The rain had stopped but still he did not come. Her narrow gaze swept the barren streets, past the tobacco stand and the trio of tourists waiting for their taxi, over the newly clean asphalt, and lost itself just over the bend in the road. From this distant point her son would emerge in his pale white Peugeot until he drove to one of the sixteen open parking spots that she had counted that morning. But it was past noon, nearing lunchtime, and she did not know whether to boil the lentils for two or to save herself the trouble and just make herself a salad. She walked to the window, as if to will him to appear on the road below, and stood there, waiting.

The building in front of her was a hotel. Behind that was the wild mountain: jagged, green in patches, clinging to the rocks like mold on forest stones. The clouds cut their bellies crawling down to the city when they passed through the cordillera. The rain had stopped, and she watched the leftover mist dancing on the early spring wind, clinging to the jackets and umbrellas moving quickly away from her in every direction. But, resolute, she did not lift her gaze from that distant point, hoping that bone-colored machine carrying her firstborn would materialize in time to celebrate her seventy-fifth year of life. Because, if she was sure of one thing, it was that this year, he would remember his mother’s birthday.


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