My name is Catalina González. And I come from Mexico, near Mexico, and my town is Macuyuli… I came over here, to Santa Maria (Ca.), because I wanted to get help for my child. Thank God I’m here, because I’m working real hard with my child. I’m a single mother, because I could not do better. My partner left me, I stayed, and he thinks I’ll leave my child as he left him. But I cannot leave him. He can. He still threatens me, saying that if I, if I goes to someone else, he’s going to pick up my child. But I will not do that, because I cannot do that with the first child I had.
Because if he was like that, happy with my child, I do not think I would be leaving him. I was going to. I am going to love him more. I bet he will not say “I do not love you” but I will love you, because my child loves me. But if he didn’t want to love my child, because he always wanted me to give more affection to him, I can do fine without him. I have to do everything. Bring anything he needs. And also my child, anything he needs, if he’s without clothes or a towel, well my child has to do it. What did he want? I felt bad, because I love him… but I go…I buy, and bring him stuff. So, he does not like it when I say, do like me. I want him to come eat, to come play with the children, and so I keep doing as I’m doing in the kitchen.
“But he always tells me I am a woman, I have to look after the child and serve him.”
So, I kind of felt bad, because once I had my third child, my other child almost kills me. The older child was playing with the other… the middle child, and I was just out of the hospital, I get to my bed and this kid comes playing and jumping on top of me, and I still had a lump in my tummy. So when he fell on my tummy, I felt pain, and felt dizzy.
I got up, and I said, I looked at him standing there, I said, “Why he is doing this?” I told him, “Why don’t you listen to me and take the kid outside?”
“It’s a child,” he says. “What did he do to you? I will take him out now”, but he only says. He just takes them for short times, to the living room, and then they are back again. And I tell him that if he doesn’t want to take care of me, take the children with the babysitter. He takes the child there. Why doesn’t he want to take care of him? But I always forgive him. I tell him, “That’s right? Ok, if you want to do that, then, I do not feed him.”
Sometimes I get real angry with him. I do not feel right at all, because he never buys anything that we needs to eat, or I want to eat a different food. Bring this or go change my check, then bring that. Never ask, “Do you want to do that? I tell him. The last time he started, along with his cousin, they begin to talk and gossip together about what they hear said of me.
And it’s always the same, over and over again. Once, when I got home from work, and a second time when I had to go to the hospital, I told him, I said, “Take care of my child, I’m going to the hospital to visit my comadre,” That is what I told him.
And he told me, “Okay, okay, I look after him.” But right there, he answered he would just look.
When I get out of the car, returning from visiting my comadre, I hear a sound behind me, when I felt him hit me, and there he was. And I said to him, “Hombre! what, can’t you stay with my child! Where do I leave him, with your cousin or where? And it’s my baby, he was just born!” I tell him.
Well, it’s ok if they do it. I got home and did not speak to him. Not a word. Nothing. Didn’t speak.
“How is the baby?” he says.
“He is fine.”
I only went to the hospital and back to the house. A week later and I’m making his lunches, doing everything I can. And he wanted me to leave them where he was sleeping, or I’ll wake him up, I’ll take him where his lunch is, but I don’t take him. I say, “I’m not going to take him and look where I put the lunch, because you are going to pick it up.”
Well there. Is that what he wants? Because he is a very calm man. Never got angry when I started to live with him. He thinks so. He came and ate the food that was left. If there was nothing – no more, he put it in his tortilla and ate.
And so I say that he is going to change, because he doesn’t like the tortilla that I am making. He asks me for a warm tortilla, but he knows I cannot do it right there.
“He says he likes food hotter, freshly made. But you know I can’t, because I have the baby. And, well… I have to…”
“There it is, eat it.” I warmed what I already ate a few days before. He’s always getting jealous, saying that I’m with someone else, when my older child arrives he asks, “Where did you go?”
“We went to the store,” he says
“You went eating with someone else, right?”
“No…” says my child.
“Tell me the truth…or else…”
That’s what I heard, they told me. Gossip then! Because I’m not sure… my child told me, about that story, I went eating with another person, the father of my older child. But…I did not know he was going to be like that with me. I got home, I left to get medicine for my child, and when I return home, he was not there. I did not know he wasn’t in the house. I thought he went out, and still not come back.
Storyteller Catalina González is from Mexico and an indigenous, single mother with three children.