Washing in the River (Short Stories-la chicana-stories from her)

 

When I went back to your father’s family home in Mexico for the first time, I remember having to hold my own. He was there with me and all of that, but back then, over there, it was old school; and I mean old school. When it was time to wash clothes I asked one of the señoras where to wash, hearing it was done outside by a stream. And she told me in Spanish “over there in the river.” So there I was walking with the bag of clothes looking for the river; a river I couldn’t find anywhere. Then I saw a women squatted by a stream that couldn’t have been wider than a foot, pounding away at her clothes with a rock and dunking and scrubbing in the water. I realized this was the river. And as if this were no newly performed act, I began dunking and scrubbing away– trying not to be spotted for my surprise. What can I say, I liked the man.