The visitation.

La Virgencita spoke to me today. It’s true. I had to tell somebody, and I know my husband B won’t believe me. Please don’t give me that look. It really happened, this morning, in my bedroom, as I was getting ready for my run.

My Virgencita medallion felt glued to the dresser when I tried to pick it up. I thought maybe B stuck the medallion to the dresser with something to mess with me. I tried to peel it off, and suddenly it glowed. No joke. I thought I was dreaming, maybe I hadn’t really gotten out of bed and was still sleeping. That’s when she spoke to me. Don’t laugh. This is very serious. La Virgencita said she’s tired of taking care of me. I know that’s her job as the Holy Mother. I went to Catholic school, remember? Here’s how it went down.

“Mi’ja,” she said. She’s the Holy Mother and can be that confiada, you know. “We need to talk.”

“Virgencita, is it really you?”

“Really Nancy, listen to yourself. Does that question make sense?”

I wanted to point out that religious medallions don’t glow and talk to me in the mornings, but being cheeky during a visitation by La Virgencita is likely a mortal sin. I’m sure she must have the power to read my mind, so I’ve been destined for hell long before today.

“I’m sorry, Virgencita. Um, thank you for visiting? It’s an honor, right? I mean, it must be important if you want to tell me something in person.”

“Yes mi’jita, it is very important, and probably not what you want to hear, but you have to listen very carefully.”

I nodded, waited and heard nothing. Her lips didn’t seem to move, but I wasn’t sure because the medallion is about the size of a quarter so it was hard to see those teeny tiny lips. I leaned closer, then almost fell back on my ass because she appeared in the mirror. Yes, it was her. Like I don’t know what I look like? It wasn’t me wearing a veil and flowing robes with rays of light behind me.  Stop laughing or you’ll miss what I’m about to tell you. La Virgencita quit on me and that’s not funny.

She said I never let her rest. I get out of bed at the crack of dawn to go running and she needs to keep a constant eye on me. In the city, she has to guard me when I cross the six-lane boulevard or I trespass through construction zones or startle drug dealers and buyers in that alley way I use as a short cut.

“Why can’t you just do laps around the track?” she asked. “It’s safer, and the surface is easier on your knees. You’re not getting younger, you know.”

“Hey! I’m not doing bad for my age. And the track is boring.”

That’s when she said my morning runs alone drain her energy and patience. The extra guardian angels assigned to watch over me gave up last week, and I pushed Saint Sebastian’s endurance beyond its limits. La Virgencita couldn’t dedicate so much time to just me, so I was on my own.

“Mira Virgencita, no disrespect, but maybe you wouldn’t have to quit me if you managed your time better. I mean, the time you waste appearing on a grilled cheese sandwich or a tree trunk in West New York could be spent taking care of me.”

The mirror darkened and I had no problem seeing La Virgencita’s frown. I apologized real fast.

“And Nancy, you don’t appreciate me when I am with you.”

“Virgencita, how can you say that? The medallion is with me at all times.”

“I know. I’m with you on every morning run, either stuck in your sports bra or, worse, the inner pocket of your running shorts.”

“It’s that bad?” I asked.

“Si mi’ja. What is it that you and your friend call it?”

“You mean swamp ass?”

“Exactly. Swamp ass. Every morning.”

She had a point. That was no way to treat the Blessed Mother, but the thought of leaving the house without her scared me. I asked her to reconsider. I promised to be more considerate and treat her better, but she was firm in her decision. I cried. That’s right, I did. I looked at her in the mirror and she was so beautiful. I told her I was willing to beg her never to leave me.

“Ay mi’jita, you’re a smart girl. Too smart to rely so much on a piece of metal with my image. You know you can leave the medallion at home, and never really be alone.”

And she smiled like she believed in me. ¿Te imaginas eso? La Virgencita looked at me like she had faith in me. I began to feel calmer, and she said she had to go.

“Will I ever see you again, Virgencita?” I asked as her image faded in the mirror.

“I’m always around if you look carefully. You know, grilled cheese sandwiches and tree bark.”

She winked before she disappeared completely. Then it was just me in the mirror, with my bed head, puffy eyes and running tank and shorts. The medallion came off the dresser when I picked it up. I took another look at myself, patted down my hair, put the medallion in a drawer, and left for my morning run.

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