by Angie Cruz
Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción doesn’t want to marry Juan Ruiz, a man twice her age who promises to take her from the Dominican Republic to New York. But with her family counting on her to bring them all to the United States, she sees no other choice.
One kiss and suddenly I’m una mujer. Not a niña or jovencita but a woman. I touch the mirror to understand how it happened without warning, but with the hot-pink dress on, the girl who had never been kissed is gone. I am Ana, about to be married and to travel to America. Juan Ruiz is expected before noon. I look into the distorted mirror at the white lace ruffles around the neckline over and around my shoulders. The dress cinches at the waist and barely covers my knees. Juanita has blown out my hair and tied it back into a bun at the crown with ribbon upon curly ribbon, in white and pink. I put one hand on my waist, shift my hip to one side. Is that really me?
Angie Cruz is the author of the novels Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee, a finalist in 2007 for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. She has published work in The New York Times, VQR, Gulf Coast Liter