I still remember when I used to walk five miles to school and then go to work. The gasoline was twenty-five cents a gallon, but my parents still found it hard to make ends meet and so our 1950 Ford was not always available. After work I had to walk four more miles in the opposite direction and it was dark. However, the worst part of it was that three miles into my walk there was a cemetary. During those days there were many folk tales or incase you’re wondering, it’s just like unwritten stories. One of those just so happen to be about a lady that killed her children by drowning them. At night she would wander along side a river called the Arroyo Colorado and called out for her children. Both, the cemetary and the river were right in front of my path. I had no choice but to cross both in order to get to the other side where I lived. The name given to the lady was the Crying Lady. My friends often teased me about my bravery. I of course told them that I wasn’t scared to of her, but deep inside of me, I was scared shitless to put mildly.The dirt road was dark and once you were on the bridge you could here a noise, or better yet to us, it sounded like the voice of the Crying Lady looking for her children under the overpass. It was pitched dark, unless the moon was out. My friends would wait for me on the other side as I gingerly walked myself over to them. They dared not meet me anywhere close to the bridge. Once I made it over I felt like a brave person because they would surround me and tell me that I was crazy to go by there after 11:00 p.m. Well, one night I really went home ready to change my underwear after an incident you might want to hear me tell. I stayed a little longer on a Friday because my boss was having a sale and he wanted me to make sure the display windows were clean and the mannequins all dressed sharply for the morning crowd that was to show up. When I left it was very dark and there was no moon. My booties were really shaking once I came across the cemetary. I quickly jumped on over to the other side of the dirt road. Noises could be heard coming from the graves and I was about to make a run for the last mile when I caught sight of a car. The lights were on so I slowed down to a turtles walk because I didn’t want them to see that I was scared. The people in the back seat opened the window and pointed at me and said to the others," Look at that stupid boy walking all by himself with the Crying Lady just up ahead by the bridge." I stopped and waved at them as though I was not scared at all. But as soon as they were ahead of me I started running and I stopped once the lights dissappeared. I couldn’t catch up and I was tired and that’s when I noticed that I was just above the river where the Crying Lady was making her rounds calling out for her children. I paniced at the thought of getting caught by the Crying Lady. Heck, I don’t know if it was her making the noises, but I was not staying to find out, so I ran until anothe car came by. And the idiot me stopped again and waved at the them. I didn’t want them to see me at my worst fears. Soon as they got in front of me I starting running again. However, my friends were near by at the grocery store across from the Arroyo. So I stopped and walked as slow as I could. I could hear my friends marveling at my bravery. They hadn’t seen me running, or my heart pounding on my rib cage in fear. All they could see was this fourteen year old boy with the heart of a lion. Boy, it was the furtherest from the truth, but, heck, I never did get around into telling them the truth. Once in a while we gather around a drink some fire water and maybe make some fajitas on the grill and talk about all times. It’s amazing how the folk tale lingers on, and their kids come on over when they tell that same folk tale over and over. I guess one of these days I am going to have to tell them that I never did see anything, and that I didn’t walk over the bridge. I might have to tell them that I did have to change me underwear more that a few times. Maybe, I’ll just keep it to my self.
COPYRIGHT © 2008 OSCAR ELIZONDO
When was the last time you were really scared? When I think back to my childhood I remember the folk tale about the crying lady that would float like a ghost and call out to her murdered children. Are You Ready For This?