Monday, March 29, 2010

Snowed In 3

I walked through the blustery wind again, working diligently to keep my balance. I knocked loudly on the front door. No one seemed to be inside. I knocked again, not knowing what else to do. Lupe cautiously looked around the corner. Upon seeing me, she came running to the door and opened it. "¿Qué hace usted aquí?" she said with a mixture of joy and concern.

"Hola Lupe!" I threw my arms around her in a grateful hug. "¿Está abierto? Debo entrar para un poco... con un amigo. Por favor."

"Si! Por supuesto!" Lupe had become a good friend over the last few years, ever since our children began kindergarten together. Her curly black hair framed her always tan skin. She was beautiful, hardworking, and kind to a fault. She should not have so graciously opened her restaurant just to house me. I should not have asked. I ran back to the car and escorted Mr. Henry inside.

"Es muy guapo," Lupe said as soon as he walked through the door.

I didn't respond to her statement. To be honest, I hadn't really registered if he was a handsome man. He was a client and there was to be no relationship outside of that parameter. "Lupe, meet Mr. Henry. Mr. Henry, this is my dear friend and owner of La Hacienda, Lupe."

Mr. Henry shook her hand. "It's lovely to meet you Lupe. I do hope it isn't too much trouble to have us here." He gave his close-the-deal smile and slid off his overcoat.

"No trouble at all. I would do anything for Sylvia. Now, what are you two doing out on the roads in this horrible weather?" Her accent, as always was heavy. Her vowels were just slightly off in their sounds. Even though her sentences were always perfect, I couldn't help but second guessing my understanding.

I looked at Mr. Henry. Confidentiality was a cornerstone of my job. I didn't know what he was okay with saying. "Sylvia has been helping me find my way around town while I did some business. The person who was suppose to drive me to the airport was unable to at the last second and I asked her to do me the favor instead. I've since learned that the airport has shut down. She suggested stopping here to figure out what to do next. She said the food was excellent." I was very appreciative he handled the situation. It was all true, of course, and not one word came from my lips so I had not broken any of the confidentiality clauses I swore to when taking the job.

"Well, don't stay too long. The roads are not going to get better tonight." With that small admonishment, Lupe disappeared into the kitchen.

Mr.. Henry looked around the dining area. There were maybe a dozen tables that could seat up to four people and three other tables that could comfortably seat six. The restaurant was clean, but a little run down. The bright wallpaper had faded a little. The pictures were ancient black and whites from when Lupe's abuela was just a girl. The restaurant was very quaint and quite popular for the neighborhood. I wasn't sure Mr. Henry saw the appeal.

"Where does she live?" he asked suddenly, still looking around the room.

"Her family has two places. There are a couple of bedrooms and a bathroom above the restaurant and they live with her sister a few blocks from my house." The Latino culture was very open and even in New Saga got places through empesas, or who you knew. Your connections were more important than education in their way of thinking. Mr. Henry would be a powerful person to know.

"I guess that explains what she is still doing here," he said. Just then, Lupe waled out of the kitchen holding a bowl of tortilla chips and smaller bowls of salsa.

"What can I get you to drink Mr. Henry?" She sat my water on the table.

"I'll have a water too. Is the kitchen open?" he asked, genuinely curious.

"Yes, but I choose what you eat. You just tell me spicy or not spicy, kay?"

"A little of both if you have something that is quick and easy." She smiled at him, pat my hand and disappeared again.

"I'm sorry Mr. Henry. I need to make a few phone calls to get things set up for you. Do you mind if I step away for a few minutes?" He nodded his agreement and pulled his briefcase back to him, opening it up and taking the same stack of papers he was reading at the hotel out. I stepped into the kitchen and called Alice first. I let her know I would be late again. She was, as always, good natured about it. Still, I felt my heart breaking. I could hear my kids in the background giggling. I really wanted to see their smiling faces too.

Then I called every hotel I had in my speed dial. Everything was full. Lupe gave me the telephone book and I quickly scanned it for quality hotels. I was told the same thing by everyone. "I'm sorry. We are full due to the weather conditions/ cancelled flights." There simply wasn't any place for him to go. I had no idea what to do with him.

Lupe walked by, carrying two plates of mole pablano polo, one of my favorite dishes. Somehow, she makes the sauce both spicy and mild. I knew Mr. Henry would enjoy it. After returning to the kitchen she said, "He stays with you then. You have the extra room. He should be like family now. It's been a long time of work, no?" I did not want Mr. Henry staying with me, but at the moment I had no better ideas.


  1. I have read all three "chapters" at once. Beside a few typo and related grammar errors. I like this a bit slow moving and a bit light on the show don't tell aspect of writing. But it is not absent.

    So far I like it.

  2. If you have a chance, give me some examples of each case: slow moving and a tell issue where I should show. I know they are in there, I just haven't taken time to go back and read through it.

  3. Slow moving....It tend to drag when you say things like "they drove in silence for 20 minutes" "We finished our meals in silence"

    The thoughts/ conversations about where Mr. Henry is going to stay get repetitive. We really don't need to know that there is more than one family staying in his old room. Making the I called every where and Lupe saying he should stay in your spare room one conversation and one scene would keep it from dragging.

    OK there are some examples off the top of my head. Does that help you under stand what I mean?