The Day Before
Light, drizzling rain. The driver of a small car stops at an intersection. Through the slapping wipers, a red, hexagonal sign reads “Alto.” The short Central American twilight is closing in on itself when the car pulls across the sidewalk and stops before a closed gate. A tall, older woman gets out, unlocks and pushes the gate open then turns back to the car. As she opens the door again, a passerby in an olive poncho steps from behind it and looks curiously at the woman.
“Are you Sor Maria Elena?”
“Are you not Sor Maria Elena of the Order of the Our Lady’s Charity?
“I am the Señora Dolores…Zelaya.” Her throat swallowed the last syllable.
“You were the Sister, though. Were you not?”
“I was.” Her tall frame rose straighter. “I suppose I still am.”
She gazed at him. “I know why you are here,” she said. “Do you?”