” was the reply.

This Friday would make it two weeks. She hoped that Paul would call them as soon as they were at the hospital so that she and Papa could be there when the baby arrived. She couldn’t wait to see her grandchild. When she asked Angie if she knew whether it would be a boy or a girl, she had said, “I don’t know but I hope that it’s a boy and that he looks exactly like Paul.”

She watched Paul now as he stood outside of another restaurant, talking to a young African American woman. She was tall, slender and looked to be in her late twenties like Angela. Paul was laughing at something she said. There was something vaguely familiar about her.

As she debated if to go over there or wait until he was alone, she saw them hug and kiss on the lips before the young woman walked away in the opposite direction. Fearful that he might take off before she got a chance to speak to him, she hurried over to him. When she got closer, she called out his name and he turned. He seemed to surprised to see her. “Hello, Paul,” she said before she hugged him.

“Hello, Mrs. Lopez.”

She stared at him, startled. “Mrs. Lopez?” she exclaimed. “Why do you address me like I’m a stranger instead of as your Suegra?”

Paul’s expression was grim as he looked at her. Clearly, Angela hadn’t said a word to her about the annulment of their marriage. “I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but Angela and I are no longer married.”

“What do you mean?”

He told her about the annulment and the reason for it. “I had to have the marriage annulled because it was entered into under fraud. She lied to me about the pregnancy.”

Mrs. Lopez’s head was spinning. She couldn’t believe that her daughter would do such an unhanded thing as that. Fake a pregnancy so that she could trap a man? No, she couldn’t believe it. She didn’t want to believe it. She had raised Angela better than that. “I’m sorry, Paul, but I can’t believe that my daughter would do what you’re accusing her of.”

“It’s the truth.”

“Paul, are you sure you didn’t end your marriage because of that young woman I saw you with earlier?”

“No. I ended it because Angela lied to me. If it weren’t for Amy, I wouldn’t have known that she was faking her pregnancy.”

“Amy?”

“Yes, Amy was the one who let the cat out of the bag. It was when Angela went to Down Island Traders to buy a birthday gift for you. I was waiting in the car but when Angela seemed to be taking a long time, I went inside and that’s when I heard Amy tell her that she couldn’t believe that she was going through with it. When I asked her twice what Angela was going through with, she said the fake pregnancy. If you still don’t believe me, ask her.”

“No. I’m going to ask my daughter and God help us if she did what you said.”

Paul’s expression was grave as he returned her distressed gaze. “I’m sorry.”

Mrs. Lopez sighed heavily. “And I’m really sorry about the way things turned out. I’m sorry for what Angela did. Her father and I raised her to be a good, decent person. I don’t know what went wrong.”

“Most parents raise their children the best they know how but there’s no guarantee that they will turn out the way they want them to.”

“I know I shouldn’t even be asking you this but, is there no chance for reconciliation?”

“No. It’s over between Angela and me.”

“And you’ve moved on.”

“Yes, I have with the young woman I saw me with.”

“I see. Well, I hope that this time things work out for you.”

“Thank you.”

“Goodbye, Paul.” This time she didn’t hug him.

“Goodbye, Mrs. Lopez.”

She turned and walked briskly away, disappointment weighing heavily on her heart as it hit home that she wasn’t going to be a grandmother after all.

Source: Tell Me in Spanish

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