Perched on the edge of the bathtub, I balance a laptop on my damp knees and squint through a protein-oil haze. Conditioner drips from damp spirals. The weight of the overpriced hydrating cream is so heavy that I can barely read what my fingers have frantically been typing into the search bar: “how to untangle knotted hair.”
Narratives of sexual violence fill the public air these days like gnats in summer, but I do still find them fairly invisible in life here.
My grandmother stood shaking in the open doorway. She called out to my mother and her younger sister, warning them to raise their blue canvas backpacks above their heads as they stepped off the school bus and ran across the front yard. She didn’t know what the end of the world looked like, but she must have imagined that it might suddenly rain down from the sky in large, fiery droplets.
I could get lost in the jungle, so lost that no one would find me, and months later there would be some notice for a foreigner’s body found in the brush but it would just be a paper notice, stuck on a wooden wall in the village’s main hall, for a foreigner’s body found in the brush of the middle of nowhere. In a way, I feel more myself than I have ever felt before.
Here is my thesis: Gerty MacDowell and her friends do not hold hands. They do not hug. They do much more. Flashing signals like lighthouses.