By: K.A. Ware



“Yo, Vic!”

“What?” I called out from the front porch.

“Bring me another beer!” Santiago hollered over the music. The sounds of Daddy Yankee’s Rompe poured out of the outdoor speakers and drowned out the laughter of our friends gathered in the front yard. Most people didn’t have a full-on barbecue on their front lawn, but with the way the older Portland house was set up, the front yard had double the green space of the back, and therefore the only place that would accommodate such a large group.

“Get it yourself, huevon!” I shouted back as I made my way down the steps to set the large bowl of ceviche on one of the tables.

“Fucking caprichosa! Just bring me a beer!” he shouted again making me laugh. He could call me hardheaded all he wanted; it didn’t mean I was getting his lazy ass a beer. My twin brother and I were close, but I wasn’t his personal bitch. I flipped him off, and a roar of laughter followed me as I headed back into the house to grab the last few things that needed to be put out.

“What’s going on out there?” Maria asked when I walked into the cramped kitchen, smile plastered across my face.

“Santi being an asshole as usual,” I responded snagging a tortilla off the griddle she was warming them on. I tossed it from one hand to the other attempting to cool it down earning a ‘serves you right’ glare from Maria. I’d been doing the same thing since I was old enough to reach the stove and I still hadn’t learned to take the ones already in the warmer. Once it was finally cool, I ripped off a piece and popped it into my mouth and groaned. There was nothing in the world better than fresh tortillas, nothing.

“What did he do this time?” she asked absently flipping another tortilla.

“Acting like I’m his fucking servant in front of the guys, again,” I said with a mouthful. If my aunt were still alive she would’ve smacked me for that one; I could practically hear her scolding me in my head.

Telling me to stop eating like a cow or I’d never find a husband. As if I wanted a fucking husband, even when I was a little girl I knew I wasn’t going to be some housewife, it just wasn’t for me.

“He’s just trying to flex that Mexican machismo,” she said as if I needed reminding.

I spent my whole life fighting to be able to do the things my brother was able to do. We were the same age with the same experiences; the only difference was that I was a girl and I’d be damned if I was going to be denied any of the fun just because I didn’t have a dick.

“Yeah well, he better put a lid on it. We’re partners if he needs someone to get his beer he can find a wife.” I said angrily.

Maria winced but didn’t say anything, which was completely typical. I felt a twinge of guilt realizing how that would sound to a woman, who was more of a sister than a friend, that had spent the better part of the past five years waiting hand and foot on her husband and children. The feeling quickly passed though, that had been her choice. Hell, it had been her dream since we were little kids, find a husband, pop out a couple or five kids and be a housewife. There was nothing wrong with it if that’s what she wanted, but to me, it sounded more like a nightmare than a dream.

“Come on,” I said breaking the slight tension. “The meat is probably done by now. We better get the rest of this stuff out there before people start rioting.”

A few wives and girlfriends wandered into the kitchen, and together we hauled the rest of the food out front. I had no problem cooking or entertaining, in fact, I enjoyed it, it was the fact that I was expected to do it because I was female that pissed me off. Growing up in the Mexican culture was great sometimes, but it was also stifling, I craved the freedom my brother had. One day I’d be treated in the way he was, no one would see me as a woman, they’d just see someone that demanded respect.

“Aye, prima!” Luis called out, sidling up to me and slinging a lanky arm around my shoulders.

“What’s up?” I asked, wrinkling my nose as his breath hit my face, he’d already been hitting the Buchanan’s. Hard.

“You know you’re my favorite cousin, right?” he asked, his words miraculously not slurred. He was a skinny fuck, but he could hold his liquor better than a man double his size.