Faults: A Novel
December 31: Morning
A monotonous hum wakes me, but I'm afraid to open my eyes to verify my surroundings. I lie still. Am I on the train? Did I simply dream I came home? I am stationary, not rocking with the ceaseless motion of the railway car. I smell coffee and the down-home aroma of freshly made tortillas de harina. If Mama is here, she is being unnaturally quiet.She has been lonely since my father's death. Realizing that, I try to understand why my sister Sylvia and her brute of a husband are living next door. No matter how much I rationalize Mama's circumstances, I still resent my sister's proximity. She must have manipulated Mama's emotions with a familiar tactic: a hard-luck story. At least I have heard nothing from Sylvia--yet.
Rolling my head on the pillow, Inotice my hair is still damp. Last night, following Gabi's suggestion, I took a relaxing soak and shampooed and conditioned my hair, mostly to avoid arguing with Mama about Sylvia. Before I escaped to the bathroom, Gabi seemed eager to leave. She knew I was tired from the trip and promised to see me over the weekend. I half-hoped she would offer me an alternate place to stay, but I didn't want to impose on her and her father. Jeff doesn't need to be reminded of Sylvia anyway.