This story goes with the Liza Lott painting (a painting used for a past competition) and was sent in by Patrick Nelson.
She was sure the plantains had made her sick. They were brown, after all. Ricardo told her she was being ridiculous, yet here she was on the cool tile floor of the dirty bathroom in Hotel El San Juan. It was a clean floor, just dirty. The tile pattern was laid out very nicely even though the lines between had turned yellow and rusted in spots. The workmanship was a sweet artifact from another time, even for here in Old San Juan. Where was he? She knew no one except for him and Sophia the old, sweet-smelling neighbor who seemed to have lived in the hotel for many years. The tiles made her feel better. She rolled her forehead back and forth on it to cool off. Another wave hit her. She pulled herself up to the toilet, placed the towel on the edge, held back her blond hair with one hand and vomited once more. Her mother came to mind. She would have loved San Juan, even this dirty clean bathroom. She loved the romance of these kind of stories: woman falls in love and gives everything up to gain the everything everyone wants. Not what they need. Where was he? He was gone all night and most of the day now. The desk clerk has been up two or three times to get the rent for the day. At least that what it sounds like he’s asking for. He seems friendly to her, though. He is always smiling widely and looking at her closely. The boat ride over made her sick, but that was days ago.
Ricardo moved them into this room on the promise of getting them across and over the island to Ponce where he had “familia”. She pictured the day when she would fluently talk to him in their bed at night or to his family in the daytime. She would be sitting by the fire with the grandmothers making tortillas and pulling pork for taquitos. The image was the same every time it was dreamt, but now it seemed farther away and more faded. After she was done gagging (there was nothing left to get rid of) she let go of her hair, rolled onto her back, rolled up the towel and put it under her head. The bedroom with its lace pillow covers and high small windows was inviting in a quaint third world way, she wished she could look out a window, though. At first the bathroom scared her, now the bedroom was a nightmare chamber and the bathroom was strangely comforting, a refuge. A cockroach felt its way across the top row of pink tiles high on the wall. Where was he off to? She heard the hissing and squeaking sounds of brakes of what sounded like a truck. The window was too small and high to look out of. A rivulet of sweat travelled from her forehead, over her eyebrow, rounded her cheek, slipped along her jawline and flowed over her chin, tickled her throat and finally swung under to the back of her neck. She felt it dangle there before it let go and dropped to the tile.