Papi has joked before about buying a gun and shooting down the vultures: “una escopeta,” he says as he holds an imaginary gun aimed at the birds whose feathers adorn my bedroom window, “y PUM! desaparecen.”
The first thing I noticed about the boys was their eyes. Not their dark-skinned chests, arms glistening with moisture in the beach sun. Not the gold or silver teeth that winked in their smiles. Not the strange gold chains that hung around their necks, resting upon them as if they were royalty. Not even the big black fins that stretched out where their legs would have been, their scales glistening like onyx.
It’s true that when anyone asks me what I’m doing here I get flustered, but given time I can make it all seem most appealing: I scatter flour on the work surface; I shape the dough before sliding it into the oven.
The black birthmark on his right cheek also changed, though it always looked like something that had fallen from a basket of produce. At first, it looked like a carrot, then later a cucumber. Its third form looked like a corn kernel. Finally, at the age of eighteen it settled into the shape of a banana, like one that had been left in the freezer until it blackened.
I am undressed but it won’t matter soon enough, and besides, this era has retained its wise and founded fear of nude women appearing beside bodies of water, even ones as ancient and ugly as myself. I am a known omen not to be disturbed.
He stood with his back to us in his black trousers and white shirt, washing his hands. Flies crawled over the worktop and flitted into the pot of rice and peas on his stove. Mum and I exchanged a glance and she nodded at me.
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