“ESOS OTROS VIEJITOS,” SHE HAD TOLD HER FRIENDS, “NO TIENEN PASION.” THOSE OTHER OLD MEN HAVE NO PASSION. Both of her husbands had been laborers of one kind or another. Before her, none of them had owned a jacket or a suit, and the one jacket each of them bought had been for her weddings. When they married her, more because they knew that’s the way she would have wanted it, they had each worn a tux. All of the men around them, who had worked and dirtied themselves with field work as much as her husbands, had contributed two or three dollars each to help them rent it. “For any other woman,” they had told them, “you could wear anything you wanted, but this is Dorotea Jimenez, and you should wear a tux. Dorotea Jimenez is in love with you, and you should wear a tux.” At the weddings, each of the men who had contributed sat toward the front, each holding hands with his wife, with their children in other parts of the church looking at the rare spectacle. In front of their own children, and in front of the whole church, each husband and wife behaved as if Dorotea Jimenez’s weddings brought them love and life again. Dorotea Jimenez died at 92. When she arrived at her last wedding, she was wearing a smock a young man had given her for her birthday, December 20, the year before. The dress she wore was tastefully and elegantly decorated with a pina present from her second husband. As much as he had tried, and as much as he apologized to her for many years, he could never afford to get her a real diamond wedding ring. Because she had wanted to marry him so quickly, they had used the rings she had had from her first husband. It had hurt him deeply, everyone had said later, but he had told them all, individually and in small groups, “Dorotea Jimenez wants to marry me, and for that, I will swallow anything, including any trace of my pride.” Everyone knew at their wedding where the rings had come from, and no one, not even the other men who could have afforded to help him, criticized any part of it. “Se esta casando con Dorotea Jimenez, y Para eso, uno se puede comer lo que sea.” “He is marrying Dorotea Jimenez, and for that, one can swallow anything.” At her last wedding, the day she died, Dorotea Jimenez wore her husbands’ wedding ring. She was leaning on the end of the pew, all the way to the right, when they found her. One of the older, but still strong, men, carried her out to the car from the wedding, explaining to the people there that she had gone to sleep. A few of her friends followed him along in their cars to her home, where the women found the keys to her house in her purse. Along with her keys, they found a few small envelopes of the kind that she had always liked, a small vial of perfume her first husband had given her, and the savings her second husband had kept to eventually get her a wedding band. He had always tried, he said, because he wanted the best for her. And the little paper bag in which he kept the savingswhich Dorotea Jimenez would occasionally carry in her purse without his knowledgewas one that most of the men had already seen. He had shown all of them his efforts and had asked many of them if he was getting close enough, not knowing the price of a ring himself. \(He had been too embarrassed to walk into a jewelry store too early, without enough money, And Dorotea Jimenez knew all of itabout the savings that he never mentioned to her; about him showing the small bag to the others, at work and elsewhere; about the jackets and the tuxedoes; about the heat outside while they waited; about the men holding hands with their wives at her weddings; and about the contributions everyone made. Until the day she died at 92, when she leaned against the end of the pew after her last wedding, Dorotea Jimenez knew all of it. Ruperto Garcia is a former . Observer staff writer. He practices law in San Antonio and is working on a book of short stories. 36 THE TEXAS OBSERVER JANUARY 13, 2006
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