by L.L. Madrid

Joe Le Merou via Creative Commons

“Do you know how to get to El Tiradito?”

I nod; everyone in Barrio Viejo knows where to find the wishing shrine.

“The sun will set soon. Go for your Mama.”

“Poppa said she’s going to be fine.”

“Pay attention, Lucia. You only get one wish, don’t waste it.” Nana hands me a paper and pen. “Write it down, neat as you can. Fold it tight, but don’t lose it.” As I write, she places a candle—St. Jude—and a matchbook into a bag. “When you get to the shrine light the wick and say a prayer for the sinners. Slip your wish between the cracks of bricks. Don’t put the candle on the altar. Place it in the corner away from the wind, it has to stay lit all night or the wish won’t come true. Do you understand mi hija?”

I nod again and Nana kisses my forehead.

In the morning, Poppa is pale faced. Nana crosses herself and whispers that the flame must have gone out.

It hadn’t though. I knew when Poppa handed me a box with the patent leather shoes I’d wished for. He’d bought them for me to wear with my funeral dress.

LL MadridL.L. Madrid (@LLMadridWriter) lives in Tucson where she can smell the rain before it falls. She resides with her four-year-old daughter, an antisocial cat, and on occasion, a scorpion or two. Her favorite word is glossolalia.