Mary Peace Finley Award-winning author of books for young people
© Mary Peace Finley 2012
"I've missed you, too. Papá." Papá stepped back, blinking, and looking at Teresita and Eugenia. "You are not my little girls anymore." He shook his head. "In three years you've become beautiful young women. It happened so fast." His smile faded. "Too fast." "But now you'll be home with us every day!" Teresita lifted the wet hem of her skirt as if she were dancing. Papá stiffened. As he looked over Teresita's head, the sparkle in his eyes disappeared. She turned to follow his gaze, and suddenly a sliver of cold sliced through her. Mamá stood near the doorway of the casita, fists planted at her sides. Teresita's younger sisters huddled together beside her. The youngest, Gabriela Ultima, hid in the folds of her mother's skirt, staring wide-eyed at the father she'd never seen before today. The twins clutched each other's hands. Except for rocking on the edges of her bare feet, even María was still, standing halfway between Mamá and Papá. All eight sisters, Mamá, Papá—the whole family was here, everyone but her brother, Julio, who was watching the sheep. Teresita glanced toward the meadow, wondering if she should go for him, and noticed for the first time the contents of Papá's saddlebags strewn in the dirt—a pair of pants, a frayed shirt, a tin cup and plate, and silver and gold coins, more escudos and reales than she had ever seen before. A stiff silence stood like a wall between her parents. Teresita blinked hard. A salty taste tickled the back of her throat. Slowly she looked up past the coins and dirt and corn shucks and chicken droppings, over the flat roof of their one-room house, beyond the flat roofs of
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