(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The narrator has been sent to a dusty town in Mexico to live with her cousins. She describes her lover, Chaq Uxmal Paloquin, who claims to be descended from Mayan kings, and explains that her grandmother, Abuelita, has burned her pushcart and chased Chaq away with a broom. The narrator met Chaq while selling cucumbers and other produce from a pushcart in front of a food store in the United States. She explains that she was not the first to go bad in this way; her mother also “took the crooked walk.” She struggles to describe her feelings for Chaq, seeing him as boy, baby, and man simultaneously. She says that she did not want her first sexual encounter to be like a prostitute’s and knew that it would be special with Chaq. Each Saturday, Chaq would come to buy fruit from her cart, and at night he would take her to his small room in back of Esparza & Sons Auto Repair. There he brushes her hair, tells the history of his people, and shows her his guns. He tells her how the stars foretell the birth of the boy-child who will restore the Mayan civilization. One night on his dirty cot, with the moon shining through the pink plastic curtains, Chaq initiates her after admonishing her not to tell; she feels that she is his queen and a part of that mainstream that all women wait to enter. On the way home, she wonders if any of the people on the street can tell that she is different.

Unfortunately, the narrator forgets to take the pushcart home with her that...

(The entire section is 588 words.)