So, many of you know about the Pixar movie, Coco, which is an absolutely beautiful story, and the music is amazing. If you haven't seen it yet, I defiantly recommend it. Anyway, I got this thought into my head, and wanted to give you all this short little one-shot about what if Héctor had sent a letter to his family as he died. I just love the relationship that Imelda and Héctor have, and the devotion he has for his little girl.
There are spoilers ahead, so if you haven't seen it, beware!
Please enjoy this short story!
Disclaimer: I only own Maria Lopez. Everything else belongs to Pixar.
Héctor groaned slightly at the pain in his stomach. He briefly had felt Ernesto take the guitar from his hands, and pick up his suitcase before walking away. Part of Héctor was grateful that his friend had not thought to search his pockets.
"¡Ay, Dios Mio! ¿Qué paso?" a woman cried, and Héctor opened his eyes blearily at the voice. He saw an older woman kneeling beside him, eyes filled with concern. "Señor Rivera! Are you well?" Héctor coughed.
"Perdon, señora, but I am not." He replied, and the woman helped him to his feet. She guided him into her home, and sat him by the fire. "Gracias, but I do not believe I will last very long." The woman took his hand, holding it gently.
"Are you certain? I can find a doctor." She said. "My name is Maria Lopez." Héctor smiled slightly.
"As much as I wish that were possible, Señora Lopez, I do not believe this was a bad batch of chorizo. I knew that tequila tasted malo." He said harshly.
"What would you like me to do, Señor Rivera?" Maria asked gently.
"Please, call me Héctor. Señor Rivera is my father-in-law. Do you happen to have pen and paper?" Héctor asked, coughing again, harder this time. He felt the pain beginning to spread. He slowly reached a hand into his jacket, grasping the small journal within. Maria stood, and walked off to a cabinet, returning with the requested items. "I am not strong enough, señora. Could you write a letter to my familia?" Maria nodded, and prepared herself.
I'm going to start off by saying perdón. Perdon para todo, mis amores. I never wanted to leave you. You are the greatest thing that has ever happened to this idiota estúpido. I never should have left you, and I should have listened to you, Imelda. You were right about everything; about the fame, the crowds, and about Ernesto. My heart breaks as I sit here. A kind woman by the name of Maria Lopez is writing what I say. Imelda, mi amada, if you are reading this aloud to our beautiful Coco, stop. I don't want her hearing this. Ernesto poisoned me. I was going to come home, I was prepared to catch the train, but he demanded to give me a toast. As soon as I tasted the tequila, I knew something was wrong. He told me it was the chorizo, but now I know. The man I once considered to be mi hermano has changed, and he has stolen my guitar and my songs. I want you both to know that I would never leave you on my own accord. You two are el mundo para mí. I was able to save something that Ernesto didn't steal, and I'm including it here. It is the original copy of all my songs, from when I began to write them. The copy Ernesto has is a double, a backup. I wish I would bring this book back to you both myself, but I don't think that will happen. I can feel myself drifting away. Imelda, mi amor y mi vida, I am so sorry that I am leaving you. I only ask that you raise our daughter to be as strong as you. I deserve your hatred, Imelda, and I hope that one day, you can forgive me. Coco, my princesa, know that your Papá loves you more than life itself.
Goodbye, my beautiful, strong girls, and never forget how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.
Todo mi amor para siempre,
Imelda sat in the courtyard of her home, smiling slightly at her daughter, who was being chased by her uncles around the courtyard. She relaxed in her chair, ignoring the pain in her chest, a pain that had been there since her husband had left.
"Imelda, hermana, how are you?" Oscar asked, approaching his sister. He sat beside her.
"I am well, hermano." Imelda replied firmly, and Oscar scoffed.
"Por favor. We know you better than that. You miss him." He stated, and Imelda flinched. "Don't deny it, Imelda."
"I do, but I don't know what else to feel. He hasn't sent any letters, and we've heard nothing but praise about Ernesto." Imelda snapped. Oscar sighed heavily, taking his sister's hand.
"Señora Rivera?" a woman asked, and the siblings looked up as an elderly woman stood by the open gate.
"Si?" Imelda said, standing firmly. Felipe picked up Coco, making her giggle.
"I have a letter for you, señora." The woman said. "My name is Maria Lopez. I have a letter from your husband." The woman held out a thin envelope, and Imelda took it, not noticing the sadness in the woman's eyes. The envelope felt heavy
"Papá sent una carta?" Coco asked excitedly, and Imelda couldn't help herself from smiling slightly as she opened the envelope. The first to slide out was a small journal, which Imelda set aside. She took out the letter from her husband, and began to read it. She would normally read through Héctor's letters before reading them to Coco, just to make sure they were appropriate. Imelda's happiness faded as she took in her husband's words, her eyes widening, and glistening with tears.
"Mamá? ¿Qué pasa?" Coco asked, and the letter slipped from Imelda's fingers, falling to the ground. Oscar picked it up, and read through it, his own eyes widening.
"I am truly sorry, señora." Maria said, sadly, and Imelda looked at her.
"Gracias, dona. You brought back the last piece of my husband." The woman said, keeping her voice from shaking. Felipe brought Coco to Imelda, and she took her daughter into her arms. "Mija, your papá isn't going to be able to come home." Imelda's heart clenched at the innocence in her daughter's eyes.
"Por qué?" Coco asked, squinting her eyes sweetly.
"Your papá was… hurt while he was making music. He went to the Land of the Dead, mi amor." Imelda said, wincing at her words, especially when they registered within the little girl. Coco's eyes welled with tears, and her bottom lip trembled. Imelda pulled her daughter close, and Coco began to cry, clinging to her mother. Felipe and Oscar sat on either side of their sister and niece, silently supporting them. Imelda felt tears slip down her face, and she bit her lip, allowing herself a moment of grief as she embraced her daughter.
"Imelda… his book." Felipe said gently, picking up the small journal. He opened it, revealing the lyrics and poems written within, every single one in Héctor's handwriting, and with a small sentence before, such as Para Imelda, or Coco's lullaby. Imelda looked through it, recognizing the lyrics of many of Ernesto's songs from the radio.
"That… ay, Dios, I'm going to kill him." Imelda said sharply, wiping her eyes. "Oscar, get me all the letters Héctor has written Coco and I. Felipe, get the photo of Héctor, Coco, and I, where he's holding his guitar and he's wearing his mariachi outfit." The brothers nodded, and walked off into the house. Imelda held Coco tighter, and looked at Maria, who was watching them silently. "Can you tell the police what happened when they get here?" The woman nodded firmly.
"He seemed like a very good man, Señora Rivera. I am truly sorry for your loss." Maria said, and Imelda stood.
"Thank you for helping him, Señora Lopez." She replied as her brothers reappeared with the requested items.
"I'll go call for the police." Oscar said, running off towards the main square. Imelda straightened herself, her eyes narrowing with determination.
"Ernesto De la Cruz will pay for this." She swore.
Fifty-Two Years Later
Imelda Rivera appeared in a strange room, with a strange feeling of peacefulness around her. She looked down at her hands, and her eyes widened when she only saw bone.
"Welcome to the Land of the Dead, señora!" a skeleton in front of her said. "Now, if I could just have your name, I will alert your family of your arrival." Imelda looked around, and took a breath.
"Imelda. Imelda Rivera." She said, and the skeleton smiled slightly.
"Ah. Un momento, Señora Rivera." He said, and picked up a telephone. "Please inform Señor Rivera that his wife has arrived in the Land of the Dead." Imelda's eyes widened even further.
"Héctor… he's here?" she asked in disbelief, and the skeleton nodded.
"Si, and he is on his way as we speak. Allow me to escort you to the waiting room." He said. Imelda followed him out of the small office into a larger room, where family members were greeting one another with laughter and tears.
"IMELDA!" a familiar voice shouted, and Imelda focused on the skeleton that sped up to her, pulling her into his arms and hugging her close. "Mi amor! Mi amada, mi vida, por favor, forgive me. Perdon, perdón, perdón." Imelda relaxed for the first time in years, wrapping her arms around her husband's neck. Even in death she recognized his voice and the feeling of his arms around her.
"Silencio, idiota. No es tu culpa." Imelda said firmly, resting against Héctor's shoulder. "It's the fault of that bastardo. He took you away from Coco and I." Imelda leaned back slightly, studying her husband whom she had not seen in fifty-two years. She reached up a hand and gently traced his cheekbone, smiling slightly at the unruly black hair that fell over his forehead. His eyes shone with kindness and love, and he was smiling lovingly down at her.
"I should have listened to you, mi corazón. If I had only stayed with you and Coco, I wouldn't have died." Héctor replied, taking one of her hands in his.
"Si, that is true. However, I do not blame you, mi amor. We both know how persuasive Ernesto can be. I am beyond happy to see you, Héctor. I have missed you more than anything." Imelda said, and Hector's small smile turned into a large, goofy grin as he leaned down and kissed his wife. She smiled along with him, and when they broke apart, Imelda felt as happy as the day she had been married.
"Let's go home, and you can tell me what exactly you did." Héctor said, and held his wife's hand tightly as he led her out of the large room, and into the streets.
"After Señora Lopez delivered your letter, Oscar and Felipe got the police, along with your letters to Coco and I, and the picture of the three of us and your guitar, and we told them what happened. Senora Lopez told them how you passed away in her home, and the police contacted the authorities near De la Cruz, who searched his own room and found your guitar and second songbook, and they arrested him on the spot. He was given a life sentence for your murder, and I made sure that you were known as the writer and original composer of all his songs." Imelda explained, and Héctor looked at her in awe. "That picture of the three of us is on the ofrenda, and Coco, Felipe, Oscar and I have been passing down the stories to Coco's daughters, Elena and Victoria. Elena's just had a little boy named Enrique, and Coco's husband is a very sweet man named Julio, and Elena's husband is named Franco." Héctor drank in his wife's words, and Imelda was more than happy to fill her husband in on everything he had missed.
Forty-Four Years Later
Years later, when Coco was old, and unable to walk, years after her husband had passed away. Years after her twin uncles, her mother, and her eldest daughter had passed away, Coco's great-grandson sat before her and asked her gently for the story of her papá and mamá. Coco's voice was fading, as was her memory, but Miguel's constant prodding kept the memories fresh, even though Héctor lived on through the movies and books he had inspired, and the songs he had written, and the stories passed down from Mamá Imelda and her brothers. Miguel adored every story his great-grandmother told him, and aspired to, one day, be just like his Papá Héctor. While his family didn't completely understand his adoration for his ancestor (they all were perfectly fine in their shoe business, a business that had been thriving for nearly ninety-six years), they encouraged the boy in his love. Miguel sat beside Coco one day, and he looked at the pictures on the ofrenda.
"Mamá Coco, who's that woman?" he asked, pointing to a picture near Tio Oscar and Tio Felipe. The old woman straightened slightly, looking at the picture. She smiled slightly.
"That is Tía Maria. She is the one who brought Papá's cartas to Mamá and I." Coco said, smiling fondly. "After bringing them, she stayed at Mamá's insistence, and became part of the family. I remember sitting in her lap, watching Mamá make shoes as Tio Felipe y Tio Oscar joked around." Miguel gazed at the ofrenda in awe at all the people on it. Bells chimed from outside, and He jumped to his feet, grabbing the handles of Coco's wheelchair.
"Vamanos, Mamá Coco! It's time!" he said excitedly. He gently wheeled Coco outside, and picked up the guitar beside the house. He held the white guitar reverently, and strummed it lightly.
"Go, Miguel!" Rosa said, grinning. Miguel grinned back at her and began to play the guitar. Coco watched as her great-grandson performed, looking so much like her papá. She looked around at her family, and sighed happily. She hoped that her papá could see everything. She wanted him to see how happy they were, and how much he had impacted their lives.
"Te quiero, Papá." Coco said softly, and felt a breeze gently blow by. She looked back to Miguel, and her small smile grew as she saw the happy boy. Unknown to the living, their family was with them. Héctor danced with Imelda as Victoria and Rosita talked near Elena, and Oscar and Felipe listened in on Abel's conversation with his father and uncle. Julio stood beside his elderly wife, his hand on top of hers as he watched Miguel with her. The skeletons all had a golden glow to them, and they all knew it was nearly Coco's time. Her parents walked over to her, and stood behind her.
"We will see you soon, mi amor. Then I will spend that time spoiling you as I should have years ago." Héctor said gently, bending to press a kiss on his daughter's hair, and Imelda put her arm around his waist, leaning into him. Héctor smiled, and rested his chin on his wife's head, holding her close. As Miguel began to play Coco's lullaby, Imelda let out a sigh of happiness.
"Remember me, though I have to say goodbye." Imelda sang softly, making Héctor look down at her lovingly.
"Remember me, don't let it make you cry." He continued, and Imelda smiled.
"For even if I'm far away, I hold you in my heart. I sing a secret song to you each night we are apart." They sang together, and Héctor pressed his forehead against his wife's, drinking in the happiness and love around him.
"Gracias, mi amada." He whispered, pressing a kiss to her forehead.
"Feliz Dia de los Muertos, mi amor." Imelda replied, just as softly, and the couple turned, content to watch their family celebrate together, whole and happy.
I know it's cheesy, but please let me know what you thought!
And don't worry- I'm currently working on a new chapter for Two Worlds, One Family, so I should be getting that up soon!
See you soon, skeletons and musicians!
Though I have to travel far
Each time you hear a sad guitar
Know that I'm with you
The only way that I can be
Until you're in my arms again