A going away gift of sorts...
Kara, here's the story we started at La Cumbré yesterday when we couldn't hear the telenova on the TV above our table.
See, Maria the nun wasn't always a nun and that child she's holding... that's no orphan...
Maria was a teenage runaway. She left the small town where she grew up when her father forbid her from seeing her true love, Pablo, a boy who lived in the neighboring town.
Pablo's father, Eduardo, worked for Maria's father on his ranch. One day, Pablo came to work with his father and saw Maria washing clothes in the courtyard. Maria's long, lustrous dark hair was getting wet and soapy as she scrubbed skirts in the laundry tub. Pablo was stunned by her beauty and immediately fell in love with her.
Pablo began coming to the ranch every day to see Maria. She would make him lunch and meet him in the hay loft where they could be alone. Maria fell deeply in love with the kind, gentle Pablo and agreed to marry him later that summer.
Maria's father, Don Julio, was a powerful man. He ran a prosperous cattle ranch and owned most of the town's land. When he saw Pablo and Maria together in the stables one day, he fired Eduardo and threatened to kill Pablo (a servant in his eyes). He told Maria he would send her away to Convent of La Purisima Concepcion of San Miguel el Grande.
Heartbroken, Maria made a plan to run away to El Paso and pleaded with Pablo to come with her. Pablo was torn - going with Maria would mean his father would be alone. El Paso was too far for Eduardo to move and he would not give his blessing to a marriage borne from scandal. Pablo stayed with his father and vowed to help support him. Maria left Santa Lucia and vowed never to return.
Once in El Paso, Maria worked odd jobs in restaurants and motels and tried to forget about Pablo and the beautiful life she imagined they'd have together. She grew sadder by the day and soon became bitter. What her father did was horrible but Pablo abandoning her was much worse. She would never trust a man ever again. She wanted some sort of revenge, to torture men, to make them want her but never be able to have her.
Maria quit her menial jobs and became a stripper at Los Cha Chas, El Paso's premier gentlemen's club. Within a week she became Los Cha Chas #1 performer, earning hundreds of dollars in tips every night. It didn't take long for Maria to have dozens of regular customers requesting a Champagne Cha Cha in the VIP room. She could earn thousands of dollars a week working the VIP room, emptying the wallets of the hollow, heartless men who abandoned their wives and girlfriends to watch her take it all off and show them what they could never have.
Over the years, as Maria's fame grew, men from far & wide began coming to Los Cha Chas to watch her dance. One night, a devilishly handsome stranger came to watch her show. After Maria's performance on stage, the stranger requested a Champagne Cha Cha. He said his name was Pedro. Maria felt instantly drawn to him and realized she may not be able to provide a strictly professional Cha Cha.
Once alone with Maria, Pedro offered her $1000 for much more than a private dance. She readily agreed and took his money. She sold herself to him completely and later spent the night with him in his motel room. When she awoke the next morning, Pedro was gone. He'd left another $1000 on the night table with "gracias" written on one of the bills.
Maria felt empty and ashamed. Once again she was alone and abandoned. The inner sadness she'd carried for so long was even greater. What had she become? Who was this person who would sleep with men for money? She wasn't torturing men - she was only torturing herself.
She returned to Los Cha Chas the next day and told the manager she had to quit, that she wanted to return to Santa Lucia and try to make amends with her father and reunite with Pablo. The manager refused to let her go and threatened to call immigration and have her incarcerated.
Despondent and defeated, Maria danced on stage and gave Champagne Cha Chas in the VIP room, but she felt forever changed. She no longer danced with a spring in her step and a sparkle in her eye. She had to find a way home, back to the person she once was.
A week after her sad tryst with Pedro, another handsome stranger came to the club, but he wasn't just a stranger - he was a priest. The priest walked directly to the bar and asked to see a dancer named Maria. The bartender went backstage and brought Maria out to the bar. As soon as she saw him, she knew - it was Pablo!
DUN DUN DUNNNN!!!
Tune in next time for Episode 412... (no kidding - it keeps going - it's getting ridiculously long - so, remember, you asked for it!)