"Just in Case I Break the Rule" by Eloisa Guerrero
Growing up in a large Catholic family was not always easy. Hard work, strict rules, good
behavior, and many other expectations entwined one with another to build me into a good
daughter and a good member of society. My father was always the provider, the invisible,
present at home, but absent in my education. My mother was the ruler, the model, the instructor, and even the predictor of my future. She always told me how to behave, so that I would be respected by anyone who happened to know me during my lifetime. As a child, well, no… not as a child because I could not behave like a child. As a young girl, I found myself missing the precious joy of childhood, glued to my mother’s skirt. Whenever we went out, she told me in advance, “Cuidadito y te portes mal. I warn you… don’t misbehave. I want you at my side all the time. Do whatever I tell you. Be respectful to others. No interrumpas la plática de los mayores. Be careful and don’t interrupt the adult’s talk. We don’t like that…” Then, I would nod my head again and again until my mother stopped warning me about everything I might do wrong. It was difficult for me not to act like a child, but I knew the consequences if I did, so I always stayed immobile at my mother’s side. I could not enjoy childhood because I was always following the rules, but things got worse as I grew up.
When I barely reached the portal of my teenage years, my mother started lecturing me
about marrying a good boy. Well no… not exactly. She lectured me not to marry anyone who
wasn’t of her liking. Why did my mother do that to me? I don’t know. I wasn’t interested in boys yet, but I had to repeatedly listen to lectures which seemed to never end. “Don’t you dare to look at the Freitas. They are all pegadores. They are violent and mistreat their wives. Don’t ever turn to the Gallos. They are all flojos. They don’t work enough to give you a good life. Never, ever, ever under any circumstances marry one of the Osegueras. They are all cheaters…” And the list grew and grew every time until the only boys in town left without defects were my cousin and my brothers. But of course, I would never marry them. As my mother was left with no one to criticize, she says to me, “you know, there is a wise old proverb ‘Mas vale malo por conocido que bueno por conocer’ which means that you better marry someone you know very well even if he is not good at all because you don’t know what to expect from someone unknown. Be intelligent mijita, be intelligent.” I was confused by her words. How could I marry someone known as a bad man? It didn’t make sense to me at all.
As time went by, she lectured me over and over about the same thing and she stressed me
with the subject. “I already know that, mom! You have told me that hundreds of times….”
Without even finishing my sentence, she interrupted me, “Just in case mijita, just in case,” that
was always her reply. After almost twenty-three years of following rules, I finally decided to
break one and followed my heart. I fell in love with an unknown man from out of state, a good
man indeed. I disobeyed my mother’s advice and I married him. All my life, I felt so trapped by her rules that I forgot to enjoy my life, but not this time. This time I broke the rule, I disobeyed, and it felt very good!