It was an accident. Neither of us can comprehend what actually occurred to cause such a ruckus. One second the Mexican tin star lantern was hanging from a screw on the wall. The next it was crashing down onto Mike’s head and ricocheting into the shop’s front display window landing directly on the Mexican catrinas below maiming many beyond recognition. Before the dust settled, the tiny woman from Lillian’s Gift Shop hustled over, pointed her finger toward a notecard dangling from browning tape with faded writing to let us know in a calm, courteous manner that there was indeed a reason for the placement of the “These Are Fragile” sign posted near the delicate figurines. Adding she was certainly glad the falling star hadn’t smashed the adjacent mirrors because those were very expensive. Code for, “You realize you are paying for these, right?”
By the looks of things, it was obvious it was way too late for many of the skeleton faced miniatures. Tiny body parts were strewn throughout the front window of the store. Mike and I immediately began scavenging arms, legs, hats and heads of catrinas in hopes of reconstruction. Taking care not to cause additional damage in our pursuit we discovered some had survived the fall and would live to see another day. Others…well…not so lucky.
Upon retrieving and matching appendages from the window in plain view of the main boulevard of San Carlos I began to wonder about these dismembered catrinas. Many were created to resemble regular folk while others mimicked well known starlets from the past. I watched as the sales woman sorted their parts and carefully wrapped the bits and pieces in toilet paper. Maybe she knew something I didn’t know about the uses of TP. Perhaps it held mystical powers of healing. Square by square, time wound slowly by and I let my imagination soar.
Would Marilyn Monroe again be able to hold down that dress for the Seven Year Itch? Was there a chance Mae West would have an opportunity to have someone come up and see her sometime? Did the rotund chicken farmer know the colonel or had this blunder caused him to kick his proverbial bucket?
The purple cummerbunded groom was obviously crushed. Was his appearance a premonition of his upcoming marriage? Was there any hope for his bride in blue? What about the poor mustached tennis player? He had lost not only his arms but his racquet as well therefore dashing all hope of “love” at the net. I was snapped out of my trance as the sales clerk was gently nestling the precious chunks of tiny people now doubly wrapped in two-ply and the Guaymas Daily News into a Kellogg’s Nutri Fibra cereal box for safe keeping.
I couldn’t help but think, why? What was actually be protecting here?
The shopkeeper then asked if we were going to be paying with cash or credit. She followed up her question with if we paid cash, pesos or dollars, we could save 10%. There’s an irony in there somewhere, right? Thank goodness there’s a discount! She rang up the sale and I shelled out the equivalent of just under $100 USD for a Kellogg’s Nutri Fibra box full of broken catrina pieces. As we turned to leave the tiny woman said she was so very sorry for what had happened. We explained that it was an accident and that we would return to her charming little store. She then reached back into the register and with tears in her eyes held out 500 pesos, about $25. We shook our heads refusing her offer once again promising her we would return stating the catrinas would be glued together and would be good as new. The truth is, there wasn’t a toro in a china shop, it was truly just an accident.
With a dab craft glue, a dot of super glue, a steady hand and a dash of patience the catrinas have been restored. Painfully, the bride in blue is missing her left hand but other than that the figurines seem almost whole. So, to my dear friends and family members, if you are fortunate enough to receive a rough around the edges catrina wrapped in toilet paper and packed in a Kellogg’s Nutri Fibra cereal box, it also comes with an individualized story.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t the consequence of my own actions.”– unknown