Bed Time Story
(excerpt)
by: L. Garcia
I quietly laid myself onto the floor of my parent’s bedroom.  I was the only child out of five that didn’t have
their own room to sleep in.  Each night, my mother would spread out three large blankets on the floor next to
my parent’s bed where I would lay for the remainder of the night.  Throughout each night, my parent’s
bedroom was always veiled in darkness except for the alarm clocks red illuminating glow blinking every two
seconds.  The red light would always cast shadows onto the walls covered with my father’s collection of
stuffed deer heads.  

On most nights, my six-year old imagination would make the deer move.  Sometimes they would even stare at
me with their dark marble eyes…

But not tonight…

This night, there was something else in this black room watching me.  The red light continued to blink off and
on, revealing the statues of my mother’s saints on her dresser top.  Jesus, crucified, with his hands and feet
dripping with dark red blood, would repeatedly appear and disappear aside the large ceramic sculptures of Saint
Jude, Santo Nino, and the Virgin Mary, who held the small figure of a baby Jesus on her lap.  Of course, the
baby Jesus was headless due to some accident that had broken the figurine sometime before, with the severed
head remaining at the foot of the statue with traces of glue drops at the neck that never quite kept the figure
together.

I pulled the covers up to my bottom eyelids while my mother’s bedtime story replayed in my head over and
over.  

*  *  *

Earlier this night, my mother was spreading the blankets on the floor for my bed when she noticed me staring
at her religious figurines.

“Do you like them?” she asked.  I slowly shook my head.  

“Why do you keep them in here, mom?” I asked.  

Disappointment crossed her face due to my lack of religious faith in ceramic.  “They watch over us, protecting
our home,” she responded.

Growing up, I was never forced to attend mass and my mother never made me participate in any religious
ceremonies or superstitions that she had believed in.  As a matter of fact, she never really spoke much about
anything religious to me.  Until this night, my only exposure to religious practices were when I would watch
The Exorcist and simultaneously act out the dialogue with the actors,

“The power of Christ compels you.  The power of Christ compels you.”

She must have decided to take my schooling into her own hands to witness how much I would be interested in
learning more about the saints on the dresser.  It was then that she said, “Saints listen to our prayers and try to
deliver what it is we ask them for when God is busy with bigger problems around the world.”  There was a
pause in the room as I stood by my bed of blankets and watched her face express hesitation before she started
again.

“Have I ever told you about Santo Nino de Atocha?” she asked.  I shook my head, “Who’s that?”  She
motioned for me to sit on her bed.  As I got comfortable, she took one of the smaller statues from the dresser
and sat down beside me.

“Santo Nino is a young child,” she began, holding the statue up so that I can see of which figure she held.  “A
saint, one of my favorites… And he protects those who pray to him from danger.  Back in Mexico, travelers
who were lost and walking through the desert would fall from dehydration.”  She paused.  “That’s when you
haven’t had any water to drink,” she explained.

“They would later return to their families telling the story of how a young baby wearing sandals and a large hat
had found them in the desert and gave them water from a drinking gourd that was carried on a staff.  The
water would give them the strength they needed to continue walking until they would finally find the city again.  
The stories were heard all over but nobody was ever able to find the child that helped all these people.

“Well, one day a man got lost in the desert and was close to dying when he saw the same child, walking
towards him with water.  



(This story has been altered from it's original version.
The full version will be found in an upcoming literature collection by M.F.R...

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