He heard his mother murmuring, repeating and repeating a simple prayerful phrase: "Santa Maria, Madre de Dios."
The Lord is with you, he responded, but in his head, where it was best to pray.
When the bullet found its mark, the impact caused her arms to flail upward for an instant before they flopped down. Nicolas felt the weight of her push suddenly against him and then he felt her go limp. "Mama," he said, and it was like an imploration.
Years later, when he was much older and he truly understood, when he was called to give an account of what he had lived through, he would say, "Like water pouring over stone, that is how she slipped away from me."
Copyright Sandra Benitez, 2001. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced without the written permission of the publisher Hyperion Books.
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