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Between Maria and Ninexin lies a chasm created by the death of Maria's father, which left Maria to be raised by her grandmother Isabela while Ninexin worked to build the new Nicaragua.As Ninexin tries to reach her daughter and Maria wrestles with her turbulent relationship with an older man, Isabela becomes lost in the memories of boarding school in 1950's New Orleans, where she loved and lost almost sixty years ago.Besides, his whole generation tried to reform their country, to change everything. They didn't like the way Nicaragua was being run as Somoza's personal playground, the way the dictator and his government stole and celebrated while most people lived in poverty.My parents didn't like it, even if they didn't really count as "most people." Fomenting revolution, spreading reform — it's what people their age did back then, try to turn the world upside down.
How could bringing up one not-very-interesting daughter compete with that?
Although maybe I should give them more credit; maybe I'm the follower and, really, they're more trendsetters.
How many Christmas parties have I been to on holiday trips "home" to Nicaragua where some tipsy woman my mother's age trips over her Ferragamo heels on her way to tell me how she fought in "la Revolución," how she trained and battled in the mountains of Matagalpa before deciding to help the movement in other ways, press relations, consulting on the rebranding effort?
But I wasn't everyone else, or I didn't want to be in her eyes. Now that I'm an adult, officially, anyway, I like to think I'm less stubborn.
Most of the time now, I'll ask about my papi if the timing seems right, if we hear a song that makes Madre say, "We used to sing this during the Revolución." But when I do, she still flushes and looks away and mutters something that reveals nothing at all, even if I can manage to make out the actual words she's spoken. I can tell she's upset, and I'd like to say that I stop asking because I don't want to sadden her. I just don't want to push her so hard that she blurts out what I suspect is the truth: that it's not simply too sad for her to talk about Papi, it's too painful for her to talk about him to me.