I have tried very hard to have faith, as Gabriella said. I have prayed every night to not be angry or think bad thoughts about those boys and Sandro. I have tried to love Papa more than ever to make up for his disappointment.
The evening of the fiesta was warm and clear, and the courtyard looked beautiful. Candles shone from every table and the setting sun glittered through the paper flowers and stars tied to the tree. The children came almost too early, so eager to have a party. I noticed that many of them had washed their hands and faces, even though their clothes were starting to get dirty again. My favorites were the smallest girls, like Rosalba, whose eyes grew big at all the decorations.
Papa turned on the radio and mariachi music blared out, making us all feel like dancing. My yellow skirt twirled and swirled whenever I spun around, and the jewels on my dress flashed. Gabriella had pulled my hair back into a bun and decorated it with the yellow flower, so I felt very grown up, just like a real folklórico dancer!
We served the food on red and yellow plates, with big glasses of milk. Mama had saved some of the pastries and rolls made by the children themselves, and brought them out proudly on her best tray.
“I want you to try these, too, for they are very especial and muy delicioso!” she said, laughing. “They were made by some of Mexico City’s best bakers!” Everyone laughed and clapped and ate them—along with the enchiladas and chicken sopa and yellow rice. So many good things to eat!
Afterwards, we lined up the kids from smallest to tallest, blindfolding each one and turning them until they were dizzy, then giving each of them a chance to hit the piñata a few times. When we reached the last child, the piñata was a sorry mess! But Roberto was tall and strong and on his third swing of the stick, the piñata burst open and the sweets went everywhere! Children screamed and laughed as they scrambled for the candies.
When it grew dark, we put away the tables and laid out as many blankets and pads as we could. Like that terrible night when we brought the children in from the rooftops, they lay down and went to sleep without fear. This time, they were fatter, happier, and cleaner. But my heart was still hurting at the thought of their money being stolen by Sandro and those boys.
“We didn’t tell them what happened,” I said to Papa.
He shook his head. “Why spoil their fiesta? There is time to tell them later.”