By Esmeralda Santiago
América Gonzalez is a lodge housekeeper on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, cleansing up after filthy rich foreigners who do not glance her within the eye. Her alcoholic mom resents her; her married boyfriend, Correa, beats her; and their fourteen-year-old daughter thinks lifestyles will be higher wherever yet with América. So whilst América is on the market the opportunity to paintings as alive-in housekeeper and nanny for a kinfolk in Westchester County, ny, she takes it as an indication door to flee has been opened. but whilst América revels within the comparative luxurious of her new existence, bold to care a few guy except Correa, she is confronted with dramatic evidence that it doesn't matter what she does, she cannot break out from her past.
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She rises in the dark, stumbles to the door, switches on the light. The sudden brightness makes her eyes water, and she has to rub away the swelling, the gritty texture of salty tears on skin. She brushes her hair, blows her nose, tugs her wrinkled clothes around her body, smoothing the skirt at the hips, stretching the top so that it doesn’t pull across her breasts. She turns out the light before opening the door. Correa is lying on the couch, watching television. He looks up when she comes out, evaluates her as if she were new in town.
Maybe, when you’re fourteen, you’re not running toward something, you’re running away from it. Maybe all girls go through this phase, but only some act on it. América doesn’t know. América has no idea what she’s done to make Rosalinda do what she’s done. Or what Ester did that made her run off with Correa, come back to the island, and remain his woman all these years, in spite of the fact that he has betrayed her again and again. Is it my fault? she asks herself, but she can’t answer. She’s tried to be a good mother to Rosalinda.
They always bring fat books with them, the women’s with lace and flowers or beautiful girls entwined with brawny men, the titles in cursive writing. The men’s books are austere, usually no more than the title and the author in block letters, with few colors, no gilded edges or ornate designs. Sometimes they bring magazines, and she’s noticed that they too seem designated male or female. On one of them, the cover was nothing but a white background with a large dollar sign in red. The women’s magazines have pictures of movie stars, or teenage girls with pouty lips and smooth skin where there should be a cleavage.
America's Dream by Esmeralda Santiago