"We can't go back. Everything has changed. I never expected this, and I feel really sad. But it feels right. You know we got together so young. Being on my own is good for me now - and good for you too"
Vanessa, mother of Julio and Augusto, has been with Federico Diaz since they were kids, so she overcame any squeamishness about his profession long ago. In fact, she often steered business to Fisher & Sons from the nursing home where she worked and has lunched with Federico in the prep room, a few feet away from a draining corpse. Vanessa has a strong will to go along with her stomach; she makes sure her sons obey her, and she can more than hold her own in an argument with her husband.
The above-mentioned arguments have often been about money. But Vanessa and Federico's money problems were unexpectedly solved one day, just when things were looking bleakest. Vanessa had been fired from her job for failing to notice a hotdog in the throat of an old woman she was attempting to resuscitate. But shortly thereafter, she and Federico inherited one hundred forty-nine thousand dollars from an elderly neighbor. It was Vanessa's idea for Federico to use the money to buy a partnership with the Fishers, telling him, "nothing's worth as much as being your own boss."
For a while Vanessa had difficulty maintaining her take-charge attitude. The death of her mother triggered a clinical depression that caused her to neglect Federico and her sons. Her situation worsened when she began supplementing her physician-prescribed regimen of antidepressants with drugs - including amphetamines - she'd taken from the hospital where she'd started working. With the help of her psychiatrist, however, she's managed to dig herself out of what she felt was "a deepening hole."
Just as Vanessa appears to be on the mend, Rico becomes increasingly concerned about a stranger's emotional and financial problems - a struggling single mother with a younger child. When Ruth casually asks Vanessa about Rico's "vivacious friend," Vanessa becomes suspicious and follows him, soon discovering that her husband's "charity case" is a voluptuous stripper. After wrestling the woman to the ground, Vanessa kicks Rico out of the house, refusing to listen to his pleas that the relationship was not sexual. No longer prone to wallowing, she immediately starts dating, and allows Rico to visit the kids just in time for his high school nemesis to pick her up at the house for a night out.
Adjusting to her husband's absence and her new life as a single woman, Vanessa seems to shed her anger towards Rico. When he pleads with her for a reconciliation, she tells him that they can't go back. She thinks they are both better off on their own now, and she wants a divorce.
played by Justina Machado