Fiction | March 01, 1988

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Leaving their room in the Casa Graciosa, Rebeca Fuerte and her son can smell the coffee from under the door of one neighbor’s apartment, beans from another.  Rebeca holds Fernando’s hand a little tighter steering him past those doors and onto the narrow stairway that has its own smells of mildewed walls, of cat urine drying in warped corners.  Flat against her body under her free arm, Rebeca carries the tray on which she daily sells cigarettes and wax matches.  She is wrapped in a blue rebozo that has been carefully smoothed with her hands after laundering.  Though only cotton, the rebozo will be too warm before midday, but it carries her stock.

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