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By Esmeralda Santiago

América Gonzalez is a lodge housekeeper on an island off the coast of Puerto Rico, cleansing up after prosperous foreigners who do not glance her within the eye. Her alcoholic mom resents her; her married boyfriend, Correa, beats her; and their fourteen-year-old daughter thinks lifestyles will be greater at any place yet with América. So while América is on the market the opportunity to paintings as alive-in housekeeper and nanny for a relations in Westchester County, ny, she takes it as an indication door to flee has been opened. but at the same time América revels within the comparative luxurious of her new existence, bold to care a few guy except Correa, she is confronted with dramatic facts that it doesn't matter what she does, she cannot escape from her past.

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He leaves her hand there, crawls his own hand up to her breasts. She rubs her fingers in the down, grabs his penis, massages it hard and upright. Correa moans, turns over, rolls up her princess nightgown until it’s around her neck, but doesn’t pull it off. He separates her legs with his, kisses her breasts, licks her nipples like a kitten lapping milk, then dives inside her. The first plunge always hurts, always feels as if he were tearing her insides. But she settles into the rhythm of his thrusting, rocking movements, and soon the bed is rattling.

When she raises her head, there is nothing but blackness ahead. Her hands still smart from the blows to her daughter’s face. She laces them behind her head and presses her face into the mattress, suffo- América’s Dream / 44 cates herself in her own hot breath. She’s ashamed for herself, ashamed for Rosalinda, ashamed for all of them. She lies in bed for a long time; she might have even fallen asleep, she’s not sure. The room is stifling. The television is on in the living room, the house smells like fried chicken.

She rubs his broad shoulders in tight circles, kisses his neck, his jaw, his temple, 47 / Esmeralda Santiago presses her legs together, squeezes his balls with her thighs. In the moment when her insides seem to catch on fire, she loves him, believes he loves her, receives the promises he mumbles into her ear as, with a forceful jab, he thrusts himself even deeper, then tenses and collapses, lies on top of her, his breath fanning her hair, tickling her ears. ’ América shakes Ester gently. M ami,“Hhmm?

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