My novel, Way of the Serpent, includes a scene in which my youthful 111-year-old heroine spends the Day of the Dead in San Miguel de Allende, where she is enjoying her ninth ten-year sabbatical. It is the year 2125… I thought it would be fun to share this passage with you today!
Jenda awoke the next morning with a sense of dread. Did she really want to get into all of this? Luis anticipated such a state of mind. He put his arm across Jenda’s body and pulled her closer. “Let’s not work today,” he said. “Let’s just close the gallery and go for a walk and let you recover some more. It’s a good day for a walk – it’s a holiday in some of the old neighborhoods and we can enjoy the fun.”
Jenda was relieved. “What holiday? What day is today anyway?” She had lost track.
“It’s the first of November – el Dia de los Muertos!” Luis announced.
“Well, that doesn’t sound like much fun. Dead people day?” Jenda pulled the covers back up around her chin and stared at Luis, who was laughing. She glared at him.
“Sorry, mi amor. I guess it’s not a very important holiday in your culture.” He shrugged. “Not even very important in mine anymore, but some of the people still enjoy it.” And he explained that it was a day when people honored their ancestors – the deceased ones. Of course, not so long ago, almost all of one’s ancestors were deceased.
“Not like today, when you can just go visit your grandparents at their apartment instead of at the cemetery. Even your great-great-grandparents if you happen to be Gen4! Much nicer today,” Jenda said. She was still scowling. “Nobody goes to cemeteries anymore.”
“Well, some of these people do,” Luis explained. “Most of them don’t, though. For most people it has just become a day to get together with family and friends and enjoy music and dancing and good food and sweet cakes shaped like little skulls.”
“Ewww!” Jenda hid her face in the pillow. “You’re just trying to make me sick again!”
“No, no! I promise you, querida! They are delicious cakes and the skulls don’t look realistic at all. They look more like… like little clown faces.”
“Luis!! You know I hate clowns!” Jenda moaned.
Luis was laughing again. He knew. “Oh, come on. Just get over yourself and come along and see if you can have some fun doing some of the crazy things your crazy boyfriend’s crazy people do!”
He got up and held out his hand. His smile was that warm, engaging, big-as-the-world smile that had attracted Jenda to him from the outset. Jenda playfully held back for a moment, then grasped his hand firmly, raised herself slowly from the bed and, in her best deadpan voice, said, “Okay then. Let’s go play with your crazy dead people!”