Disappeared

Published in Sycamore Review.

Photo EFE.

It was confusing. I didn’t want to do the wrong thing, but I didn’t know what the right thing was. My instincts railed against a system that would have me call a gray-haired grandmother my “muchacha,” but what did I know? The etymology of “maid” in English is just as demeaning. Eventually I deferred to those who had experience with such things. Older imported teachers. Salvadorans. Even Olivia tried to convince me.

“Mira. Hay tanto polvo,” she said slowly to me. When I didn’t understand, she ran her finger across my kitchen windowsill and a black smudge came away on her skin. Then she pointed through the window at Volcán San Salvador. “Polvo. Por el volcán. Hay tanto polvo.”

….

By October, Olivia was dead.

Disappeared-Beer