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325 pages, Hardcover
First published May 14, 2019
"We try with all we have. We fight hands we can't see. We stomp against the earth and whisper all the right prayers, but sometimes it isn't meant to be. You believe life will always be as it is, and you make plans, but the next thing you know, you're climbing into a sinking boat in the dead of night because the land you love is no longer safe. The sun sets, he doesn't swim above the water again, and time runs out.”
"I was a collection of hyphens and bilingual words. Always caught in between. Two schools, two languages, two countries. Never quite right or enough for either."
I was home, and talking about Cuba had no place here. Mimi was never returning, my mother was always leaving, and I was a flightless bird left at her harbor, searching for answers that were buried at the bottom of a sea I could not know.
Sometimes it felt like the idea of being cursed was all in my head. Like it was a fabled warning to remind me to work hard and focus on my goals. The women before me had lost too much for me to be anything but firmly focused on the future. I was meant to achieve and make all of the loss, heartache, and sacrifices mean something.
My first time in the sea felt like returning to something. I thought of my mother and abuela, the image of them sharp and sudden. I wanted to see what was on the other side. I wanted to find what was lost. I wanted to know how to move forward… My only offering heart, humility, and these coins. My tongue was heavy with the wrong language.