The Not-So Perfect Reality
Many of us have our own idea of the perfect reality. We might have fantasies of living in the perfect white picket fence house in the country-side or of living a luxurious apartment in the city. Our dreams might involve being a successful business person or settling down to start your own perfect family. No how bad you want it or how much you’re willing to give up- it’s not always achievable. Sometimes we see others who are living our perfect reality and are forced to face the bitter truth. I can’t have it all. In Sandra Cisneros’ story Never Marry a Mexican, the protagonist Clemencia was forced to realize this. Her jealously was a recurring theme throughout the entire story when she had to face the fact that a red headed woman from Texas was living her dream.
Clemencia was a young woman who was born in Mexico and prides herself as being a helpless romantic even though she would swear to never marry. Though she was helplessly romantic, she was also unwillingly materialistic and admired her father primarily for the fact that he wore ‘quality clothing’. Like many young girls, she dreamt of belonging to a man and “couldn’t wait to be shown off on his arm like an expensive jewel, brilliant in the light of day” (Cisneros). This innocent dream of hers was dissuaded by her mother who had married her father at a very young age with no reason and constantly told Clemencia that she should Never Marry a Mexican. She eventually discovered that her mother was cheating on her father- which left Clemencia feeling betrayed and detached from her mother. Studies show that a parent’s infidelity harms the emotional development that children feel- especially when a relationship ends in divorce and increases the probability that the child will to experience infidelities within their own relationships.
Just as the majority of little girls see their fathers as being their hero, Clemencia greatly admired her father. In her youth, she would imagine a younger version of her father dressed in expensive, show-off clothing. She idolized the fact that his clothing was expensive. She describes him by saying, “My father in his shark-blue suits with the starched handkerchief in the breast pocket, his felt fedora, his tweed topcoat with the big shoulders, and heavy British wing tips with the pin-hole design on the heel and toe. Clothes that cost a lot. Expensive” (Cisneros). Though her father, along with his quality possessions faded away, Clemencia’s desire for quality stayed.
Cheating is much more frequent then many realize. Studies show that at least 16% of married couples in the U.S have reported cheating during their marriage. Clemencia’s secret lover Drew, would have contributed to a part of this percentage. Clemencia strongly believed that Drew loved her more than he loved his wife Megan. She believed that she was the reason that Drew didn’t want to have kids with his wife, and that by telling Drew that he should give his wife a baby- she herself was creating the child. Both Clemencia and Megan loved Drew and when she realized that he loved his wife more- Clemencia was overcome with jealousy.
Many of us can recall a time when we let our emotions such as jealousy control our thoughts and actions. An article found on Parentsexplained that though jealousy within relationships is normal- excessive amounts of jealousy can definitely lead to issues. Megan represented herself as being a non-jealous type who was a living example of the phrase “Ignorance is bliss”,while Clemencia portrayed herself as being the contrary and wished to dwell on the known. Almost all women would express great concern when their husband receives a phone call from another woman late at night. Instead of reacting off of her emotions- Megan woke her husband up to give him the phone which surprised Clemencia. Megan realized that even if he was cheating, there was still hope for their relationship because many relationships can recover from infidelity (Rewire).
Clemencia, being a more reactive person struggled with jealousy throughout the entire story. On her last night she spent with Drew she went into the restroom. Upon seeing Megan’s quality items everywhere- which she had idolized since her youth but was never able to afford them with her salary, she became extremely jealous that Megan would have everything that she wanted- the man, the silk robe, the nice house, etc… In pleading attempt to make things fairer, she took a bag of gummy bears out of her bad and hid them throughout all of Megan’s things. She hoped that maybe if Megan found out about the affair, she would leave Drew and he would finally be only hers.
Imagine falling head over heels in love with somebody who didn’t want you. If the opportunity were to arise for you to have somebody who was just like them, would you take it? Chances are that you would. Even though she swore to never marry, Clemencia just wanted to be loved. Many years later, she became the teacher of Drew’s son. She came to peace with the idea that since she couldn’t have Drew, she would have the second-best thing. His son. She slept with him “to make him love [her] the way [she] loved his father”.
Everyone wants the fairy tale ending, whether it be a white picket fence or a place in the city. More than that, they want to be loved, and they want to love somebody with all that they have. Unfortunately, sometimes life is cruel, and it doesn’t always work out that way. Some relationships survive through the trials and the triumphs- while others crash and burn. Jealousy might cause relationships to fail such as Drew’s and Clemencia’s, yet it might cause them to grow stronger like Megan’s and Drew’s. Sometimes we’re forced to make the most out of our not-so perfect reality.
- “If You Cheated, Is There Hope for Your Relationship?” Rewire, 19 Apr. 2019, http://www.rewire.org/love/cheated-hope-relationship/.
- “Who Cheats More? The Demographics of Infidelity in America.” Institute for Family Studies, ifstudies.org/blog/who-cheats-more-the-demographics-of-cheating-in-america.
- Cisneros, Sandra. / Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. / New York, Vintage, 1991.
- “What Kids Learn from Your Marriage.” Parents, http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/what-kids-learn-from-your-marriage/.