I had one brother and three sisters, but memories of the early years consist mostly of my brother’s mischief, also known as Mariberto’s adventures.
It would take a book to list them all, but this one still makes me smile. I call it the mask of Zorro.
I can smile now as I smiled then because I was not directly implicated. Translation; I didn’t get punished for it.
Was the culprit the movie or a comic book? Can’t remember. Whatever it was, my brother decided he would be Zorro. No particular reason as it wasn’t Carnevale and of course, back then we didn’t know about Halloween. Before the birth of the sisters, the two of us we spent a lot of time unsupervised while our parents were at work. Remember, we come from a very small town where everybody knows your name and a lot more too.
I was quietly playing with my doll and noticed my brother running around the apartment searching drawers, closets, even opening an old beat up suitcase.
Me, “What are you looking for?” Concerned about his habit of having spiders as pets.
Brother, “Nothing.” Keeps opening and closing stuff.
This went on for a while and then the whole place went silent. Oh, oh! Time went by, that was time without phones, television and I was too young to know how to read.
I was sitting on the floor changing the doll’s clothes when this..scarry black monster jumped in front of me. I screamed and started to shake until my stupid brother, satisfied with the results of his impromptu introduction started to laugh and I reacted by hitting his legs with my doll.
“I look like Zorro, don’t I? Fooled you, didn’t I?” He was acting like a proud peacock.
Now that I was reassured no one was going to hurt me, I looked at him with sisterly eyes. Pretty clever, believe me. He used one of my mother’s skirts (looking back it could have been a maternity garment) as a cape. The hat was an easy feat; everyone wore hats back then, especially during the winter months. But the mask. As Americans say, icing on the cake. It looked—like the real thing. I wanted to touch it, so he obliged, scooted down for me and let me rub my hands on it. It felt soft and fuzzy, like peach skin, and it was black, of course.
Me, “Wow, where did you get it?”
Brother, “I made it myself.”
After that he found a broomstick to use as a sword and feeling invincible, he left me there and went to the playground downstairs to impress his friends.
Even my parents were impressed by the creativity and resourcefulness of the young boy, until…my mother found her scissors at the bottom of her closet, next to what was left of the black velvet hat she wore on her wedding day.