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The Road Home (Coco): Chapter Twenty-Six - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
The Road Home (Coco): Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Escuché música en las voces
Canciones que canté en la plaza
Sabía cuando te conocí
Que encontré el camino a casa

I heard music in voices around me,
Like melodies that I'd once known
And I knew in the moment I met you
That at last, I had found the road home

Until the border guard said, “Enjoy your visit, Héctor,” he’d convinced himself that it wouldn’t happen, that the photo the family had patched together with tape wouldn’t work, that he would, once again, be left at the foot of the bridge, watching everyone else go by.

It hadn’t helped that he’d arrived separately. He hadn’t meant to, but Ceci had been feeling off, and he’d spent the night before in her workshop, trying without much success to convince her that she wasn’t fading. Her last great-grandchild had arrived during the year, and her great-great-grandchildren, raised in a modern home in Puebla and now scattered around the country in small neat houses with small neat families, apparently didn’t spare her much thought. “I should have gone over last year,” she’d lamented. “Or the year before, or some time, instead of sewing all night. Maybe I could have made them think of me. One of them is even a fashion designer. Maybe he could have remembered me.”

She seemed to be all right for now, and her great-grandson was going to get her ready and get her across the bridge, but it had delayed Héctor. He’d sent a message with Pepita to meet him at the bridge, and by the time he got there, the lines were quite long. He could see Imelda and the twins quite a distance ahead of him while he waited, chatting until their absolutely routine approval came through, and they disappeared out of the building. Coco and Julio and the girls must have gone through even earlier. Héctor would have liked company in line. Imelda rolling her eyes at his fears would have been a welcome distraction from them. Instead, he got more and more nervous, more certain that he should be in a costume or hidden away in someone’s basket, instead of waiting in this line like it was no big deal.

Then he was there, standing in front of the scanner, and he was just himself, just Héctor, and he felt quite naked when the flash went off.

And then he was through.

He hadn’t realized that he was twisting his hat in his hands until he went out into the sunlight. He put it back on as Imelda reached out to him with a question in her eyes.

He answered it with a kiss.


He turned to find Coco coming over, back in her bedroom slippers, with a shawl over her shoulders. Imelda hoped they’d leave her something better to wear, now that they’d had a year to not see her in her nightgown every day. Héctor didn’t care. She could wear a sackcloth and she’d still be one of his two favorite sights, especially today. Today, she had saved him again. He grabbed her as he had when he’d first seen her here, and spun her around kissed her cheekbones. She laughed.

The rest of the family came over (Héctor wasn’t sure what they’d been doing), and, hand in hand, they went to the marigold bridge.

It held his weight.

Above them, Pepita and Dante zoomed through the sky, chasing one another across the border between worlds, as the spirits moved on.

They crested the bridge as the sun set, and, for the first time in a hundred years, Héctor looked down into Santa Cecilia, spread out in the shadows of the mountains and glittering with light. He’d known somewhere in his mind that they certainly would have run electricity out here, and he’d imagined a few street lamps, maybe some soft lights in the windows, but the whole town was lit up with a bright, cheerful glow. The cemetery, at the base of the bridge, was crowded with visiting families, these lit by candles. There was a large mausoleum toward the back of it, but it alone was in shadow.

“De la Cruz’s,” Imelda said bitterly, catching his gaze. “At least no one’s there, now. Before…” She shuddered.

“Where are we?” he asked.

“Over there,” Imelda told him, pointing toward the base of a tree, around which complete strangers were clustered.

“Are those…?”

“No,” Coco said, coming up and looking confused. “I don’t know those people. And Elena likes to keep the family at home around the ofrenda.”

“Then who are they?”

Imelda, who had taken a few steps toward the grave, grinned. “Your fans, by the looks of it. You’ve even got a tour guide.” She pointed to a woman who was chattering at the group, all of whom had little flat things in their hands that had to be cameras, since they pointed at the graves and flashed, but they looked nothing like anything Héctor would think of as a camera. From one of the little devices, a version of “The World Is Mi Familia” seemed to be playing.

“I can’t wait to find out what they’ve been up to,” Julio said. “This is a big change.”

They set off together, Coco and Héctor slowly, because they were trying to follow the paths, which were full of the living. It wouldn’t hurt anyone if they passed through one another, but it seemed rude. Everyone else, with years of practice under their belts, was fanning out through the gravestones. Coco and Héctor looked at each other sheepishly and joined them. There was a bit of a scrum at the gate, both for the living going into the cemetery and the dead heading for their homes, but once they were through it, the streets, though crowded, were easy enough to pass. Héctor noticed all the differences—the electric lights, the cars that seemed to be everywhere, the canned music coming from open windows, even the size of the town’s population. He only remembered this many people being here when he and Ernesto had convinced several Carpas to come and do a show one year, and people had flocked in from neighboring villages. Now, it seemed almost like a city.

But he mostly noticed what hadn’t changed. The cobbled streets. The old houses. The plaza and the church and even the graveyard seemed like his Santa Cecilia. They passed the old theater where he and Imelda had once sung together. It was mostly unchanged, but an ugly electric sign had replaced the old marquee, and it was advertising a movie whose poster showed a man who appeared to have had tar thrown at his face. Another poster showed a friendly looking monster holding a boy up over its head.

They were close to home now, just…

Imelda stopped, her hands rising to her face, and everyone drew up beside her.

There was a lovely marigold-colored glow up the street, around a gate that was beside what used to be their home. People were milling in the street, and laughing, and from inside, Héctor could hear Miguel singing.

“It’s an offering,” Julio said, leaning toward Coco. “You see the glow? They’re offering us…. the song… the house…”

“Is it always an offering?” she asked.

“The gate usually is. It’s from Elena, isn’t it?” Imelda asked. “But the song. The music. Héctor, the house is full of music again. It’s our perfect house again.”

Héctor felt his eyes go wide. “This is all our house?”

“Yes! Of course.”

“You built all of this?”

She gave a humble shrug.

He shook his head. “I married really well.”

She laughed, then took his hand and led him through the gate. Everyone seemed surprised by the number of people here. It wasn’t just the living, either. Héctor could see other spirits, many of them crowded into a tiny room beyond the well. (“The ofrenda room,” Oscar explained. “We’ll visit later, when they’ve gone.”) Miguel was wearing a red and gold charro suit, strolling among the guests with a wide smile, singing the song Héctor had heard in his head. A girl with a violin and a boy with an accordion were nearby, providing backup, and Héctor knew at once that these were his great-great-grandchildren as well. The girl, though she wore glasses, had something of Imelda in her face, and the boy looked a bit like an overgrown version of Julio.

The source of the marigold light wasn’t just the music. The guitar itself was glowing, like a tiny fire was burning around Miguel’s hands. As Héctor danced with Imelda, she whispered, “The guitar is an offering, too, mi amor. You should join him.”


“Just touch it. Grasp it. It will come to you.”

Feeling strange, Héctor went up beside Miguel, forming his arms around Miguel’s, and then suddenly, the guitar was back, his guitar, his wedding present from Imelda. And he knew the song, because it also came to him. He started to play.

Two men picked Miguel up and put him on their shoulders as he finished the song. One of them, Héctor was quite sure, was Enrique, who he’d dreamed of. When Miguel finished the long last note, he handed the guitar down to a young man with black hair and dark eyes, taking it back only when he was safe on the ground. There was a great deal of applause, and Miguel looked completely happy.

It was impossible to keep up with all the names that flew at him as the night went on. Héctor learned the names of Elena’s children and their wives, and of his great-great-grandchildren, though no one could tell him who was Benny and who was Manny. Coco spent most of the evening hovering near Elena, who seemed to sense her. Imelda wandered through the workshop, looking at the innovations. Héctor himself was bemused by what appeared to be a museum set up in his own honor, which he found when Miguel returned the guitar to a set of pegs that had been made for it and smiled.

“Are you here?” he asked into the night. “Dante acts like you’re here.”

“I’m here,” Héctor said, but Miguel just smiled around. He seemed to know he wasn’t alone, but not to have any real sense of where Héctor was.

Later, Héctor thought. After he sleeps, we can talk.

Rosita had fallen into a conversation with a spirit from her own family, a brother who had died in the war. He claimed that he always meant to make the trek across town to visit her and Julio, but wasn’t time funny when there was so much of it ahead of you?

The twins were talking to someone from Miguel’s mother’s family, and Victoria was arguing with a man in a military uniform, who seemed quite frustrated with her. He kept gesturing at another man who looked military, who had red hair. No one seemed to know who he was.

“My grandson,” someone said, his accent identifying him as a foreigner long before Héctor turned around to see him examining his bones with disbelieving eyes. “The boy,” he said. “That’s my grandson. I don’t know why he’s here, or I am.” He looked up. “Cal Shaughnessy. Pleased to meet you.”

“Héctor Rivera. You’re…” He frowned. “You’re not Mexican.”

“Just by in-laws,” Shaughnessy said.

“But you look like us! It is the same!” Héctor indicated his bones.

“Just here. I wasn’t before. I was young and… had skin.” He shook his head. “The wife always thinks she’s supposed to have wings. She says she gets them when she visits her parents. I stay away from her parents. I’ll tell her she should be happy for skin.” He looked around. “Then again, we don’t get to visit the kids like this. I wouldn’t mind dropping in and getting presents at home!”

“Are you family?”

“No idea. Maybe Denny up and married a Mexican girl this year. Which I guess he would, eventually.” Shaughnessy gave a confused frown. “I just don’t know which one. Any of yours the right age?”

Héctor didn’t think so. “How did you get here? How does your wife go see her parents?”

Shaughnessy seemed utterly lost at this turn of the conversation, and Héctor got the idea that people came and went from wherever he was to wherever his in-laws were with relative ease, but he couldn’t seem to express the method. After a while, he moved on to keep an eye on his grandson, and Héctor checked in on Abel, who was playing a kind of short movie on a very large screen. It was like a cartoon, but there were no lines, and it looked almost like moving photographs. In it, Héctor, Imelda, and Coco stepped out of their family photograph and danced among the living. First, they spun around Elena, who was clearly filmed from life, her frown fading into a great smile as she danced with her husband. Then they attended Berto’s wedding and kissed the bride’s cheeks. They were at Abel’s christening, then Gloria’s quinceañera. After that was Enrique’s wedding, then Rosa’s christening, then Miguel’s. There, Abel let the story linger, as Héctor touched Miguel’s hands, and a flowing music staff wrapped around both of them. It remained, ghostly, around the family ever after. Then they were at Rosa’s first Communion, and Imelda was straightening her veil, and after that, they attended Abel’s graduation. In the end, the whole family was dancing together, living and dead with their arms around each other, wrapped in the same staff that had passed from Héctor to Miguel.

Like so much else, it had a marigold glow to it, but Héctor couldn’t even imagine how he might take it with him. Instead, he watched it three times as Abel played it for new people, and was very disappointed when Abel was called away to do something else.

“I watched it twice earlier,” Imelda said, appearing beside him. “It’s like magic. I wanted to really be at all of those things. And now I feel like I was!”

“I feel like…” Héctor searched for the words. “I feel like they feel like we were.”

“Our family is alive, Héctor. They’re really alive.”

“Aren’t they usually?”

She smiled. “Not like this. This is what it should have been. This is what Miguel gave back to us. Our blessings.”

Héctor looked across the courtyard, where Coco was now looking over Miguel’s shoulder at a little glowing device. “And the biggest blessing of all—”

“—is our little Coco,” Imelda finished the old incantation. She smiled and squeezed his hand. “And it’s not just what Miguel gave back to us. It’s what you’ve given us. We have our heart back.”

Héctor kissed her.

The guests thinned out later on, and Miguel carried his baby sister to her crib. Héctor followed and played along with the lullaby Miguel was singing. It was one of his own creation, but the chords were easy enough to pick up, and the guitars—being the exact same instrument—were perfectly tuned to one another.

Later, the family settled into a long talk about the previous year. Héctor sat down on the ground beside Miguel for this, glad of the boy’s company. He learned that Shaughnessy’s grandson was a detective who’d found his body, and the thin young man to whom Miguel had given the guitar was his music teacher. Most of the stories he heard, he’d pieced together from scraps that had gotten to the land of the dead, but to hear it all together, to know how much effort the family had put in, was a different thing. Héctor felt profoundly loved, and it made him feel much stronger than the intoxicating waves of fame had.

The time slipped by quickly, and Héctor wasn’t ready when the family went off to bed. He wanted to listen to more talk, to hear them talk about anything, really. He just wanted to be with them.

Miguel got up and made a show of stretching, but he looked down at Héctor, almost directly. “Guess I better get to sleep then,” he said.

Unfortunately, Héctor didn’t believe that he did mean to sleep. Sleeping was when they could have a real, two-way conversation. But he thought it meant that Miguel wasn’t tired of being together, either, which was a kindness. Coco followed him and gave him a kiss goodnight as soon as he stayed still long enough for it, and he smiled.

Everyone else dropped off to their bedrooms, and Rosita said, “Let’s go to the ofrenda now. I think the guests are gone. And I want my presents.” She grinned broadly. “It’s like birthdays,” she explained.

Héctor followed her in. Now that the room was empty, he could see the rows of photos on the ofrenda. His own photo was at the top, with Imelda and Coco. Their offerings were still glowing. Apparently, Julio’s people had already gone; theirs were dormant now. Rosita found ribbons and sweets by her photo, and Victoria happily grabbed a new pair of shoes and some fresh fruit. The twins discovered a present from Berto’s twin boys, a crayon drawing of the four of them playing together. Abel had also left them a drawing of the addition he planned for the hacienda. Imelda had new hair ribbons, the year’s ledger from the shop, a magazine of new shoe styles, and photos of the baby.

But Héctor and Coco easily had the biggest collections of offerings, because they’d never had anything before.

“My dress!” Coco cooed, taking the blue and yellow dress, folded into a tiny package, from the shelf. “And my dancing shoes… oh, Julio, we’ll go dancing, won’t we? Now that I can be beautiful for you again.”

“You’re always beautiful.”

She giggled. “Oh, and letters! Papá, look, Miguel has left me letters! What a good idea! Can I read them? Will they come over?”

“I don’t know,” Victoria said. “No one ever left us letters.”

Coco the wrapped around the bundle and opened it, then smiled broadly. “It’s here. It’s all here. Oh, I’ll be reading these for a while. Papá, I think you have one, too.”

Héctor looked up at his own spot. There was a letter clipped to an envelope. He took it, leaving something behind that felt like a shell, though he suspected it would look no different to the living. He decided to read it later, to spread out the discovery. Miguel had also left him more songs. There was a basket of food with a note on the handle that said, Dear Papá Héctor, no one knew what your favorite foods were, so we all left you some of our favorites, and we hope you’ll get to know us by trying them. Your granddaughter, Elena.

“Héctor!” Imelda called. “Look at this! Look at mine!”

He looked over. Along with the ribbons and ledgers, someone had left her the record they’d once made together, with the silly, flirtatious notes they’d written to one another. Imelda smiled at it sadly. “I would have destroyed it,” she said. “Teresa saved it. I should have saved her instead of screaming at her.”

“I think Teresa saved herself without our help,” Héctor said.

They had all settled into showing one another their gifts when the light in the kitchen went on, and Dante came prancing into the room. He looked over his shoulder.

Héctor followed his gaze.

Miguel was standing there, as Héctor had expected he would be, looking blindly into the crowded room, a little anxious. He was wearing an old tee shirt and ragged shorts and carrying a pillow and blanket, obviously dressed for sleeping. Everyone fell silent.

“Are they here, Dante?” Miguel asked. “Are they really?”

Dante gave a sharp bark and bounded over to Héctor, who patted him on the head.

Miguel looked at a spot a few inches to Héctor’s left. “Right there? Is that Papá Héctor?”

Another bark.

“And Mamá Coco, where is Mamá Coco?”

Dante trotted over to Coco and ran around her. In the living world, it must have looked like he was chasing his tail.

“Mamá Imelda?”

Pepita was not about to allow Dante to present her mistress, so she jumped down from the windowsill and wound herself around Imelda’s ankles.

Between them, the alebrijes were able to show Miguel essentially where everyone was, and lead him to the green bench (he asked nervously if anyone was there, but seemed to take Dante’s prodding as an assurance that he wouldn’t be sitting on anybody).

“I wish I could see everyone and hear everyone,” he said. “I’d love to hear your gossip." He laughed self-consciously. “I guess I’m supposed to want important answers to big questions, but mostly I want to know if Papá Héctor and Mamá Imelda are back together, and if Mamá Coco is finally getting to dance, and if Oscar and Felipe have all of their bones sorted out. I wouldn’t mind a hug from Tía Rosita, either, or knowing what Tía Victoria is reading about. It turns out she was right about the vitamins.”

Rosita sat beside him and gave him a hug. Her arms went right through him, but he smiled.

“I think I felt that! Was that you, Tía Rosita?”

Dante barked happily.

“I guess it’s just that I miss you as people. Not just as… whatever I’m supposed to think of you as. Papá Julio, I’m glad you were there to guide me in the right direction last year. I need some guiding sometimes.”

Julio smiled.

“And Mamá Coco, I miss telling you everything every day. Most of those letters are just the stupid things I’d come home from school to say. I hope you’re okay with that.”

“I always was before,” Coco said.

Miguel looked around self-consciously. “Um, Mamá Imelda? I’m really sorry I was rude last year. I’m learning to make shoes. I’m not really good at it, but if you want…” He held his feet up. He wore a pair of perfectly decent, if uninspired sandals, and they started to glow. “Just so that you know, I… I admire you. I love what you built, and I’m really proud of it.”

Miguel sat quietly for a few minutes, scratching behind Dante’s ears and leaning vaguely toward Rosita. Héctor went to her and gave her an imploring look. She smiled and moved away. He took her place.

Miguel seemed to feel the change. He smiled.

Héctor smiled back. It had never occurred to him, in all of his attempts to cross the bridge, that the living might not even be sure he was there. But there was something. Miguel could tell that someone else was beside him.

Someone he loved.

Héctor felt the love coming off of him in powerful, painful waves. He wondered if that was what Miguel could feel coming from him.

Whatever he felt, he seemed to find it comforting. He sighed like he was setting down a heavy load, and smiled. “I just wanted to make sure I came and talked to everyone. Everyone here knows I was telling the truth. But believing me and understanding are different. I want to really see you. Don’t worry or anything, I’m not in a hurry to get there. But it sure would be nice to sing with Papá Héctor, and fly on Pepita with Mamá Imelda. And just…” He shrugged. “It was nice to meet everyone. I guess that’s all I really wanted to say.” He yawned now, for real. “Do you mind if I stay in here?” he asked. “Just tonight.”

There was no way to answer, and he didn’t wait. He put the pillow on the floor, wrapped himself in the blanket, and lay down. It only took him a few minutes to go to sleep. Whether it was magic or exhaustion, Héctor didn’t know.

Héctor sat down on the floor beside him, and looked up at his family. “I’m going to try to talk to him,” he said. “Maybe it won’t work.”

“It will,” Imelda said. “You know it will. Go on.”

Héctor nodded, then reached out one hand and touched Miguel’s forehead.

Suddenly, the ofrenda room was gone. The hacienda was gone. They weren’t in the land of the dead, either. They were in Mariachi Plaza, on the bandstand. Miguel was back in his suit, sitting on the rail, plucking out a tune on the strings of their guitar.

Héctor looked down at himself. He wasn’t in his rags. He was in the suit he’d worn for the family photograph, and he was whole.

“Well,” he said, looking at his hands, with the old scars on his fingers, and the callouses he’d built up over the years. “This is new.”

Miguel looked up and smiled broadly, setting the guitar down, then jumping down and flinging himself into Héctor’s arms. “You’re here. I hoped you could come. I dreamed about you before.”

“I know. It’s easier this side of the bridge.”

“Then we have to do this every year.”

“I think there may be years you don’t want me popping into your dreams.”

“Not on Día de Muertos. I’ll always want to check in with you. How are you? Are you okay? How’s Mamá Imelda? Is Mamá Coco there, is she feeling better?”

Héctor smoothed his hair down, then sat down on bench that appeared for him. Miguel sat across from him. “Everyone is fine,” he said. “It’s good to be back with Mamá Imelda, who sends you her great love, and Coco is feeling well now. We’ve had many long talks, and even a few adventures.”

“Adventures? What adventures?”

Héctor filled him in on what had become of Ernesto after he was pulled out from under the bell. Miguel listened avidly, and, sounding much like Imelda, declared that he was glad when Héctor told him that Odiados seemed to have swallowed him.

“So that’s been our year,” he said. “And we’ve missed you, too. You’re still pretty famous down there. I should have brought you a bobble-head. I’ll remember next year.”

“There are bobble-heads?”

“And tee shirts.”

Miguel shook his head in amazement. “And you’re a musician again.”

“I wrote songs for a play about Vikings. It opens next week. The reviews are pretty good from the critics we let in for the dress rehearsal.”


“It’s mostly about what happens when people who have different afterlives fall in love.”

“And what does happen? I mean, not that I have any reason to know…”

Héctor raised his eyebrows—his actual eyebrows, which felt strange on his face after all this time—and said, “Oho! Is there something we might be missing here?”

Miguel gave him a sheepish grin and shrugged. He was quiet for a minute, then took a deep breath and said, “I need to know—the music. I gave the music back to the people. Even ‘Remember Me.’ I had to. They were crying and…”

“It’s all right,” Héctor said. “That song’s been out in the world too long to hold onto it.”

“I don’t sing it, though. People ask me, but I don’t.”

“You can if you want to,” Héctor said.

“I kept wondering if it was what you’d want. If it was what you’d do. I was so afraid you’d hate me.”

“Never.” Héctor thought about it and looked up at the sun, which was baking the plaza around them. “It’s not what I would have done,” he finally said.

“It’s… it’s not?”

“No. But it was the right thing to do. Miguel—you did the right thing, even when you were afraid of what I’d say. That took courage that I never had. I’m very proud of you.”


“Really. And if anything like that comes up again, you go ahead and do what seems right to you. You gave me your song tonight. I give you all of mine. Whatever you decide is right, that’s what’s right. And no matter what you decide, I will love you for ever and ever. You know that, right?”

“And you’ll still be there when I get there. I’ll make sure no one forgets.”

“I’ll be there.” Héctor smiled. “The way it’s been the last few months, I think I may be there when your great-great grandchildren show up after long, healthy lives. Do me a favor and make sure they remember everyone else, too, okay?”

“Promise.” Miguel bit his lip. “I don’t know what else I want to say, but I don’t want you to go.”

“Then I won’t. I have until almost sunrise. Want to learn the new songs from the play?”

Miguel nodded eagerly, and they worked together, laughing and singing and playing, until some unknown time later, Héctor felt a hand on his shoulder.

“I have to go now,” he said.

Miguel looked down and nodded. “I know.”

“But I’ll see you next year. I promise. And I’ll want to hear new songs.”

“You will. Love you, Papá Héctor.”

“Love you too, mijo.”

On an impulse, Héctor tossed Miguel a kiss. It flew through the air, visible, and landed on his cheek, spreading a kind of soft light around him. Miguel smiled, and the world became too bright to see.

A moment later, Héctor was back in the ofrenda room, Miguel sleeping peacefully on the floor beside him. It was time to go back home.

The family gathered their offerings in leather bags Imelda had made, and quietly made their way out into the pre-dawn silence of Santa Cecilia. They weren’t the last of the spirits. Many were moving quietly out of houses, laden down with offerings, both happy and melancholy at the same time. Héctor had never felt like quite as much of a ghost. It wasn’t a terrible feeling, just sense that his time of belonging in the world had ended for the year.

It would come again.

He stepped onto the marigold bridge, walking beside Imelda, headed back to their own world. In silence, the family walked to the crest of the bridge, and there, at the top, Héctor looked back toward Santa Cecilia, toward the remaining lights in the cemetery, toward the plaza with its bandstand glowing in the moonlight.

He had finally made it home, and he wanted to hold on for just a moment longer, but the petals beneath his feet were beginning to shift and lose their strength.

I know the way now, he reminded himself. We found the way together. And I will come home again.

Imelda tugged his hand gently, and he turned away from Santa Cecilia for now, letting it fall behind the curve of the bridge, as the first light of dawn chased them home again.

The End
6 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 26th, 2018 02:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Considering the title of your first fic, it feels more than a bit appropriate that this focuses on when Hector finally gets his guitar back.

It's awesome that Denny's grandpa made it through. And nice confirmation that the form they take is culturally contextual. I assume that transition applies to language as well.
That he doesn't know how he got there must be frustrating for some of the Riveras though. I bet that they are hoping for future visits from Denny so that they can possibly figure things out.
Is it Mag Mell or someplace similar where's he usually is at?
What was Victoria arguing with the elder Calles about?

Ah, so Miguel didn't have to go far that late at night.
The way Miguel can be determined and even harsh at times does feel more of an Imelda-ish trait than Hector. And that similarity to Imelda is clear with his unsympathetic reaction to Ernesto's fate.

Anyways, this has been an enjoyable ride.
Thank you for writing this!

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 26th, 2018 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
I was going with Tir na nOg, but only because Irish-American afterlife views are probably not all that informed by Irish mythos. ;p Meanwhile "the wife" (who Carlos didn't invite because all he really knows about his grandmother is that she spent most of his mother's childhood drunk) is your basic WASP whose family envisions becoming angels up on clouds to watch over the progeny.

Victoria was a young intellectual in the '60s. I think she just has some very definite views about the military, which Calles' father, who died in the early days of the cartel wars trying to defend civilians, does not share.
From: (Anonymous) Date: September 26th, 2018 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Haha yeah. Besides the part about wings, the fact that Cal stays away from them makes me suspect his in-laws are WASPs in every sense of the word. Guess marrying the "other" is a tradition with at least one per generation.

Ah, so Victoria's activistic zeal didn't mellow with age or death. Hopefully she'll make an allowance after knowing what Calles did.
Come to think of it, I wonder what kind of notification they'd get begin crossing.

From: (Anonymous) Date: September 27th, 2018 02:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Just like Miguel, I don't want Hector to go either!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: September 27th, 2018 07:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
I never want Hector to go! :D
princesselwen From: princesselwen Date: September 30th, 2018 08:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is such a sweet ending. :)
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