Miniature Basket

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Object No. 34 of 50 — Significant Objects v2

[The auction for this item, with story by Rodrigo Chávez, has ended. Original price: 50 cents. Final price: $20.50. Significant Objects will donate the proceeds of this auction to 826 National.]

We were almost home from the doctor’s office. “I’d better call my parents to let them know,” I told Laura. “I don’t want to talk to anyone once we get home.” My dad answered. “Hey, dad, we just got back from the ultrasound. They couldn’t find a heartbeat. They’re going to run some tests, but it seems pretty certain the pregnancy didn’t work out.”

He didn’t take the news well. “What… did you do?!” Bear in mind that I am 6’2” with a 57-inch chest. I am, by volume, the World’s Largest Mexican. Sure, it’s a title I invented and bestowed upon myself, but I take it seriously. My people are a rock. With a smile on our face we accept the fact that our existence is a difficult one. Yet I could barely hold back the tears my eyes tried to pour out when my father said that. I choked them back, where they turned sour, burning the bottom half of my eyes like I had used lime juice for eye drops. “I didn’t do anything,” I said first through clenched teeth. “The doctors say this happens sometimes. It happens even when you do everything right.”

Once home Laura went straight for the couch. I covered her up and went upstairs. To Emma’s nursery. I was so angry I didn’t know what to do with myself. My blood pressure spiked, or maybe it dropped or maybe it was the smell of the still wet paint — I’m no doctor, OK? Whatever happened, the room started spinning, and down I went.

The room was empty except for a pair of baby booties we had tossed onto the floor, one of the little hand-me-down gifts from family for Emma. And we love hand-me-downs. I just got a nice easychair from Humberto last week. Yeah, it needs a little shoring up, but it’s supremely comfortable. Next week I’m getting a cozy couch from Veronica. What’s a family without hand-me-downs?

I had been lying there staring at Emma’s ceiling for hours without moving when Laura came in with an ugly little basket. “Ugh, what is it with you and baskets? When did you buy that? […] Six months ago? How is it that I never see anything new in this house until it’s too late too return it?” She laughed.

The basket was for Emma’s booties, but it wouldn’t sit idly in the closet forever. Itzel used that basket long after she had outgrown what were supposed to be her older sister’s booties. She would toss the shoes out and put the basket on her head — which always got a goofy laugh out of her. And she learned to put the shoes back when she was done playing, then drag the little basket back to its place in her room. Next to her crib, under the big hibiscus flower I painted on the wall for Emma. What’s a family without hand-me-downs?


Rodrigo Chávez lives with his wife and daughter in El Centro, California.

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