Luisa never liked his carving. It left shavings all over the carpet and she never could get all of them out. Even when she pulled the tiny, minute particles out of the carpet she could still sense they were there taunting her even as her Mario sat there happily singing while he painted the puppets.
“Aye Luisa, Maria Isabela will love this one! It will be the hit of her puppet show next week. See how it moves its legs? Just like a real horse this one!”
He was so proud of the work he produced and being able to help with his granddaughter’s puppet theater made him so happy!
“Come, Luisa, come sit with me while I work and tell me about your day!”
She knew he would only listen halfway. His heart and mind were in the carvings that took up so much of his time and energy. She snorted and began their supper banging pots and pans loudly. Even that didn’t keep Mario from his work or from his joy. That made her even angrier.
When was the last time they went to feed the squirrels together at the park? She knew it hurt for him to walk, but he could try knowing how much she loved to do that. The squirrels would be too frightened now to come and take the nuts out of her hands. They wouldn’t know her anymore.
Mario died at his work table that night leaving shavings and a half-painted puppet of a horse on the table. Luisa couldn’t think of anything for a long, long while except cleaning up the shavings from the carpet.
When she began clearing out his clothes and giving his things to the neighbors she found it. It was in a shoebox underneath his winter boots. She couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw a tiny miniature puppet of herself, sandals and all, wrapped carefully in tissue paper. On top was a note written in Mario’s shaky hand. “My dear Luisa, please take this little lady out with you when you go to the park.” He knew she would return to what she loved best.
The first time she took their “little lady” to the park, the squirrels came up and gently took the nuts she offered. The squirrels and Mario had remembered after all.