In the Time of the Butterflies

How good is Dede's marriage?

Ch 9

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One Sunday afternoon while Jaimito is in San Francisco with all three of their sons, Minerva, Patria, and Maria Teresa pay Dede a surprise visit. Dede has become solitary and feels as if Jaimito has become a "bossy, old-fashioned macho" who fails to notice her unhappiness. In the fall, Patria asked if she could bury some boxes in the cacao fields, but Jaimito refused, and Dede has been avoiding her sisters ever since. Now, they report that "something big" is about to happen in less than three weeks, and Maria Teresa asks her to join their cell.

When Dede asks if Jaimito is also invited, Minerva compares him to Enrique Mirabal, saying it is scared men like them who have kept Trujillo in power so long. They tell her not to decide if she wants to join them right at that moment, but to come to Patria's house on Sunday if she wants to. Dede silently decides to leave Jaimito the next Sunday and attend the meeting with her sisters. She has never really gotten over her unspoken love for Lio—secretly one night she listened to him on the radio.

As she plans her escape, Dede begins to worry about leaving her sons. On Friday, she asks Don Bernardo if she can accompany him to Salcedo so she can go to church and speak with Padre de Jesus about her fears. But Jaimito is suspicious, as well as furious that she is disobeying his wish that she not go. Nobody is at the rectory when she gets dropped off, so Dede spends the morning checking back every half hour and wandering around the shops. Finally she sees a truck pull up with Padre de Jesus in it, but recognizes the pine boxes in it because they look like those that Patria kept at her house. Realizing that Padre de Jesus is "one of them," and afraid that he will encourage her to join the revolutionaries, Dede flees.

Back at the house, Tinita tells her that Jaimito has gone to his mother's, Dona Leila's, home with the boys. Dede panics and goes to Chea Mirabal's home; Minerva, Maria Teresa, and their husbands are there as well. Manolo and Minerva drive Dede to her mother-in-law's house in San Francisco, where they find Jaimito and his sons. Sensing the tension in their marriage, Manolo suggests that Jaimito and Dede "take a honeymoon somewhere nice." Thus, that weekend, the time that she had meant to leave her husband, becomes a boring vacation for them both.