69 pages • 2 hours readWendy Mills
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Alia hides between two parked cars in order to avoid meeting Mama as she exits their apartment building on her way to work; the young girl berates herself for having this cowardly reaction, certain that Lia would have confronted Mama “[…] with her head held high” (68). She overhears Mama talking to Aunt Maysan about their confrontation this morning, and remembers how much she misses all the extended family they left behind in California. Once again, she recalls that Mama’s desire to practice immigration law caused their relocation to Brooklyn. Alia is surprised when she hears Mama start to cry as she says, “I just keep thinking of her running away last year, Maysan” (70). Alia’s decision to do so was caused by her parents’ disapproval of her friendship with Carla Sanchez and their denial of permission for her to date Mike Stanley. For the first time, Alia considers apologizing to her mother, but she turns to head upstairs to retrieve her gym clothes, instead.
Realizing how much she misses her grandmother, Alia calls Nenek to announce that she has decided to “wear the scarf” (72) that morning. Nenek congratulates her on making this difficult decision, while also making it clear that she had not been angry when Mama had decided against the scarf.