"Here, let's try it this way." Louise tucked the icing bag into the
base of the cake and gave it a squeeze. She selected a silk flower and carefully
positioned it into the new icing well. "There, now it looks more balanced."
"Niña is not going to like it that you are messing with her cake
after she's already given it her approval," Julia said, as she took away
the remaining flowers and stored them away in a cupboard. "It's all very
exact, you know. The flowers, the music, the colors, the cake
"Niña is not going to know unless someone tells her now, is she?"
Louise said as she disassembled the icing bag. She put her arm around Julia's
shoulder conspiratorially. "Well, is she?"
"Is who going to know what? I know nothing," Julia said, turning
her head away and holding her hands up in guarded fashion, à la Sergeant
Schultz. The thick Ecuadorian accent of her homeland masked the intended German
accent she tried to mimic, however, creating a comic effect that made Louise
Ellie joined them in the kitchen of Julia's home. "What don't you know?"
"Well, there may be one or two things I don't know," laughed Julia.
"But to answer your question, so that I'm not the only co-conspirator,
our sister-in-law here added a row of flowers to Niña's cake."
"Ummmm," Ellie sang. "You could be in big trouble. But then,
of course, there would have to be witnesses, polygraph tests..." The attorney
winked at Julia and Louise and sat on the breakfast barstool.
maybe a blood test or two, DNA. Besides, who will know the difference?
I doubt that even Niña will notice." Louise carefully slid the cake
tier into place in the refrigerator, with the other three tiers that would make
up the centerpiece of the wedding celebration table.
"Boy, what started out to be such a simple wedding cake is now this complicated
creation of flowers and crystals and pearls," Louise said as she assessed
the cluster of cake layers in the refrigerator, as well as the boxes and associated
paraphernalia on the dining room table. "I mean, it's beautiful, Julia,
for sure. But for all the time and artistry you put into it, it should be preserved
and exhibited at a gallery downtown, for pity's sake."
"Nothing about this wedding is simple," Ellie said. "Tonight's
rehearsal is even complicated. Did you read your instructions?"
Ellie reached over for the intricately folded paper on the breakfast bar. "Look
at this, 'Maria Marta & Jacob'. Niña even has fancy instructions
for the wedding party," she laughed.
The ease with which they worked and talked came from the fact that the three
women were members of the Sisters-in-Law Club - or what they surreptitiously
referred to as SILK. Married to three of the four brothers of the Martinez clan,
these were unique women: they looked different, they had different careers,
they came from different childhoods. But through the machinations of Cupid,
they had one bond: they were members of a large extended family whose name was
as common in northern New Mexico as Jones or Smith would be in Texas. For weddings
like this one, the Martinez and Chavez families converged to reveal the even
more intricate tapestry of the region's multi-generational families.
The SILK bond was a strong bond, a bond that provided each with the sanity
to see a Martinez family gathering through to the end. It was a bond that allowed
them to laugh or commiserate on their own when they were ignored or relegated
to a hidden corner as the rest of the family shared childhood stories. It was
a bond that brought them together at every Martinez family gathering, and for
SILK meetings every month.
"So are you ready for the wedding, Ms. Madrina?" Ellie asked Louise, whom Niña selected to be her Matron of Honor.
"Oh, yeah," Louise replied. "I haven't had to do anything. Niña took care of all the details. I just have to show up "
"And follow the rules," Julia interrupted, waving the sheet of instructions.