The sun had set on a cold winter day when two men from Mexico’s civil protection agency knocked on Cecilia Rebeca Chavez’s door.
They brought news about her husband, Eduardo Hernandez, whom she hadn’t heard from in 10 years. He was in California — and he was dying. The men left a phone number for her to call.
She learned that her husband had colon cancer; agonizing pain had driven Hernandez, a 60-year-old day laborer, to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. He had days to live.
The agents’ unexpected visit had unraveled at least part of a mystery for Chavez. Her husband was not dead, as she had long imagined. He had not found a new wife, as people in this village of concrete homes and leaky tin roofs had speculated. He had not become a drug trafficker, flush with riches.
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