Falsas Promesas

By Oscar Mancinas

There’s a point in the party where the men say to the women I love you. No. I REALLY love you. They sound angry, but what do love and anger have to do with each other? Mamá and las tías act like they don’t hear them. They’ve felt this before: the 2 am summer, the norteña pouring from the speakers and collecting on the floor in a sea so big, so deep, no one gets out. They close their eyes, and they face the darkness of the ground or the darkness of the sky. It’s been the same darkness their whole lives, even now—even en el otro lado, where people pay cash to have their houses all look the same—here, too, the darkness overflows from the cups, the cans, and the bottles, and the children try to drink it. Drink it all before the adults open their eyes. The lights come on and we’re still.

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