â€œConchita.â€ Her mother called from inside the apartment and walked out onto the balcony. â€œI found something.â€ Mom held up the God Box Dad had given Conchita 10 years before. â€œRemember this.â€
Conchita had given it back to Dad several years ago. She had felt he needed it more than she did.
Maria handed it to her. â€œHe wanted you to have it back.â€ They walked back inside the apartment. Conchita took the box and retreated into her room.
She opened the box. The box was full of small slips of paper. Some were doubled; others folded in a wad. Some were torn and had ripped edges; others neatly snipped. There were a few yellow slips, a few were thick note card pieces, but most were written on white, notebook paper.
First, she opened the yellow one. The note was written in cursive in red ink: Please keep Conchita happy.
Then she opened the second, written on a note card. The writing was small in barely legible print: Please donâ€™t let Conchita be like me.
She felt the sting of the sentiment, her eyes filling with tears. She wasnâ€™t sure if she could keep on reading. She wiped her tears with her hand, her nose stinging with emotion. She was determined to continue. She opened another note.
Donâ€™t let Conchita suffer . . . Give me the strength to provide for Conchita.
She dumped the rest of the notes onto her bed and opened them one by one. All the notes were about her. She knew Dad cared, but the notes reminded her just how much. She put the notes back inside the box and closed it. Hope was still inside.