Instead, as the heavy-hearted Corazón accepts her fate, her “el destino,” she decides not to shut Corazón’s Café (which also represents the openness of her own heart), and this decision has been adumbrated in the aforementioned memory of her listening, when Manuel was alive, to the mothers grumbling about their children leaving the barrio. Hard though it will be, Corazón will choose to carry on alone a business that had been begun by her and her lover together, and, at this point in the story, Spanish dialogue is introduced. This introduction of bilingual discourse allows the reader to participate in the process in which this heartwarming Latin widow finds her resolve. The Spanish brings us closer to who she really is.
For example, Corazón listens with her good heart to the trials of old Don Cándido, who stays alive by writing letters to politicians and judges because he has vowed not to die before he has seen his son released from a Cuban prison, and he is also sustained by simply “talking and talking and talking” (115); and as Corazón listens to him, she is also staying alive, with her practiced talent for sincere listening, so when old Don Cándido shouts, “ίLibertad!” (115) the savvy reader knows Cofer means for that Spanish declaration to be, not only for Don Cándido’s imprisoned son, but also for Corazón, whose serving others candidly can set her free.
The story ends with a significant exchange between Corazón and her husband’s informal partner and son-in-spirit, Inocencia. Again, the names are important. The way of the heart who loves is through suffering to serenity, and the way expands further down the path of innocence for those who remain open and candid. When Manuel was alive, Corazón and Inocencia had never spoken to the other, nor been cordial. But Corazón signals their future relationship when she sings out, “Buenas noches, Don Inocencia” (116). Corazón’s use of Don, the term of high respect, indicates that—even though Inocencia is younger than she—Corazón is putting their