When I first thought about blogging and what to blog I had many ideas, actually I still do, but my first blog is different than I thought it would be. This is because something is bothering me. That happens a lot as you will find out.
I am an American living in Mexico; stay tuned and you will get a glimpse of my life south of the border. That said, today I want to talk about my neighbor.
I was here in San Diego about 8 years ago, visiting my daughter and her husband and their family. While here I met a neighbor and friend of the family, he had a wife, but they were separated. She was living in Mexico (City) and would come down to wash the clothes, etc, and see her sons, every couple of weeks. My daughter and I both found that fascinating. They were NOT together. And she came and cleaned his shit. How weird, or not maybe if you are Mexican.
When I came back to San Diego in October of '08, being that I am nosy and "una chismosa" (gossip, buttinsky), I spent my time watching the neighbors. Don't go there, you know you do it, too! I asked about the people I knew from before, including Mario, the neighbor. (Oh, boy, there are a lot of new babies, and that means gossip. But you will meet some of them another day.) I was told by my consuegra (co-mil) that he had a new "wife"* and that she was very young. This is a man who is about 60. I recently met her, finally, after almost a year!
Everyday, at 6 AM, I can go get in line and get a bag of "government" milk. It is cheap at $9 nm/2 liters, since whole milk is at least $11/1 liter in the stores. Since it is "government" milk, we who don't have "cards" to get it stand in a line on the side of the building waiting until the others have passed. There I got talking to a young girl who is always in the "other" line with me. She gets it for her 8 month-old baby. She is Mario's new "wife". She is young. She doesn't have a card because their baby isn't registered yet.
After several days of casual conversation, I, being the nosy one, asked her how old she is. She is 14!!! She is a sweetie, but my God! 14!!! What in the world is he thinking? What kind of man takes a 13 year-old for his "wife"? Ok, ok it is a little different in Mexico. But even here that is illegal!
In Mexico a girl is considered a "woman" at 15, that is when they have a big coming-out party- the quinceanero, and after she is considered fair game for all the men. (My husband and I fight about this, since I say they are still girls, and he (being Mexican) says they are women and available.) Many parents then treat them as an adult, but many protect them as if they were a child until they get married.**
But 13? My granddaughter is 12, and my son is 12 and they are still kids, not even big kids yet, although maybe getting really close. They still act like kids, still play like kids, still think like kids, they are not even close to grown.
This bothers me, I know, I know - it's not my problem- but what kind of man would do this? I know it is not her personality, shared interests, etc. that have attracted him which leaves only sex. Are you f-in' crazy? Why would you want sex with a little girl, albeit one with breasts, but still a child? What kind of mom allows this? Her mom evidently has no problem with it all, as she was living in Mario's downstairs apartment until last week. Some say she sold her to him, I don't know. (I'm nosy, but asking the poor girl that is just a little crude, even if I do want to know.) His kids are in their thirties and forties, and now he has an 8 month-old with a girl young enough to be his granddaughter or even his great-granddaughter. Pisses me off!
She invited me over the other day. She was so happy to have someone to talk to. Most of the girls her age are just not into her life, and the older women shun her or just aren't interested in her. Her sil is almost 70! They live in two rooms upstairs, no "niceties". The stairwell is just a huge, open, concrete pit with no railing, no handrail. On the wall over their bed is a very large poster of 25 women in thongs and nothing else- lots of boobs, a poster of Gloria Trevi in a thong and a lot of cutesy animals hand-traced and colored on notebook pages. This is where a 14-year old and her baby have to sleep. A 14-year old with mommy breasts and a stretch-marked mommy belly. (Yeah, it isn't just us old mommies who get that.) I wanted to cry. I wouldn't allow a poster like that in my house, much less over my bed. There is no crib, no playpen, nothing for that baby. She is on the big bed or in her mommy's arms all day while she cooks, and washes, etc. How dangerous. I would be nuts!!!
I drive my husband crazy because I just can't bring myself to call her Mario's wife. I call her Gabriela (always when I talk to her), I call her "la muchacha de Mario"- Mario's girl, I call her "la nina que vive con Mario"- the little girl that lives with Mario, and sometimes, when it's really bugging me, I call her "Mario's granddaughter with the baby." My husband thinks I am loca.
* I use wife with quotation marks because it is used differently here. I am sure Mario is still married to his first wife. The 1st will always be his wife. Gabriella is not the only woman he has had since he split with his wife, but they don't count once they are gone. Gabriela will be only "the mother of his baby" if they split-up. (I was thinking how sad for her, never to have the chance for a wedding, etc., but he will probably die of old age in a few years- about the time she is old enough to marry someone for real.) Few people here divorce. Many never marry. If you live with someone you are marido, esposo, esposa, vieja, mujer. If you only marry civilly, that is not as good as if you marry in the church, if you really mean it you marry civilly first, then in the church, which is legal and traditional.
If you have a baby when you are "with" the father, you are married. People will call you his first wife, forever. If you have a baby and you are not "with" the father or he dumps you, you are a slut. And men are usually free to find another, but women are forever "his wife." So there are all kinds of marriages here. People often ask me if my husband and I are really married and he repeats the popular saying- "por la iglesia, por el civil y por el pendejo"- for the church, for the civil, and for stupidity (jackass-ity). Which isn't quite true since we married in the states where it is illegal to marry civilly and in the church, but close enough.
** This seems to be a class thing in most cases. If you don't expect your daughter to finish school, go to college, or have a career you probably don't have a problem if she leaves with her boyfriend at 15 or 16 to start her "married" life. (My husband's niece moved in with her 14 year-old boyfriend and his family when she turned 16. The couple downstairs are 15 & 17 and they live here in their own room, but with his mom and dad.) If she lives at home, she is a child until: 1. she gets a man and moves out, 2. she gets a career AND moves out (which doesn't happen much, just the career- still a child), or 3. her parents die.
A friend at 28, couldn't go with me to another state because her dad, who hasn't lived with the family in 15 years (and lives with his mom in Texas), wouldn't give her his permission.
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