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Road Home side story 1: Making Monsters - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Road Home side story 1: Making Monsters
So, I did want to at least more fully investigate the little romance with Bridget that Enrique and Luisa thought was so cute. I doubt it's anything that would be a forever thing, but I think it was more important to Miguel than Enrique guessed.


Making Monsters


“Two thousand seven hundred and forty-three miles,” Bridget said, looking at her phone. “That’s four thousand four hundred and fourteen kilometers for you.”

“I like the miles better,” Miguel said. “It sounds closer.”

She traced the roads. “You could just go up to Mexico City, hop on Route 57 to Monterrey, then Route 85 and cross at Laredo. Then Route 35 all the way through Texas and Oklahoma and Kansas, and pick up the 75 in Topeka, and the 29 in Omaha, and that will get you all the way to Minnesota. Well, via North Dakota and some side roads.”

“That’s even better. Sounds much shorter.”

“I won’t name the little streets to get to Cobbler’s Ridge, then. It’ll sound really long if I do that.” She put her phone down and lowered her hand, letting it rest beside Miguel’s on the tiles of the roof.

He nodded, though he wanted her to start naming the streets. She’d been naming the streets yesterday, when she was taking him on a virtual tour of the town, and their faces had been really close and then she’d kissed him. Or maybe he’d kissed her. It had been fast and it was kind of fuzzy now, and he wasn’t sure it had really happened. Except that she’d blushed, and she got really dark red when she blushed, and why would she have blushed if it hadn’t happened, right?

So it really had happened. Probably. He wondered if it would be all right to hold her hand, which seemed to be sending out jumpy little signals. He didn’t quite dare.

But it wasn’t just the memory of having kissed her (if that had happened) while she traced roads. He liked the sound of her voice. She spoke Spanish just a little bit too slowly, but prettily. She had a little trouble with her r’s, either not rolling them at all or doing it way too hard, and there was something else he couldn’t quite put his finger on. Her vocabulary and grammar were good, and she’d a lot of time talking to Calles, so she didn’t miss any weird things and knew more swear words than Miguel himself did. She didn’t even ask anyone for repeats, or look like she was missing anything. But there was still an accent, like she was singing old, well-known lyrics to a totally different melody than he was used to. He knew it was the melody of English—he didn’t speak it, but he’d heard it spoken often enough to recognize the rises and falls—but he’d never heard an English speaker who was really fluent in Spanish speak it before, and had, until Bridget had arrived, assumed that the accent would just go away. It didn’t, and it was really interesting. It made him want to ask Carlos if that was why English music sounded different from Spanish music.

He also liked the weird names of streets near her, like Lindeborg Avenue and Gunderson Street. Her house was on Standpipe Road, and the town where she went to school was called Nyvall. (“Cobbler’s Ridge is just a bend in the road,” she’d explained. “We’re not big enough for our own school.”) Miguel and Rosa had laughed when she told them what “Cobbler’s Ridge” meant—Shoemaker’s Hill—as, until she’d arrived on Friday, she’d never even met a shoemaker. Now, Miguel was considering mentioning that maybe it was fate that she would come here and meet him, here in a cobbler’s shop…

But every time he opened his mouth to say it, it struck him as a very stupid thing to say, the kind of thing that might have been an old de la Cruz movie, and that wasn’t a good place for his head to take him and—

“Do you want to hold my hand?” she blurted, then winced. “Sorry. I… that was a dumb…”

“No, I want to hold your hand,” Miguel said quickly, and reached over to take it before she changed her mind.

She wound her fingers through his, blushing again. In the moonlight, her face looked almost purple. “We sound like a Beatles song,” she said.

“Who?”

Her eyes widened and her blush relaxed a little bit, though she didn’t let go of his hand. “I need to talk to Carlos. Your musical education has a significant gap. Beatles.” She took a deep breath, then sang something in English, a bouncy little tune that seemed happy and innocent. “I can’t think how to translate it. The syllables are all different. Basically, it just says, ‘I’ll tell you something that you’ll understand, I want to hold your hand.’ And then it just says it over and over. And words about feeling happy inside.” She bit her lip. “It’s weird singing in front of a real musician.”

“I like your voice,” he said truthfully. It was a soft soprano voice, completely untrained, but on key and pretty.

She gave him a doubtful look, then said, “Anyway, you should look up the Beatles.”

“Okay. Carlos always tells me to find someone new to listen to between lessons.”

“My dad sings their songs all the time, even though they’re way older than him. He said my grandpa used to sing their songs as lullabies.”

“The one who—?”

“Got shot. Yeah.” She sighed and squeezed Miguel’s hand a little. He squeezed back. “I wish he hadn’t. He was supposed to be nice. I knew my grandmother a little before she died but she… after he died, she drank a lot. She was always pretty drunk. Daddy tried to take care of her, but... And then she got behind the wheel one day. Aunt Cathy says it was bound to happen and it’s just good that no one else got hurt.”

“And your Aunt Cathy is…?”

“Denny’s mom. She’s nice, but she’s a little crazy. Daddy said I could come down if Aunt Cathy taught me self-defense. You should see what she taught me. If it helps to imagine it, the first thing she taught me was to tell the police, ‘I believed my life was in danger. I want a lawyer.’ The other sister’s Aunt Meg. She doesn’t talk to any of us. Which is really embarrassing, given where I am right now. She’s…” Bridget winced. “She stopped talking to Aunt Cathy when she married Denny’s dad, and to Daddy when he didn’t stop talking to Aunt Cathy. And told her off about it. Now she’s one of those people going on about building walls. And she does sometimes call to rant at him. Now she’s on about all Catholics, just like we don’t have seventy pictures of her in a First Communion dress. I’m sorry. You can let go of my hand if you want to.”

“I don’t.” Miguel lifted their grasped hands. She was older than he was, but her hand was smaller, and against his in the moonlight, it looked quite literally white. “Murder does stupid things to people. I mean, bad things, too, but… also a lot of stupid things. Don’t tell my family I said that. We’re just fixing things up. But when my great-great-grandfather got murdered, we didn’t know. We thought he just left to be a musician. And we threw music out of the house. Everything.”

She nodded. “It must have hurt a lot.”

“Yeah.” He sighed. “Why do we do things like that? I mean, music bans, and… you know, like your tía.”

“Denny says it’s because we make monsters we can fight or run away from, to make up for the one we couldn’t.”

This struck Miguel as very wise. “Maybe that’s why we’re fixing it now. Because I finally got to fight the real one.” She gave him a curious look, so he added, “You know… with the lawsuit.”

“Oh.” She didn’t sound entirely convinced. “That’s why you know Denny, right? Because you found out the truth and he found your great-grandfather?”

“Great-great-grandfather,” Miguel corrected. “My Papá Héctor.”

“Denny likes your family a lot.”

“We like him, too.”

The conversation paused. Bridget looked out over the town toward the dark shapes of the mountains.

“Denny saved my life once,” she said. “I was eight. That’s why we always talk. That’s why I learned Spanish, so I could seem more like his cousin.” She bit her lip. “I drowned. He brought me back.”

“You almost drowned?”

“No, I actually drowned.” She took her hand from his (it was pretty warm out and it was time, but he missed the feel of it), and leaned forward a little bit. “We were swimming at Thief Lake—that’s close to us—and there was a guy on a speedboat. He didn’t do anything on purpose, but it sent up a wake, and the wave just turned me over. I came up at first, but I must have breathed some water or something, because I kept getting more and more tired and my sister and Mom were playing right nearby, but I was sinking. And I couldn’t get any breath to tell them. I went back under. But Denny was there for the summer, right before he went in the Air Force. He used to be a life guard at a public pool. And he knew what was happening, and he pulled me back to the shore and did CPR. He got my heart going again, and my lungs and everything. Now he says he has to keep me from screwing up, because anything I do is his fault.” She smiled faintly. “Anyway, yeah. You kissed a formerly dead person. Freaked out yet?”

“No, I’m good with dead people.” Miguel smiled at her. “I like them, actually. Did you see anything? Marigold bridge, maybe?”

She shook her head. “Well… I had a dream. No bridge. I was in a boat. A little rowboat. And there other ones coming by, headed for an island. Only mine was stopped. And my grandfather came. I don’t how he got there, he was just, you know, there. Only he was really young, like the same age as Denny was. And he said I could keep going, or I could go back. And I looked back and I saw everyone at the lake. But on the island it sounded like everyone was having fun.” She shrugged. “I heard Denny yell something in Spanish that I didn’t understand—later I found he was just yelling for me to breathe—and Mom and Daddy were worried. So I went back. Daddy said I just had a dream because of the stories he told me about Tir na nOg. That’s a special island where everyone is young and healthy and beautiful and lives forever. You have a marigold bridge?”

He nodded. “Well… I think of it as a bridge. We put out the petals to make a path and they all make a bridge. And you get to the top and you can see everything. At least, that’s how I see it.”

She gave him a shrewd look, not smiling or flirting now. “What do you know really, Miguel?”

He didn’t quite look at her. “I don’t know. I’ve never died.”

“But this matters to you.” She leaned over, catching his eye. “Why does it matter so much? Why did you ask what I saw? Did you see something?”

“I…” Miguel considered telling her everything that had happened last year It would be good. She was easy to talk to and he didn’t think she’d think he was lying. But he wasn’t ready to take that chance. He’d only known her for two and a half days. “I got lost last year on Día de los Muertos. Everyone says I fell asleep in the cemetery. I saw… I felt like they were there. And there was a bridge. It glowed. I mean, I think it did.” He chanced a closer look at her. “Do you believe me?”

She shrugged and nodded. “About what you saw?”

“I didn’t say I saw anything.”

“That, I don’t believe. You can tell me. I won’t tell.”

Miguel took a deep breath, then shook his head. “No. I can’t. It’s… something weird happened. Can I leave it at something weird?”

“Sure.”

“Anyway, they were all out there. Skeletons. Like we have here. I guess wanted to know if you went to the same place.”

“Doesn’t sound like. Why would it be the same? Daddy’s Irish and… I guess you’d say general mish-mash Protestant mutt on his mother’s side. Mom’s Scottish, straight over from Aberdeen. No marigold bridges for me. Sounds pretty, though.”

“And no skeletons.”

“No. It’s definitely not our thing. Denny had to explain that they weren’t supposed to be scary. Skeletons are Halloween monsters for us.” She thought about it. “We don’t have a thing really. We don’t talk about the dead very much. I guess most people think they turn into angels and watch over us. I mean, if they think anything. They have halos and, like, white dresses and they play harps all day or something. Sometimes, they’re guardians. There’s a movie about a guy with a guardian angel named Clarence.” She shrugged, a little self-conscious. “The main guy in the movie, Jimmy Stewart, he wishes he was never born, and his guardian angel shows him what the world would have been like without him, and then he decides it was good that he was born, and that’s when Clarence gets his wings.”

“Wings?” Miguel laughed. “I think Papá Héctor would have loved wings. I’m not sure about the dress. The only dress I saw him in was blue.”

Bridget raised her eyebrows, then snorted laughter. “I never laughed about dead people before. At least not real ones.”

“Why not? Shouldn’t they be funny, if they were funny here?”

“That’s a good point.”

Miguel took a chance and held out his hand again, and she took it easily. “So, what other movies do you watch? I used to watch all the Ernesto de la Cruz movies, before I knew what he did. I thought they were so good.”

“Aren’t they still?”

“Maybe, but I can’t stand looking at him.”

“That makes sense. Too bad you lost your movies, though.”

“I never thought of it that way.”

“You need some new ones.”

“Carlos says I should just jump in and watch Negrete and Infante. ‘It was time to stop watching the pale first incarnation, anyway.’” Miguel bit his lip. “Do you like cheesy musicals?”

“All musicals are cheesy. That’s just a fact. You want really dumb ones, you could try the Elvis movies. Or Beach Blanket Bingo.”

“Sounds great.”

“We have billions of them. We even have musicals about people making musicals. Musical-ception. And I can think of two musicals that are about hairstyles.”

“What’s your favorite?”

“Musical?”

“Yeah.”

“I don’t know. I never thought about it. What was yours? I mean, before?”

“I guess I liked La Alma de la Música.” Miguel sighed. “That was where he was a priest and he used music to save the church. Dumb.”

“Sounds like Sister Act. You know, if he were a Vegas lounge singer pretending to be a nun.”

“I’ll watch that one, then.”

“We could watch it together…”

Miguel smiled at her. “Are you tired of my roof?”

“Your roof is my favorite place,” she said. “But my backside is kind of falling asleep.”

“Oh. I guess we should go down, anyway. We’ve been up here…”

“Since the sun was up,” Bridget pointed out.

They stood up and stretched, then made their way along the gutter to the window that led to Miguel’s attic. All of the de la Cruz things were gone, but his old video player and television were there, and the smashed remains of his old guitar. Abuelita had tried to fix it for a few weeks after Día de los Muertos, but she hadn’t been able to. In the months since, he’d sort of made this into his own place again. He’d scanned the photo of Papá Héctor and Mamá Imelda, and put it up on the wall, and he had food dishes for Pepita and Dante here, and beds for them if they came in the night. He also kept some notebooks full of lyrics that he wasn’t ready to work on music for yet, and some old CDs that Carlos had given him to listen to. The family knew about the place and they were welcome if they wanted to come now, but it was still his, and they all recognized it, and most of the family seemed to accept that the old house was going to be his. Papá had said he would grow out of wanting to live here, but he didn’t think so. He’d even picked out a spot for a piano.

He moved out of the way while Bridget came in, feeling around for the old lamp Abuelita had given him for the space (“Don’t put candles in there, mijo. Let’s not burn the place down before you know for sure you want to live here”). He found it, and a soft, gold light came into the room. The lamp was a little plastic one, meant for a very little girl (in fact, it had been Tía Gloria’s). The base was a plastic princess crown, and the shade had little crystals that threw sparkles onto the wall. Miguel didn’t think he was going to show it to the other guys on the track team any time soon, but he did sort of like the effect, as long as he didn’t look at the silly tiara.

He looked instead at Bridget, who was standing up as far as she could in here, looking with interest at the various treasures. The little crystals covered her with moving spots of light, some of them seeming to catch in her hair. “You need more things on your shelves,” she said.

“It used to all be de la Cruz,” he said. “My family helped me get rid of it. We burned it.” He bit his lip. “Probably dumb. Some collector probably would have liked some of it.”

“I guess his collectibles aren’t that valuable anymore, anyway.” She reached down into the corner where she’d left her purse earlier, and fished around in it, finally pulling out a round pin that had a giant N on it, with a horned helmet propped at the top of the upstroke, and a spear leaning on the downstroke. Underneath, it said, “Nyvall Vikings.” Bridget propped it in a spot that had once held a de la Cruz bobble-head, then on another thought, took it back. “My school team,” she said, fishing in her purse again. Finally, she came up with a tube of lipstick and put some on. She turned the pin over to the back and pressed her lips right under the pin, leaving an imprint of a kiss, then put it back on the shelf, hiding the imprint. She winked, then fished for a tissue to wipe the rest of the lipstick off her mouth.

Miguel grinned. “Thanks.”

She smiled back, putting the tissue back in her purse. “You really do need more things. The monster’s gone, but you can still see the shape.” She pointed around. “All the empty spots.”

“What did your family do to get rid the monster?” Miguel asked. “I mean, I guess they never had a shrine to him or anything.”

“Everything we did was a shrine to the monster. Aunt Cathy’s gun collection. Daddy’s house a million miles from downtown nowhere. Aunt Meg…” She looked down at the cracked television that Miguel had fished out of the dump in another life. “There was show out last fall and the bad guy was called the shadow monster. And that’s what it feels like sometimes. Like we’re all underneath a big shadow monster, and most of the time, we’re so far in we can’t even see it. But I can see it from here. It’s not just the guy. It’s barely the guy. He’s been in jail for a long time. It’s the thing he did. Is that how it feels to you?”

“Sometimes. But it’s him, too. De la Cruz. I used to think he was everything. He taught me guitar. And he…” Miguel took a deep breath. “I don’t know. I sometimes wonder what I’m supposed to do about that.”

“He owed it to you,” Bridget said. “That’s all. Your great-great-grandfather would have taught your great-grandmother, and she’d have taught your Abuelita, and she’d have taught your dad, and he’d have taught you. Except that de la Cruz stopped all of that. So learning guitar from him, that’s just part of what he owed you. Think of it as taking back some of it.”

“That’s pretty smart.”

She laughed ruefully. “I’m great at telling other people things. But it took me forever to convince Daddy that living holed up in the middle of nowhere was like… I don’t know. Paying interest on the murder.” She looked around. “You should paint in here. And put up more pictures.”

“Can I take one of you, to go with the pin?”

“No. But we can take one together.” She took out her phone again. “Come here. I’ll message it to you and you can print it out.” She hooked her arm around his neck and pressed their cheeks together, then put her phone as far out as she could reach and snapped the picture.

This pose did not last long enough.

She put the camera away and looked at the smashed guitar. “What are you going to do with that?”

“Do you think I should throw it away? Abuelita got into a fight last year and it… got broken. Is that one of the monster things I should get rid of?”

“No. You should build it again.”

“I already have two guitars, both of them better than this.”

“But you made this one. That means it matters. You should make it even better than it was.” She handed it to him.

He looked at it dubiously, the body broken and dangling from is strings. “I don’t know…” He smiled. “I could. I did it once. I can do it again. And I can use it to tell my kids about how we used to ban music, until we saw the real monster.”

“And slayed it,” Bridget added. “Good call.”

“But not tonight. We should get back downstairs.”

He pushed the sign aside and started to leave, but Bridget pulled on his hand and, without much warning at all, kissed him again. This time, he was pretty sure it was really happening, because it took almost five seconds, which he thought he would replay a lot in his memory.

Her mouth made a faint little squeaking sound as she pulled away, and she laughed nervously, putting her hands over her face. “Sorry,” she said. “I wanted to do that before we went back down into the real world.”

Miguel wanted to say something clever or romantic or… really, anything at all.. but his throat didn’t seem to be working, so he just pushed the sign open and slid out onto the lower roof, holding out his hand to guide her again. By the time they’d made their way down the woodpile and past the shop trucks, his voice had come back, and when Abel called, “Hey, primo, we thought you got lost again!” he managed to answer that they’d just been on the roof without anything in his voice that betrayed him. At least he didn’t think anything did. He was pretty sure that Abel would tease him without any mercy at all if he figured it out.

Rosa was down by the well, practicing her violin. She was getting good. She smirked over at them, and Miguel groaned inwardly; he had not, at any rate, managed to fool Rosa. Maybe that was because Rosa was the one who was supposed to be Bridget’s friend. They’d all been together the first day, and they’d had fun, and Bridget and Rosa did get along, but… Rosa had gone downstairs from Miguel’s attic sometime on Friday night, and Miguel hadn’t noticed for a very long time.

“Papá finished your shoes,” she said to Bridget. “But I think he’s planning to keep them for himself. He keeps messing around with the laces and adding things.”

“Finished…? I thought he was just taking them apart.”

“Oh, he took the old ones apart. Then he used them as a pattern to make two more pairs. He likes the cross lacing. But you better stop him while you can still actually dance in them. If he adds one more four-leaf clover, I think you won’t be able to lift your foot.”

“Four-leaf clover?” Bridget raised her eyebrows. “Oh, no. Does he know we go through about six pairs a year? We just wear them out. We don’t usually decorate them.”

“Oh, that’s all right!” Tío Berto said, coming out of the workshop. “I’ll use this as a model for a regular shoe, inspired by ghillies. Let’s see how they are, though.” He handed Bridget a pair of soft black leather shoes, topped with little curved parts where the laces came through in a complicated way. He looked at her eagerly.

She sat down on the edge of the well, kicked off her chanclas, and tied the dance shoes to her feet. “Wow,” she said, standing up. Her face was filled with unfeigned admiration. “These are super comfortable! I don’t know what you did differently…”

“It’s the seams,” Tío Berto said proudly. “I thought the way the old ones were seemed like it might chafe, so I worked out some overlap, and… well, it seems to have worked.”

“They’re great!” Bridget moved one of her feet in a circle on the cobbles, then hopped and came down lightly, kicking one foot out with a pointed toe.

“Can you teach me?” Rosa asked. “Miguel, you play something.”

“I don’t know anything Irish.”

“So play something Mexican,” Rosa said. “Honestly, I just feel silly dancing with no music.”

“We’ll invent something new,” Bridget suggested. “Mexirlandesicano dancing!”

“Soft-shoe flamenco!”

Miguel went to get his guitar while the girls came up with more names for the kind of dance they meant to invent. He started toward the music room to get his practice guitar, but on a whim changed directions and went to the little museum to get Papá Héctor’s. He didn’t play it often enough, and he thought Papá Héctor would get a kick out of him playing it for this. He’d probably want to learn soft-shoe flamenco himself.

He smiled as he grabbed the guitar and brought it back to the courtyard, settling in on the edge of the well and playing a few of his own songs while the girls tried to teach each other new steps, some of which (including one that involved turning under each other’s arched arms) did not work well at all.

He played far into the night, the family coming and going, sometimes joining the girls, sometimes just watching and listening. Abuelita sat down beside him for a while and kept a beat by beating her shoe against the side of the well. Mamá danced with the girls for a long time. Tío Berto got his phone and took video of how the shoes flexed and stretched at Bridget danced.

They all laughed and sang and danced under the late summer moon, and whatever monsters had stalked them were, for a little while at least, completely gone.
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Comments
From: (Anonymous) Date: October 2nd, 2018 07:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw this is cute, and I liked Bridget's description's of the "monster".
Which could also apply to the impact the reveal had on all of Ernesto's prior fans. In that regard, Miguel helped slay, or at least subdue, more monsters than one.

Hahaha considering Calles' military background, and contrasting that with Elena's probable oversight, I am not surprised that Bridget has a more... colorful vocabulary than Miguel despite Spanish being a second language to her.

It's common to fixate on the accents that manifest when English is spoken as a secondary language, but it's harder to imagine how our accents sound when speaking a different language.

I'm guessing that Miguel tells her the full story after telling his older friends. I'm sure Calles will appreciate it to know that there is indeed a spot for his grandpa.

---FFR
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 3rd, 2018 03:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Miguel Rivera: Dragon-slayer! :D

I live in an area where the English has a strong Spanish influence, and have spent a goodish amount of time in a place that had a strong Yiddish influence. I assume that an English base does the same thing to other languages that other languages do to English. But sometimes it's hard to know. I've been listening to the local dialect a lot for the last few years, and the only thing I can put my finger on is a kind of "melodic" difference.

I think he may eventually tell Bridget the whole story (maybe even before he tells his older friends), but it will be a while.
From: queen_bellatrix Date: October 3rd, 2018 07:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Basketful of Catches/Effusive Delight

Wanted to catch some typos in case you wanted to put this on AO3:

she'd a lot of time talking Just need a spent before the a.

might've been an old Just need an in before the an.

there other ones coming Just need a were before other.

don't how he got Just need a know before how.

later I found he was just Just need an out after found.

last year It Just need a period after year.

I guess wanted to know Just need an I before wanted.

get rid the monster Just need an of before the.

there was show out Just need an a before show.

downtown nowhere I feel like one of these words should be gone--maybe you edited and then changed your mind?

got into a fight last year Feel like there should be an and I before got.

from is strings Just need the is to be its.

flexed and stretched at Bridget Just need the at to be as.

Wow, you're posting so much Coco goodness, and it all looks so brilliant; I promise I'll catch up as soon as possible! A. I'm really curious what other side stories you're planning, since you labeled this one side story 1. B. God this was beautiful, and now I have a thing for Bridget and Miguel in that fictional romantic thematic way. They have wonderful chemistry, but also it hits the same buttons for me as Harry entering the Weasley family proper by marrying Ginny--save that you portray Bridget and Miguel being smitten at a moment wherein Bridget is a much nicer character than Ginny was in HBP which helps tremendously with investment! I'm now happily imagining them going off and doing their own thing for a decade or two, keeping in touch and then maybe after some other people circling back round to one another. But even if they probably won't, I see why you wanted to explore this.

God I loved so many of Bridget's insights, from Ernesto owing Miguel on the guitar lessons, which I hadn't considered but which is immensely true, to everything she said about rebuilding the attic in such a way that the monster-shape wasn't visible.

The whole meditation about monsters and why we make them to deal with tragedy was beautiful and profound. It's so cool to see side-wise the effect Calles has on Bridget, especially because he worried so much about his troubled family: the fact that he gave her the foundation of monsters, and she's frankly the most clear-eyed and well-adjusted, with the tools to come out less scarred than the rest.

The cultural interchange and banter was marvelous; I was cackling at the comparison of the Ernesto movie and Sister Act, both because it's a wonderfully apt one and because I love Sister a lot. And the invented dancing! the better-made shoes! just all of them sharing their wisdom and kindness back and forth. You write deeply hopeful stories without glossing over the world's ills and it means so much, especially now.

Miguel and Bridget are so cute in much the same way Mike and Eleven are. And I love the combination of fierce and vulnerable on display with her--that she takes much of the initiative, but then gets tripped up by this being as new for her as for him.

And all the discussions of their various brushes with the afterlife were just really interesting. The way there's this connection there, even when it isn't fully fleshed out and Miguel's being cagy as hell. I really loved this, is what I'm driving at.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 4th, 2018 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Basketful of Catches/Effusive Delight

There's at least one more side story--when Miguel tells Carlos and Calles the story. Though I'm actually setting that six years in the future, while Miguel's at the conservatory.

I'm glad you liked Bridget. I did, too. I'm hesitant to make it too permanent a set-up, like "OMG, Miguel needs an American girlfriend!" More just a moment of having someone who understands him but is also enough of an outsider to see clearly (he functions in much the same way for her). There is a little Mike and Eleven in there, though, isn't there? :D

Boy, you can tell I wrote fast from all those typos! Thanks for getting them.

I may polish up all the challenges and put them on AO3 this time; I seem to have more Coco readers there.
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