by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner
Malinalco – Estado de México
Calle Guanabana, Colonia Nueva Santa Maria, CDMX
One Summer in Mexico – Part Eighteen – July 23-24, 1970
Last night I read for the first time, words I had written exactly fifty years ago. What an absolute fool I was. I guess it is far better to hold regrets for being “too nice” rather than hold guilt for hurting someone for life. Nevertheless, I clearly blew it. Here was the most intelligent woman I had ever been close to . . . the only woman, who explicitly stated that she wanted to have my children. (My ex-wife did everything to avoid it.) Had I not been so cautious, both of us would have had much happier, productive lives together. She would probably now be Senior Professor of Linguistics at Emory University.
There were two extremely funny incidents that I had completely forgotten years ago, plus a written expression of my dilemma. Should we consummate our love and fly off to Georgia together . . . radically changing her life . . . or should I try control myself as long as possible to let “things work out?” Well, before the next rendition of our telenovela, we will journey to Malinalco, a little-known, magical place of witches and sorcerers.
Sometimes being nice is the worst way to insure the happiness of two people in love. You cannot see the future. Decisive action may be the only way to save it.
The little known Malinalco Archaeological Zone is located in the rugged mountains southeast of Toluca and southwest of Mexico City. According to my journal, what struck me immediately as the bus approached the town of Malinalco was the region’s similarity to the Appalachian Mountains. It is a ecological zone, atypical of Mexico, in which greater rainfall and elevation creates a zone ideal for deciduous forests.
The name Malinalco comes from the Nahuatl word malinalli, which is a kind of grass (Poaceae) called zacate del carbonero in Spanish, the word xóchitl, which means flower and co, which means place, which a translation of “where they worship the goddess Malinalxóchitl, the malinalli flower”. The name also refers to one of the time periods on the Aztec calendar, marked by the malinalli plant, according to the Quauhtinchan Annals.
According to mythology, the god Huitzilopochtli abandoned his sister Malinalxóchitl because she was practicing evil witchcraft. While she slept, he left her in the middle of the forest. When she woke, she was furious at having been abandoned by her brother. She gathered people loyal to her and marched off to settle in what is now Malinalco. Another version of the story has Malinalxóchitl as the leader of a dissident Mexica tribe, who left to settle in what is now Malinalco and intermarried with the people already there. That is probably the most accurate legend.
INAH architects and construction laborers restored the key buildings at the archaeological zone in advance of the 1968 Olympics, assuming that this would attract tourists. Very little archaeological work was done at this time. Very few tourists came. There were only two people at the ruins when I arrived late morning of July 23, 1970. At the time there was no museum and not much signage. So, most of what I know about Malinalco comes from some archaeological work done in the late 20th and early 21st century. The actual age of Malinalco is still unknown because archaeologists have never dug down to the oldest occupation level.
A consistent misconception among anthropologists in the Southeastern United States is that there were just a handful of civilized ethnic groups (ie Mayas and Aztecs) in Mexico. This is typified by the national press release that the Museum of the Cherokee Indian and EBCI Cultural Preservation Office sent out in 2012, which stated that “Richard Thornton does not know anything about the Aztecs and Mayas.” Just making that statement was flagrant proof that those involved in the press release knew nothing about the subject. There were hundreds of Nahuatl and Maya tribes in Mesoamerica . . . practically everyone of them speaking a distinct language that was not necessarily comprehended by other other Nahuatl or Maya tribes.
Such is the case at Malinalco. Beginning perhaps 5500 years ago a succession of tribes occupied the site, each adding their layer of architecture to what had been constructed earlier. Mexican archeologists believe that from an early date, it was a religious center. A nearby mountain is dotted by stone cairns, altars and statues. According to indigenous traditions, it was from the beginning a “magical” center of occult rituals, led by sorcerers and witches.
In 1476, Axayacatl, king of the Mexica, led an army, which subjected the people of Malinalco. His successor, King Ahuizotl, partially leveled the ancient shrines to build a religious complex for their military cult. It was pyramid of this complex, which was restored for the 1968 Olympics.
A connection to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico?
In my journal, I briefly noted what appeared to be round kivas in the pre-Aztec platform on which the Aztecs built their pyramid, but didn’t think much about it. Exactly six years later, I was in Chaco Canyon was astonished to see the similarities of the pre-Aztec architecture of Malinalco with the with so-called apartment buildings at Chaco Canyon. Since 1976, archaeologists have found strong evidence that the elite of Chaco Canyon were Mesoamericans, who practiced sacrificial cannibalism. In fact, the archaeologists found the pots in which human pozole was cooked and the dump area, where human bodies were butchered like animals.
Telenovela – The Ring of Fire
Friday, July 24 – Partly Cloudy with rain late in the afternoon
Alicia called me early this morning. She said that she needed help for her final exam in Physics, which was at 4 PM. She wanted me to come over later in the morning. She said she would call me when her mother left to go to Tlaxcala on business. She said that she would fix a lunch for us since their servant was not going to be there today. I said yes and then called up the museum to tell them that I would not be joining the lunch discussion today.
Alicia was skimpily dressed like she was going to a picnic. She was just wearing short shorts and a loose fitting Maya Indian blouse. Sexy! We went through all the chapters of her book. Of course, it was in Spanish, but I understood the diagrams and part of the words. She knew her stuff. Something was different. I couldn’t put my finger on it. She made fancy sandwiches with lots of fruit. After lunch, she said that she was real nervous about her exam and needed something to help her relax – could I help her. I said sure – you want me to rub your neck. She said that was a good start. She then asked me if I wanted a glass of wine. I said, “In the daytime? Okay” She ended up drinking two glasses. I thought that was odd.
She then led me to our favorite couch in the living room, where we had spent so many hours cuddling. She gave me a long, sweet, gentle kiss like no other before. Then she said, “Queridísimo Ricardo, I have loved you with all my heart, almost since the day we met. Anything you want to do with me . . . I will love it. There many things that we have not tried. I would wait for you 2, even 3 years. It doesn’t matter.”
She then said, “Let’s go to the bedroom. It is more romantic in there.” I told her, “Alicia, you told me to please don’t sit on the bed because your servant would notice it messed up.”
She turned her head slightly and flashed me a Mona Lisa smile. “Not this time Ricky Dicky. I put some old sheets on the bed so I can throw them away afterward. You know that I am virgin.”
I gulped. This was it. D-day
I told her that I had no protection for her because I thought we would be studying physics. She said that was one of the reasons that she loved me. She didn’t have to worry about me giving her a disease from a prostitute. She said several of friends had gotten prostitute diseases from their boyfriends. One of Pilar’s friends couldn’t have children now because her Gringo boyfriend in New Orleans gave her a bad disease. Aha! So that’s what was going on in the head of the senorita from hell.
She then told me that she went to a lady doctor yesterday, who Pilar knew. She said that doctor told her that she could go to prison if she gave Alicia the pill, but offered to help her know when it was safe. Alicia said that for the next three days she will be safe. Alicia smiled that Mona Lisa smile again and said that we would be doing a physics experiment.
Alicia took a deep breath, yelled “ariba!” She flipped off her cotton Indian blouse then tossed it on the floor. Alicia then unbuttoned my shirt and threw it on top of her blouse. She said, “See Alicia blouse and Ricky shirt get to have sex too! She then began to kiss me tenderly on the base of my neck. At that point, it was impossible for me to maintain my self-control. Well, I knew it was going to be wonderful, being so close to Alicia this day . . . but would she pay terrible consequences with her family or career? . . . then . . .
The doorbell rang. I think Alicia said some Spanish cuss words, slipped off the bed and peaked around the curtains. She shrieked, “Mia tia!” Her crazy aunt was at the door. Alicia freaked out and raced toward her bathroom to turn on the shower then grabbed the two wine glasses and stoked them into a dresser drawer. She then wrapped a towel around herself and went to the living room. She peeked through a side window and told her aunt that she was in the shower. She then dragged me to her closet. There was not enough space to fit me in. She looked under the bed – not enough distance between the frame and the floor. She looked into her bathroom. Nope, that’s the first place her aunt will look. Finally, she pushed me back into the closet and partially closed the door. She then hung a long dress over the gap between the door and the closet.
Her aunt kept on calling for her to open the door. She seemed to know I was there. Alicia let her in. The aunt immediately peaked into Alicia’s bedroom and bathroom, but didn’t notice me behind the closet door. The aunt then went to the main bathroom, expecting to find me there then walked through the back rooms of the house. Before the aunt could return, Alicia whisked me out the servant’s entrance and I high-tailed it back to the Soto house, two blocks away.
That night was wonderful and scary. I was invited to join Alicia, her mother, her uncle, her aunt, Carmenita and a bunch of relatives from Tiujuana to go watch the movie, Charley, starring Cliff Robertson. We then went to a fancy restaurant in Colonia Coyacan, where I had eaten the infected shrimp. No one spoke English, but Alicia and I. She started saying things that you would only hear in a porno movie and the others were oblivious – like describing in detail during the hours that we spent in the bed that day (but didn’t). Then she started playing footsy with me, then squeezing my thighs then rubbing and squeezing my you know what. Right under the table where all of her family was sitting. Meanwhile, I had to sit there, trying to act mature and dignified.
What am I going to do? This is the greatest intellectual challenge of my life. I can no longer control myself around Alicia. I love her with all my heart. She is the girl of my dreams. But she now can seduce me any place and anytime she wants to . . . and doesn’t care what happens after – but she will be the one that would pay most of the consequences, if something goes wrong. Calendar based birth control is like playing Russian roulette. What’s worse – she repeatedly tells me that she trusts God to overcome anything that happens to us and bring us together permanently. What if I got called to active duty in the Navy before getting her to the US? Is she going to lose her faith in God? Should I just give up being a prude and not worry what her family thinks? Take her to hotels in the daytime? Should I just say, come with me to Yucatan? Come with me back to Georgia? If we start going all the way, I know it will be like heaven on earth, but it will also be addictive like heroin. I just don’t know.
8/5/70 – Alicia just overheard her servant telling someone on the phone that Alicia’s uncle was bribing a servant across the street to watch the house, when Alicia was the only one there.