TITLE: NOWHERE BIRDS
GENRE: MG Multicultural Contemporary
Tripping down the side of the steep ravine, I dodge chickens and skinny dogs as I make my way to the busiest intersection in Guatemala City. When the streetlight turns red, I leap out in front of a red sedan with my bucket and my rag and begin to wipe the front windshield. I ignore the driver as he waves an angry hand. I keep wiping. I will clean his window so well that he will pay me a few coins before driving on to his big, gated house with a hired girl who scrubs his floors.
I am still leaning across the hood of the car when the light turns green. The angry man honks and jolts the car forward just an inch, just enough to send me sprawling backwards, directly into the muddy water collecting in the gutters. He speeds away and I push myself up onto the curb, my only skirt soaked through. Across the street, Vicente waves a scrap of paper at me. A whole quetzal, someone gave him.
Why did I not choose that side of the street? I could have. I was here first. I am always here first.
When the light turns red again, I don’t get up. Nita and Deysi have already jumped into the intersection to begin their routine of juggling and dancing. There’s no competing with that.
But I could do that if I wanted. I could work up a routine so dazzling that every single car on the street would shower me in quetzals.