WITH JUAN THERE ARE MANY FIRSTS. He opens the car door for me to sit in the front, on the passenger side. I always have to sit in the back with Yohnny, Lenny, and Teresa: cramped. Just this, I’m sure, impresses Mamá. Marrying Juan is like going to the moon. Up front, I have the best view of the road, of the world passing me by as Juan accelerates the car, switching gears.

On our way to the hotel we stop at the Ruiz restaurant that sits right outside the city. Of course, everyone knows Juan there. The women especially. He doesn’t introduce me. He sits me at a table that reeks of Clorox. No tablecloths. No walls. Just a slab of cement on the ground and sheets of zinc held up by a few poles, to protect the few customers eating...

You do not currently have access to this content.