Though the candles our mom always kept lit in the living room had him all wrong. Jesus was brown. Jesus could eat fifteen tortillas when hungry, and ten when not as hungry. Jesus mowed lawns, trimmed hedges, planted hydrangeas and tulips in the large backyards of the rich folk out in West (White) Omaha. Jesus hadn’t seen his mom in over two decades. Jesus had a thick pornstache and a rug of black hair on his chest to match. Jesus’ lucky lotería playing board was the sixth one. Jesus’ English was the kind that caught looks in white neighborhoods. Jesus could listen to Joan Sebastian for a month nonstop, and then another month and enjoy his music just as much, if not more, as the first month. Jesus finished whatever food we didn’t finish. Jesus’ favorite curse word was ay chingado. Jesus always asked for mojarras fritas at Mexican restaurants. Jesus asked even when he knew they didn’t sell mojarras. Jesus wept when Joan Sebastian died in 2015. Jesus had once been a gambler. Jesus gifted our mom roses for every occasion—Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s, Labor Day, her birthday, New Year’s, Mother’s Day, Saint Patrick’s, July 4th, September 16th, Mother’s Day again if it fell on a separate day in México, their anniversary, our birthdays which, he said, were the same as a third and fourth Mother’s Day. Jesus had walked all of Omaha and Los Angeles before he had a car. Jesus was illegal. Jesus called America home, nonetheless. Jesus wept when Leti and Fernando from La Fea Más Bella finally married. Jesus loved salsa verde, but only in small amounts. Jesus’ drawn horses looked like mutant dog-giraffe-rhino somethings. Jesus didn’t believe anyone could play James Bond better than Daniel Craig. Jesus was bald, his scalp as white as heaven. Jesus loved Westerns. Jesus called his mom every day. Jesus died in a fire and our mom wept only once. Jesus wouldn’t have wanted more than that. Jesus loved to zapatear. Jesus had been an alcoholic until a doctor told him mixing it with levothyroxine would fuck him up. Jesus loved the color green. Jesus’ first big purchase after he crossed was a car–it was rusted, it was falling apart, but it ran and he felt free. Jesus always said you learn best from losing. Jesus thought v was a fancy way of writing b. Jesus’ laugh broke through walls. Jesus always dreamt of himself as cowboy, on the back of a horse he’d name Norte, not because of El Norte or crossing over, but because he was a dreamer. And that’s how he appeared to us the night before his passing—looking all cowboy with the botas, the leather chaps, the sombrero, and the sun rising behind him.
We Hadn’t Believed In Jesus Until Our Mom Brought Him Home
Art by Wonderlane