Yuca and Dominoes
by José Pablo Iriarte
Carmencita sways into Ana Teresa as they stagger down the sidewalk, shooting pain up
and down Ana Teresa's bad leg and nearly knocking her over. The sour stench of vomit wafts off
of Carmencita. She says, a little too loudly, "You're a good friend. I'm glad I'm stuck here with
Ana Teresa is in no mood to listen. It's Carmencita's fault they're walking through Miami's
Little Havana at two o'clock in the morning, drunk and underage.
"Thanks," she says anyway. "We're not stuck, though. Keep walking; we'll make it. If
we're lucky, your parents and my grandparents won't even find out."
Carmencita shakes her head. "I don't mean here. I mean, yes, here, but not here on Eighth
Street. I mean all of it. We're all stuck here. ¿Entiendes?"
"No, but that's okay." She doesn't expect Carmencita to make sense right now anyway.
"We're stuck at Casa Varadero. Nobody . . ." she trails off. Ana Teresa puts a hand on her
friend's arm to steady her. "Nobody ever leaves," she finishes at last.
"I'll leave." Damn right she will leave. She has too many awful memories tied up with the
ancient apartment building for her to stay. Two more years of high school and then she is done
with Casa Varadero, done with Little Havana, done with Miami, even.
"No you won't," Carmencita says, her head shaking. "It's a curse. Or something."
Ana Teresa frowns. "Don't be stupid. It's an apartment building, not a jail. People leave all
"Yeah? Like who?"