Where Gringos Don’t Belong

Posted on April 27, 2015



They forced the whimpering woman to her knees, then lifting were able to get her to stand. She cried out, hurt, and the woman with the tangled hair flung her jacket aside and yanked the short-sleeved sweatshirt she was wearing beneath it over her head and knotted it to form a sling. She slipped it around the whimpering woman’s arm and forced her to grab the jacket of the man with the flashlight. George wrapped his arm around her waist and they started along the path that led around the construction site.

The noise, the tumult, the tear gas and corrosive smoke were behind them now. A car bumped across the intersection in front of them as they stumbled along the uneven asphalt. So intent had he become on not tripping and falling, on not hurting the woman suspended between him and his companion, that he almost passed the gate to his apartment complex. Lurching against the wall of the vacant lot next to it he confusedly explained that this is where he lived, that he needed to open the gate. He tried to insert the key in the lock but without his glasses he couldn’t get the latch to move.

“I—I don’t…I can’t…”

Slender fingers clasped his.

Permítame.” Let me.

Away from the smoke and the teargas the woman with the tangled hair seemed young, no older than George. She thrust the gate open and he waited while she unlocked the door to his apartment, then squeezed past her to turn on the livingroom light and let the whimpering woman sag onto the sofa amid throw pillows, newspapers and old magazines.