|Photo by Georgina Key
Every year Clementine and her father visited Angangueo to honor her mother. On the mountain top, monarch butterflies hung from Oyamel tree branches, thousands of them in pleated layers like discarded quinceañera dresses. During Dia de los Muertos, families gathered and brought picnics and shared stories, memories of their loved ones. She watched them laugh and weep and dance and eat while her father stood silently by her side. Him in his black suit and her in a white dress with ribbons that her niñera, Maria, insisted she wear—the perfect little daughter. Her father's grief was a silent and endless prayer between himself and God, a conversation she was not a part of. So she waited and watched the butterflies and the families, and wondered what it felt like to be loved. (shiny bits in between, danaus).