1. 'I have a surprise,' my mother said as I looked up to see Janet standing there holding a teddy bear exactly my height. I wrapped my arms aarround her neck and told her I missed her and held the bear. Her hair was choppy, pulled back in a pony tail so high and to the side it was nearly atop her head. Her shirt was loose. Seven years later I would cry when my mother placed the bear in a box along the curb of our street before we moved.
2. Christina never cooks without the radio. She sets it just above the cutting board and sways her hips left and righ and taps her foot to the beat. Our favourite song is by Los Flans - 'No Controles.'
At night, Cristina screams in her sleep and cries. At night when she closes her eyes Cristina sees El Salvador and walking over the bodies of her family members. Sometimes I think she wants to sleep with her eyes open because all her memories are behind her eyelids but she cannot.
When she puts on the radio we sing into the silverware as though it were a microphone.
3. Susana came with her husband to California to start a family. She tells me she has a daughter and years later she still has a daughter and an ex-husband and lives alone with two cats in an apartment near the big box store at which she is employed. I see her crying behind the counter one day when she tells me that the landlord has discovered the cats and has demanded that she find them a new home or that she find one for herself. She tells me that one of the cats is extremely shy and that it is like her child. She tells me that her daughter doesn't care to take the cats, nor does her ex husband.
Susana lives alone in an apartment near the big box store at which she is employed, but now she has no cats.