A Fear and a Dream
A Story of Inspiration and Determination
((Regional Swimming Champion) (in five parts))
A Story based on actual events, using the persons real name…
The Post Office
(The Winter of 2002)
(Winter of 2002, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) Those who saw her descend from the large U. S. Mail Truck off 4th Street, in the inner-city down by the Mississippi trabajo River, on the chilly morning of December 22, saw a short woman (four-foot eleven inches tall), a little stiff from the cold, with a bronze Peruvian face, and a cute smile that stretch from each corner of her mouth, and almost pure dark-brown hair, that looked to be more black, than dark-brown.
“A determined little driver,” someone said, out of the group standing outside the post office, eating their lunch, smoking cigarettes. They were remarking about her size and determination to drive a big truck, that usually only men drove, she was a post office carrier, only having learned how to drive a year earlier, at the ripe old age of forty-three years old. The men that had never saw her before-this being her first month driving-thought there was something inaccurate with their eyes; because of so many people, men and women too, in the state of Minnesota driving mail trucks. So they watched her go on about her business, with a grunt, strained eyes, yet purposeful as she vanished into the large front seat of her truck, with one big pillow behind her to support her back, and push her forward a half foot, and another big pillow under her to bring her up to the steering wheel, and arranged the seat to allow her short feet to reach the gas pedal. And then they left to do their work, and perhaps thought about it little more, knowing they’d see her around. And that was all of that.
And those who saw this little beauty, in the post office a year after she drove those big trucks, saw her as one of the main tellers, a job that required six-years working at the post office-not one, plus, sharp skills in math and social skills dealing with the public, a job that needed a person to know two languages, but not a requirement (because she was one of the few, very few that filled that needed-prerequisite), and she’d move big bags of mail, dragging them here and there when not working as a teller, and in time a very short time, promoted, and receiving for reply, the workers glare she didn’t expect, but envy and jealousy, penetrates deep, especially in the indolent, but to those doing the glaring and complaining-the superiors put it to rest very quickly, put them into a second-class status, saying, her skills were far above theirs. That made things all right; victory had been accomplished twice, for this non American, in the breadbasket of America, who was working with a working permit, married to an American, had all her requirements fulfilled to be an American, and who (in the year of 2004) at the age of forty-five years old started a sport that would change her life-(that would take fear and replace it with a dream), she would be called secretly by many-during those days, “A late bloomer!”
A Journey to Minnesota
(January, 1998, to October, 2009)
For a good many years Rosa Peñaloza (her second last name would be added onto that, in 2000, making it Rosa Peñaloza de Siluk) had worked in Lima, Peru, at a telephone company-fifteen-years-to be exact, was a degreed accountant, and with all her spare time, was a devoted Catholic, working for her parish Church, free. Never married, taking care of five families ((at times her mother and father along with her sisters and brother-in-laws and their children, plus a maid with two kids, all living in her house, living under her roof, for several years, as she was the most steadily employed) (coming from a family of eight children)).
Her mother had told her-she was approaching middle-age and unmarried-something to ponder. The local parish priest wanted her to be a nun, something else to ponder. Outside her business and church hours, she made time for her nieces and nephews (who were potential under a hardship, and would have been under more of a hardship had she not taken them in under her wing)-she made their time a continual and lively childhood for each and everyone.
These are little fluttering tag-like ends of her personal history, which seems as I look back, are simply leaking out as I write, leading up to the present-which will be the championship.
Her own thinking, talks, things she can only remember, or had imagined, were never quite completely told to me by her (being her husband), thus, I have used fragments to catch up, or to bring up her life to the present day, fragments tossed in the air as by a wind and then abruptly dropped somewhere, someplace.
She was laughing heartily now, at her little successes, during those years. She had married in 2000, met her husband in 1999 (had been talked into taking a trip to America, Disneyland, by her mother, so she could enjoy life before she was put into her grave-and had been given a course in English, a birthday gift by her brother David, for whatever reasons, I never knew-had met him (her husband to be) at the airport in Atlanta, and that in itself is a story by itself) while he was on a trip to Peru. For this reason, she would leave Peru, to live with her future husband in Minnesota (prior to this they met in Guatemala to see the old ruins called Tikal for one week) and then they were married two weeks later; there was an element of sadness among her family, but also elation for her. Asked by a few of her friends “How can you take such a chance and marry a stranger, of sorts?” she replied, “Why would God give me a bad man?” And that was that.
She walked off the airplane, and walked onto the cold ground of Minnesota in February, of 2000, going forward a little unsteadily, life had not yet expressed itself fully for her, definitely in her mind, and for three of those six years she would live in Minnesota, she she’d roll about awkwardly.
At any rate, for her a second life had just begun. She would travel the world eleven-times; get her car license, a permit to carry a gun (an expert shot). She plunged again and again into the unknown, run her husband’s tenant apartment business, helped with the taxes, and did the maintenance on the six buildings they now owned together and sent money to Lima to keep up their home there, and had a crew of five men to include one woman, who rebelled against her being a female boss. “You wait,” her husband said, “I’ll talk to the employees (to include his daughter, and son-in-law);” and he approached all of them, said in his stern voice, “If you can’t work for my wife, you can’t work for me!” Thus, that settled the issue of equal rights.
Hang on now, and you’ll see now what happened.
Belly of the Camel
From time to time, her husband started to learn, his wife, Rosa was terrified of water (not bottled water, but swimming in particular, the ocean, lakes, rivers, pools, anyplace a person could drown.) When he had taken her to Rio de Janeiro, on the most famous beach in the world, Copa Cabana, and he was in, what might be considered, shallow water, perhaps up to his wife’s elbows, she panicked and started screaming and tried pulling him out of the water, as a great wave was forthcoming, one she didn’t see, but he saw. Once the wave struck, her husband ready for it, picked her up with his right arm, in a loop around her waist, dug his feet into the sand, in karate like stance-firm, and withstood the onslaught of the wave, had he not picked her up, she, and all her 110-pounds would have been gone out to sea.
He tried to laugh at the situation, but did not succeed very well; it was a serious thing for her.
(Now that I am writing of my wife, I perhaps am not making a comfortable likeness of her. It maybe I overdo, or under do the notes of her life, but it is as I see it, and saw it, I am unable to temperament, or characterize it in her own account, since I am writing this in secret, and without her advise as I have often got when doing my writings-thus leaving all bias out. For one thing, she can be more cleaver than I give her credit for, and I seem to be making her out, simpler.
On many evenings I have spent with her, she was silent, and perhaps a little dull-or I was a little dull, she’d fall to sleep quickly, and of all the movies we watched, let’s say 1000-in the years we were married, nine-years plus, she fell to sleep through 850 of them; and I’d read and write, and for many hours I did this, that’s why, she’d walk away awkwardly (if she was not sleeping, or knitting) alone and along, doing something to break this boredom (I being twelve-years her senior), she’d finally find other things to do; at times, catch a cab, go shopping, etc.
My life was very active, had been very active prior to me becoming her husband (up to my heart attack and stroke, in 1993-94, and acquiring my neurological disease MS, in 1996…) and for a spell it became less active, and then as I improved, it became more active again, but never as active as it had been-if that makes sense; especially while in my youth, now in Rosa’s later years she had become newly active…but nothing in the long run of our lives had been dull, or inactive for very long, to the contrary. I had found out, what perhaps she never knew, something she kept a harness on, a yoke around: she was locked in a bottle, and once opened, she was put into a large room-figuratively speaking-and it would be a hopeless affair to stop her now, it really was the summer of her life, life trickling down her back, there was nothing she couldn’t do, once she put her mind to it! And whatever she did, she did it well, and complete.)