Tears in Taos 1

April 14, 2016  |  Fantasy  |  Share

Ramon Valdez was known as a very proud man. His ancestors had come from minor sons of noble Spanish houses; one of them had ridden north with Juan de Onate in the 1690s and settled near Bernalillo. In the 1780s, the second son of the de Valdez family moved north and accepted a land grant in the Taos valley. He was Ramon’s great-great-grandfather. Ramon lived still in the fine manor house on the edge of the town of Taos.

He possessed wealth, this man who owned valuable land and buildings. His stable bred Arabian horses for sale to those with deep pockets. When it came time for marriage, his choice had been a dynastic one. Maria Santiago could trace her pedigree back to the 1700s, and a wealthy family settled north of Santa Fe. It didn’t hurt that she was a handsome woman as well.

Unfortunately, she suffered from an unexpected heart ailment that cut short her life in her mid- 30s; she left behind two sturdy children, Pedro and Constancia. Pedro followed his father to college in Colorado, where he was known as Peter. At present after graduation, he was clerking for a law firm in Colorado Springs. Tall and exceptionally good-looking, he made his father proud. Little did Ramon know, however, that his son might not have the same expectations of life as his father planned for him.

Young Connie was a severe trial to her widower father. She was surpassingly beautiful and equally willful. By the time she was in junior high school, Ramon placed a strict curfew on his daughter, and turned away those young men who persisted in ringing the doorbell to see Connie. She soon learned to invent wild stratagems to gain a few hours freedom here and there. In senior high school, her nickname was “Princess” since her father guarded her so zealously.

Ramon unbent enough to have a few friends. His favorite was a man who was ten years his junior. Patricio also came from an old New Mexican family; his father had been successful enough to become a fine artist whose paintings sold international galleries for high prices. Patricio worked in his father’s gallery just off the Tao Plaza; he also managed several other properties, including a fashionable hotel.

Over the last couple of years, Ramon had decided that his Connie would make a good wife for Patricio. He did not speak of this to either party, but indulged his fantasies as he lingered over his evening drink. Twice a week, he would drop into a popular local bar and meet Patricio and a few others for cocktails. Ramon enjoyed this fellowship.

Connie was in her senior year and busily planning to discover what college would take her the farthest away from Taos and her strict father. One March, her guidance counselor prevailed upon her to discuss her college choices with Ramon. While Connie was a good student, she was not scholarship material. Some of the colleges she wanted to apply to were expensive. Mr. Ridley urged her to open a dialog with her father. The girl left his office filled with anticipation, though. Mr. Ridley and others had spoken of the freedoms a college student gained.

(Continued next week)

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