Miguel is the only one who could have taken Esperanza's money orders. Why would he do this? Needless to say, Esperanza is furious.
In happier news, Mama seems to be getting stronger every day.
Esperanza is sorting peaches, plums, and nectarines in the shed these days. One afternoon, Esperanza is surprised to see Alfonso in the sheds. He never leaves the fields in the middle of the day.
It turns out Miguel is arriving at the bus station at 3:00, and he asked his parents to bring Esperanza for some reason. Hmmm. Mysterious.
At the bus station, Esperanza is reminded that she'd like to learn English. She hates not knowing what people are saying.
Finally, Miguel's bus arrives. He stands in the doorway and tells Esperanza that he has brought her proof that things will get better.
It's Abuelita. Also known as the best present Miguel could ever have given Esperanza.
They take Abuelita to the camp and Esperanza shows her their new home. It's so much shabbier than their old house in Aguascalientes. But it's full of objects that represent the blending of their old and new lives: Isabel's pictures, a bowl of peaches, babies' toys, and a coffee can of Papa's roses.
Finally, Abuelita asks to see her daughter. Mama is resting outside in the shade.
Isabel runs towards Esperanza and Abuelita. Abuelita gives Isabel a small stone that she's carrying in her pocket, and Isabel gives Abuelita a bunch of wildflowers. We're pretty sure they're going to hit it off.
Gently, Abuelita wakes up her daughter. Mama is overjoyed, and after a long, hard year, Esperanza finally feels like her heart is full again.
Esperanza goes to get Abuelita's blanket. She's been working on it all year, and now it's long enough to cover three beds.
But it's not quite finished. Esperanza begins to crochet the final row.
Abuelita tells the family about her sneaky escape from Aguascalientes. It was tough since Tío Luis had spies watching her every time she left the house.
One day, Abuelita found an injured bird that she didn't think would fly again. But the next day, it was healed. Abuelita knew it was a sign: something had been wrong with Mama, but she was better now.
Then one morning, one of the nuns brought Abuelita a note that someone had left in the poor box. It was from Miguel. He said that Mama and Esperanza needed her, and he snuck her out of Aguascalientes.
When Esperanza tells Abuelita the story of everything they've experienced in the past year, she doesn't measure the time in months or seasons. Instead she measures time according to the fruits and vegetables they were harvesting.
And hey, now that they are harvesting grapes again, Esperanza will be having another birthday.
A few days before her birthday, Esperanza gets Miguel to drive her to the hills before sunrise. They climb to the top of a hill and look down over the valley as the sun begins to rise.
Esperanza shows Miguel the trick of lying on the ground to listen to the earth's heartbeat. Just like her Papa taught her all those years ago.
They lie down next to one another and begin to listen. At first they don't hear anything, but Esperanza tells Miguel to be patient: "Aguántate tantito y la fruta caerá en tu mano."
Finally, they hear the sound of the earth's heartbeat, and they smile at one another.
The sun rises, and Esperanza feels like she's floating. Unlike that first day when she arrived in the valley, this time the floating feeling doesn't make her sick.
Esperanza knows she will never lose Papa or El Rancho de las Rosas or Mama or Abuelita, no matter what happens.
But now Esperanza has even more than all that. She also has dreams of learning English, of raising a family and buying a tiny house someday.
Esperanza has a vision of floating above all of the people and places that she loves.
Then she imagines floating over a river. She sees a young version of herself and Miguel, eating mangos on a stick. But this time, they are sitting on the same side of the river.
Esperanza reaches for Miguel's hand.
On the morning of her birthday, Esperanza is awakened by voices singing the birthday song "Las Mañanitas" outside of her window.
This birthday isn't exactly like birthdays in the past, but it's still a celebration. Josefina makes Esperanza's favorite dessert, flan de almendras.
Esperanza and Abuelita teach Isabel how to crochet, just like Abuelita taught Esperanza a year before.
Isabel's work is crooked, and Esperanza unravels the stitches. She tells Isabel, "Do not ever be afraid to start over" (14.111). Sound familiar?