It has taken me a long time to write this in you, what I have to say is so bad.
The night before the fiesta, something happened. The bakery was quiet, the ovens and mixers all turned off because—being closed on Sundays—we don’t bake on a Saturday night. I was asleep when I heard a terrible crash beneath my bedroom. It sounded like glass breaking!
Papa’s voice was suddenly in the hall, calling out to Carlos. I ran from the room and saw Mama and Gabriella standing together with frightened faces.
“Someone has broken into the bakery,” whispered Mama.
“Why would they do that?” I asked, but she only shook her head. All the food for our fiesta was stored downstairs, in the refrigerators and on the shelves.
There were loud noises from downstairs, and I remembered that all the money we’d made from the bake sale was locked up in the bakery. It sounded like a fight going on.
“Maybe we should call the police,” said Gabriella, but just then Carlos came up the stairs.
“It’s over,” he said, reassuring Mama and his wife. “They’re gone. Maybe we will want to talk to the police tomorrow, but—” he scrubbed his face with a big hand. “It was a bunch of young thugs—some of them, we know…”
“What?” cried Gabriella. “What are you saying?”
“I’m saying those two angry boys who wanted to keep the money from the bake sale for themselves. They must have gotten together with other boys and planned this. They knew the fiesta was tomorrow, and that we would have food….”
“And money? The money from the sale?”
Papa came into the room, his shoulders drooping. “It’s been taken.”
There was a terrible cry from all of us.
“That’s not the worst,” continued Papa. “I saw Sandro with those boys. He ran when he saw us coming.”
“Oh no…” Mama started weeping and sat down in a chair. Gabriella patted her back, tears in her own eyes.
But my heart was filled with fire. “I knew it!” I shouted. “I knew he was a liar and a thief, a cheater—a bad, bad, boy! We should never have trusted him, never!”
Papa’s face was creased with sorrow. “Consuelo…” he murmured. I looked at him and shut up. Papa had cared about Sandro so much. My anger turned into tears and I ran to my room, Lucero following. I wept for the children and Papa and Mama, for all our hard work, for the fiesta turning into a mess…I think, in my heart of hearts, I even wept for Sandro. I didn’t know until that moment how I’d come to trust him these last few weeks.
“Consuelo…” It was Gabriella, standing in the door. “We will still have our fiesta. There is plenty of food, and the piñata. The children worked hard, they deserve their party.”
“But the money for them…” I began.
“Somehow, it will all work out, chica.” She stroked my hair and smiled at Lucero. “It always does. Have faith.”
“I don’t see how,” I said.
“That’s what faith is for, si?” replied Gabriella.
Then she went downstairs to help clean up the bakery with Carlos and my parents. I looked at Lucero for a moment, then we put on our sandals and followed her.