Yauco, Puerto Rico, February 1932
A young man Josephina had never seen was toiling alongside the workers. He had black hair and was very tan. She watched him work and felt an unfamiliar feeling come over her.
It was something she had never experienced before. She heard Marie chuckle beside her. “Il est beau,” Marie said with a knowing little smile.
Josephina’s cheeks turned as bright as a Poinciana flower. “Mon enfant, he’s like you, an orphan. Le petre asked if we could hire him. How could I deny him, fille?” Marie asked, shaking her head wearily.
“We have nothing, but when our priest speaks, how can we refuse direction from up high?”
Marie kissed the rosary she had around her neck and made the sign of the cross. She closed her eyes, fanning herself.
Josephina peeked at him, trying not to be obvious. The young man stood up, wiping the sweat from his brow, and took off his hat. He looked toward the house and spotted Josephina staring at him.
She quickly turned away, embarrassed. Again, with telepathic clarity, Marie spoke gently beside her. “His name is Alejandro. He is such a nice boy. I will introduce you aprés mon somme—after my nap.”
A flushed Josephina quickly protested “Mère, no, you must not.” Marie chuckled louder, the wrinkles around her eyes deepening. “Listen to your old mère.
You need to be with people your own age, not us vieux gens, old people.”