In honor of the last days of that vacation you didn't take this summer, we serialized Guillermo Fadanelli's "Holy Week Vacation" from Issue 16 on our Twitter feed with the hashtag #holyweek. In case you missed it, here it is in full. Translated by Joel Streicker. Photograph by David Konopka.
Vacation has begun. My family, used to settling for very little, is feverishly excited. My sister bought a run-of-the-mill bathing suit at García Department Store: twenty pesos and her menstrual stains can be seen on both sides of the material. My brother stuck a bottle of Búfalo sauce in his suitcase, the thick coconut oil, not the red, spicy sauce. On the long road from the city to the beach the oil spilled and his bathing suit absorbed the liquid, stiffening like cardboard. My father has a bulging belly, like a gigantic mamey seed that never stops growing. Several times I have been witness to the disdain with which women look at him when he strolls along the beach dressed in just his swim trunks.
Before we left he fixed up his old car. He bought tires and changed some engine parts; he had bought it two months earlier at an auction, utilizing his savings as a bureaucrat in the ISSSTE: he had never had a car before. The car broke down on the highway on two occasions, but he never lost the hope of getting to Acapulco, nor his enthusiasm; he smiled as if nothing had happened. Really, he wanted to hide his anxiety from us: he would not let such a silly little thing ruin our vacation. On the way there he turned on the radio and stuttered out the words to the songs, hardly opening his mouth; all the songs spoke of love, betrayals, and sorrow. My mother had no will, she went along in the front seat like an old mannequin; she had placed on the rearview mirror the image of a saint of her devotion who, according to her, had worked miracles for us. She had never been happy. Her blouse sported tiny bleach stains and her hands, smelling of cheap cream, stroked us from time to time, as if she suddenly remembered that her three children were traveling piled up in the back of the car.
We rented a forty-peso room with a big bed that took up most of the space and a pair of cots pushed up against the wall; a cockroach came out of the orifice where the cables for the overhead light also emerged and walked across the ceiling slowly, stopping at the edge of a big stain of dampness and then continuing on its way. To save as much money as possible, my mother went to the market in the port to buy provisions, and so we ate inside the hotel; afterward, for the rest of the day, the room smelled of avocado and tortilla.
The sea was dirty, the waves dragged in paper plates, beer bottles, and other miseries; on the sand my father invented some stupid game but only my sister consented to play with him. She did not do it because it was fun but rather to show off her buttocks to the other bathers. I'm poor, but I'm hot, that is the philosophy of all the teenage girls who live in the neighborhoods of Moctezuma or Portales. When my father got aroused watching one of those girls, he would invent some pretext, take my mother by the arm, and return to the hotel. When we, the three children, returned, the room smelled not only of avocado and tortilla but of other unpleasant odors. Moreover, the damp sheet impregnated the mattress, making visible an infinity of small rust stains.
We were only there for three days because our money ran out, with only the exact amount left for a tank of gas. At home everything will return to normal, classes will begin again on Monday: my brother will be like my father and my sister will have a life similar to my mother's. I, as soon as I can, will clear out of here.