By Susana (Whitmore) Franek
"... It was the spring of 1976, less than a year after Francisco Franco died, and Spain was able to breathe again. Fascist repression was lifting. The long-stifled language of Catalan once again echoed through the streets, in schools, in the media and in government. The environment was ripe for a belly dancer from California to start teaching and performing. ..."
By Jian Huang
"...The motel seems gigantic, with 28 rooms and two floors. The ocean blue paint underneath the stairwell is chipping. I rarely see the same customer more than once. There are so many rooms, and not one is filled with anyone I know. A couple of weeks ago, a little girl about my age named Annie checked in with her mama. A few days later I noticed that somebody drew hearts and flowers in pink chalk on the ground. ...
By Sylvia Castañeda
"...The news of Susana’s disappearance spread quickly. Neighbors joined the family to search the Xaloco River nearby, up and down stream, until the owl was spotted on a mesquite. Huddled, rocking back and forth, Susana stood in a small, dark cave nearby glaring at the screeching owl. ..."
By CJ Salgado
"... In the business of radiation, work, too, is exciting. Radiation is a beast of burden when tamed but a dangerous wild animal when loose and uncontrolled. Every once in a while, it gets away and I pursue. ..."
By Felecia Howell
"... I had watched the love of my life and hoped she wasn't uncomfortable in my presence. I also wondered what she was feeling as she watched her mother watch me. From our first meeting when she visited us in New York, mom always received me with open arms. Though Takemi and I were not introduced to her as a couple, I saw in her eyes that she knew our truth. I sat in the nakedness of the moment. ..."
By Sarah Alvarado
"...Next came Happy Video, named by Manuel because he was so happy. The last store of their empire was Sono Video after the city of Sonora in Mexico. They hired family members to run them. Soon they were in a position to undercut any new competition and they had long since established customer loyalty. Blockbuster barely threatened them. Sonia dressed for work in a smart business skirt with a matching blazer; Manuel generally opted for a leisure suit with a jacket. They were in love with each other and partners in a lucrative business. ..."
By Suzanna Franek
"...One day I stopped by the house during my lunch hour to check on the construction progress and noticed a gang tag on my side porch. Etched into a thick layer of dust were the initials ‘CYS’. Instead of waiting another few weeks for construction to finish, with my 5-year old in tow, and another sister and niece who were living with us at the time, we pulled the bare necessities together and moved in the next day. I too was staking claim to territory. ..."
"... As the sun peeked above the Ventura skyline, a sweet aroma cut through the haze. Workers set up a table, spreading it with bread and coffee. They sat there – braceros and firefighters together – atop the hillside, amid the embers. Don Luis poured a cup of coffee and bit into the bread. It filled his empty stomach.
Then he and his buddies followed the foreman for the downhill trek and drive back to the bracero camp, where lemons and oranges waited to be picked. ..."
By Miguel Roura
"... Dressed in khaki pants and plaid shirt, the Guadalajara city cop carefully handled the electric wand, stepped over the wet floor, and with sadistic sarcasm repeated the question.
“You want another hit of the chicharra?
On the city streets of Guadalajara, local tokers taught me to associate the chicharra - the cicada - with ‘catching a buzz’ and getting high; taco vendors served these insects fried.
But at that instant the incisive sound and sensation of the cattle prod was added to my personal vocabulary. With that, I broke. I took the police to the apartment of a university student I’d met at a wedding named Marco, with whom I’d smoked a joint. ..."
By Fabiola Manriquez
"... Then with a gentle push, she opened the door and peeked her head into our area, calling three little girls to come to the dressing room. They were standing near me - her daughters or nieces, I think. I froze and then on impulse I followed the girls. My entire body trembled as I made my way four feet through the backstage door. And there I was -- Donna Summer, her bodyguard, and me. ..."
By Peggy Adams
"... Bertha Mae poured her second cup of coffee and went to the front porch swing. She never sat on this swing without remembering how she and Homer Ghee sanded, stained and put the beautiful walnut-boards together. The one project they accomplished without an argument. Swinging and combing the fur of her cat, she heard a scratching sound and then a grunt. ..."
"...Two years had erased the vitality in his face. The man I remembered had never heard a woman scream while getting raped at a motel, hadn’t heard of gang wars, or drug addiction, or seen a human body twitch after getting stun-gunned. He hadn’t seen black people, or brown people, and only theorized that we all bled bright red inside.
“We wear our lives on our faces,” my dad said. ..."
By Maria Fernandez
"... The gun battle that followed between the the Salcedas and the Valdovinos left only one wounded man on the Valdovinos's side; but nothing was ever the same. Most of the Valdovinos clan had to move to another town. Aureliano's family home and his father's land had to be sold. Aureliano missed his friends, and working on his father's fields, but more than anything he missed Esther. ..."
"...Maybe that’s why I stayed with Costello – I was curious about this man. Padrino knew, without having met me, that I was going to leave. Aside from my initial dream, that was the first time I experienced his gift. ..."
By Rita J. Ray
"... At lunch, I met some of the girls. Like most school cafeterias, the white students tended to eat together and the black students mostly sat with other African-Americans. I struck up a conversation with the girl from my home school. Pat and I had not been friends before. She dressed in tight skirts and she plastered make-up on her face and had a reputation for not backing down from fights. I was pretty much her opposite and yet, there we both sat in our cheap, cotton maternity tops. ..."
By Monique Quintero
"...When I was growing up, my uncle Bobby was a mystery to me. I rarely saw him. I didn’t understand why relatives whispered his name; I often heard my grandmother, Angelina, praying for him. I had the sense that he had no permanent residence, and that he traveled a lot. And yet I felt so connected to him. ..."
By Trace Richardson
"... Zula Mae was made in Mississippi. Her ‘sippie roots made her tough for hard times. She taught the family what it meant to love unconditionally and not be afraid to do so. She was born to sharecroppers. Her parents where a mix of Cherokee Indians, whites and African slaves. Her granddaddy had been a slave as a boy, and could never talk about his experience during slavery without crying. ..."
By Celia Viramontes
"...But braceros murmured late at night. Some fellow villagers, ill or injured, hadn’t returned after a stint on other U.S railroads. Wives and mothers had implored officials in both countries, eager to learn the fate that had awaited their husbands and sons in El Norte. Still, Don Luis and his buddies toiled where Chinese and Irish laborers once had. ..."
By Jian Huang
"... He only ever spoke enough English to get by at his motel job, but never had the opportunity to learn more. My mother on the other hand didn’t speak any, so by default I was the family’s representative. I struggled with how to translate the word “seizure.” I translated the diagnosis as a malfunction of the brain. The word “lost” I translated into “disappeared” so to clear up any ambiguities about recovery. My dad, who was 65 then, seemed to understand. He turned his head away from me after hearing these words. My mom, who was mostly deaf, didn’t bother to ask me to repeat into her ear what I had just said; she guessed from the looks on our faces. ..."
By Maria Fernandez
" ... One night, mom and dad noticed a surreal blue shape climbing one of the walls inside the house. This shape resembled a small serpent. They looked around the room trying to find a source for what they were seeing. Nothing. When it appeared to them a second time they panicked a little more.
`It wants to show us where the other treasures are,' said my mom. But my dad was not about to start digging for treasure after what Jose told him. ..."