"Hija? May I come in?" Mother cautiously
asks from the door. She pokes her head in, and gasps in surprise. "Dois Mio! Hijo? Is that really you?"
"Yes Mama. Itís me." Tony says, standing up from his chair and walking towards the door which was now
"Dois Mio! Itís you, itís really you." Mother cries, pulling in Tony for a tremendous hug.
"Itís good to see you too mother." Tony says lightly, reciprocating the hug.
"Oh Hijo, Iíve prayed for so long that youíd come back. And you finally did." Mother sobs.
"Too bad it had to take Maria getting shot." Tony remarks, bringing me into the conversation.
"Yes. That was a tragedy." Mother says, her eyes piercing into mine.
"Címon, come sit down." Tony comments, breaking our intense stare to lead mother over to a chair. I scoot
over on my bed, and he sits on the edge directly in front of her.
Clearing his throat, he gazes into her eyes, "so mother, how have you been?"
"Well, now that youíre here, I havenít been happier." Mother smiles, glancing between the two of us.
"Are you sure youíve been happy? Letting Luis control you?" Tony asks, a concern tone in his voice.
"Hijo, please donít say anything against your brother. Heís tried his hardest." Mother replies, her tone
"Mother, I donít know what happened to you. When I left, you were a strong woman. You made the decisions,
held your head high. Now you bow your head when ever you speak, and you let Luis make the decisions." Tony
"Really Mama, heís right. Ever since Tony left, you gave up all your control." A new voice says. Our
attention immediately goes to the young woman at the door. She had longer hair then mine, but looked strikingly
similar to me. It was Theresa, I recognized her from her pictures on the tabloid.
"Theresa?" Tony says, taking in a sharp voice.
"Iíve missed you Antonio." Theresa replies, stepping in from the room. I watch as Tony stands and walks
to her. They tightly embrace, and I can see the tears running down my sisterís cheek. She wipes her eyes as they
break apart, then crosses to room to my bedside. Almost instantly, she envelopes me in a hug.
Surprised by the embrace, it takes me a few minutes to recover from the shock. But once I do, I hug her back with
full force. It felt good to hold my baby sister in my arms, something we hadnít done for eight years.
"Iíve missed you too Paloma. Do you know how hard it was to grow up living with only brothers?" She jokes,
breaking the hug and wiping her moist brown eyes again.
"No, but if theyíre anything like your cousins, I can imagine. Mind you, I only lived there for two years
though. Itís good to see you too, Theresa." I comment, wiping my own eyes, which were becoming watery. I smile
brightly, and glance at my mother, who also had tears in her eyes.
"Iím so sorry, hija." She whispers, casting her eyes down again.
"Mother, look me in the eyes." I command, finding my inner strength. She glances up, trepidation on her
face, fearing Iím going to blow up.
"I forgive you. Luis had taken over, and did what he thought best. You just did what he thought was the only
thing left to do. I wish you wouldíve been stronger, but thatís just not the way it happened." I manage a
genuine smile as my motherís face lights up. She jumps out of her chair and envelopes me in a gigantic hug. Theresa
and Tony soon join in, and for the first time in a long time, I feel connected with my dysfunctional family.
"The only thing that would be more perfect would be if Papa was here." Theresa sighs as we pull away
from the family moment. I look nervously at Tony, who gives me the same reaction. He mouths "play it cool"
and I nod.
"Well, that and if we could get Luis and you two on the right track." Mother comments, sitting back down
in her chair.
"Weíll try mother." I answer, looking into her eyes, then Tonyís.
A loud crash from outside my room draws our attention, but quickly my mother and sister dismiss it. Tony and I,
on the other hand, keep watching the doorway, and sharply take in a breath when we see our fatherís head poke out
from the behind the door frame. Tony makes some vague jesters, which go unnoticed by my mother and sister.
"If youíll excuse me a moment." Tony cryptically says, walking out the door without giving them a chance
to reply. Their eyes focus on the door area for a moment, before returning to me.
"Hija, tell us more about yourself. What have you been up to?" Mother asks me.
"Well, before I was basically put on hold in Harmony, I played Maria in "West Side Story". Our companyís
been traveling for a few months now. We started in NYC, then went to London. Right now theyíre in Chicago, then
going to Detroit and a list of other cities before heading back to NYC. Other than that, Iíve done "The Sound
Of Music". I was Lesile, "South Pacific" I played Liat, and I did "Grease". That was my
favorite." I ramble.
"Oh wow! You achieved your dream! What part did you play in "Grease"? Weíre you Sandy?" Theresa
"No, no." I shake my head, laughing lightly, "I played Rizzo. Could you imagine me sweet? Nah, I
was the bitch."
"Hija! Such language." Mother shrieks.
"Oh mother." I roll my eyes.
"So youíve done a lot. I canít believe you were in so many!" Theresa remarks.
"It was hard to break into the business, but thereís nothing like show business. The rush of opening night,
when the curtain goes up and youíre alone on the stage. The band starts the first few measures of the song, and
suddenly the spotlightís on you. Then, you push past the butterflies in your stomach, and start belting out that
song." I reply in a whispy tone.
"God, Iíd be too nervous." Theresa comments.
"Thatís part of the fun." I smile, remembering some of my experiences on the stage.
"Hija, youíve got such a gift with story telling." Mother remarks.
"All part of being an actress mother."
"Iím back, did you miss me?" Tony cockily comments, entering my room. He winks at me, and I know the
situation is under control.
"How could we miss you?" I jokingly sneer.
"Dois Mio! Not you two fighting too!" Mother shrieks.
"No, no mother. Weíre just teasing. Thereís enough fighting in this family." Tony vehemently replies.
"Dois Mio, I swear, one of these days, my children are going to give me a heart attack." Mother mutters.
"I swear, it wonít be me!" I smirk watching as the mood in the room lightens again.