Monique Quintana

Grandpa Hank chose Marco to be the ballerino for the show, even though Rae hated him. Everyone else wanted him too. He had the best of the best feet, they said. Truthfully, it was hard for Rae to pretend to be in love with Marco. She didn’t like the way he smelled: like the bar soap her grandfather washed his hair with. Maybe that’s why Grandpa likes him so much, Rae thought to herself as Marco lifted her through the air during practice. Even though she was good at dancing, she would rather be sewing skirts and shoes and coats. She thought about cold silver buttons, the way they would make this Marco boy’s wrists look better. She thought they moved in a clumsy and nervous way. Besides which, his veins weren’t nearly blue enough.

At night, she would watch the blood rains climb over the mountain, the electric fan blowing through her hair and nightgown. If she looked out the window, she could see Marco and all the other kids practicing, tapping their feet in the rain, the rain pooling in rocks at their ankles. She could have been down there with them, her limbs ribboned to the moon. Maybe they would love her more, if she went out and danced with them, if she did her dirt, like they used to say. The cartoons that played on her bedroom TV set blared pink and blue, the only sound to their dance, those kids that she had known her whole life and didn’t really know good at all. If they had opened their eyes and seen her up there, watching them from the window. Their only audience. That night, that night before Xibalba came, they opened their eyes and they saw her, and she thought she heard them call out to her, but the rain was warm, making its way through and through and through their throats.