the story i will never tell

the story begins before my existence…

i find out through stories, and talks with relatives…

No one remembers a time where there was no church. A time where you didn’t have to go in this big building and worship a god that didn’t look like you, saints that didn’t look like you, and listening to a priest that didn’t look like you.

Once upon a time, it feels like a thousand years ago… every one knew each other, it doesn’t necessarily mean they got along. Men would plant and harvest corn, beans, and anything else that would grow. Woman would stay in the house, cook, clean, and tend the children. The parties were big, everyone drunk beer including some children. All the Coatecanos(from Coatecas Altas) recognized the important traditions. One of the traditions was to ask for the hand of the woman you want to marry, taking bread and beer to the parents of the girl. Then there was a set structure, that everyone knew, to plan and execute the wedding. Ultimately, the man of the household makes the decision of whether to give his daughter. There are many cases of where the Dad asks for a certain amount of money in exchange for the daughter.

Throughout the years, with the expansion of colonialism… there were many traditions that didn’t survive. I was told of a time, where some of my ancestors had to leave everything behind and run for the mountains. They were under attack. Many died. I tried asking my grandma questions, but she doesn’t remember who what where and why. The perpetrators, i assume, where white man taking over the place. Til this day, there are still treasures hidden in those mountains, buried somewhere safe where no one will find them.

Now, i wasn’t born in Coatecas Altas.

Life was a struggle. mom tells me, she had to turn down two men that wanted to marry her. My grandma, ate the bread and drunk the beer. Why? well, grandpa had died when my brave mother was still a child. My mom had sisters, some where actually married already through the old traditional way. My resilient mother had to work and pay the equivalent of the baskets and beer back to the men.

My parents met. They got married(only by law, which means no big party).

i was born in Mexico City.

my sister was born around a year and a half later in Sinaloa.

I was a very sick baby, making my mother’s life really hard. my hardworking dad would go and work in anything he could find, while my caring mother watched over the two kids.

We all went back to Coatecas Altas, where my sis and i were registered (my birth certificate show Coatecas as my place of birth). I was baptized.

Parents left, in search of better opportunities… there were no jobs in the town and harvesting was even harder. Leaving us with grandma, we grew up in a strict home… After several years, they came back. Everyone was getting ready to leave again, my parents agreed to make the journey again but including us.

The last day i was in Coatecas Altas was May 10th, Dia de Las Madres. I try recalling into my memories if i gave my mom a hug or not. All i remember is being surrounded by “friends”, dancing, and mom taking pictures.

Almost twelve years later, i am in Florida… graduated with honors from High school, and obtained an Associates from College. I am Zapoteco, i long for the day i get to go back to Coatecas Altas…