Last Updated September 5, 2023.
This short story is told from the point of view of the unnamed narrator. Just a young adolescent in the 8th grade, she works on Saturdays selling fruits and vegetables from the family's pushcart. This is where she meets her lover, whom she calls Boy Baby. After a short tryst, she finds herself pregnant and the shame of her family. That results in her being sent to Mexico to live with her cousins.
Chaq Uxmal Paloquin, also known as Boy Baby, is the narrator's lover. He says that he is the descendant of Mayan royalty. He is a mysterious man who tells the narrator that he does not even know his own age since time is an irrelevant concept to him. The narrator tells us that "he seemed boy and baby, and man all at once." His physical appearance is not described in the most flattering way, with his uncut fingernails, burnt fingers, and dusty hair. But he does exude a certain physical strength. He says that he is still connected to the ways of his ancestors and speaks the Mayan language and prays to the old gods. We eventually learn that all this is a lie. Chaq is actually named Chato, has no Mayan ancestry, and is 37 years old. The last we hear about him is that he is in trouble with the law.
Abuelita is the narrator's grandmother. She is clearly not a fan of her granddaughter's choices. We are told she chased Chaq away with a broom when he came looking for the narrator. Abuelita is a suspicious woman who is determined to keep her family on the straight and narrow. It is her idea to send her granddaughter to Mexico to hide the family's shame.
Uncle Lalo, the family patriarch in the United States, seems to often receive the majority of the wrath of Abuelita. Uncle Lalo is quick to blame American society when he discovers how his niece has strayed.
There are brief mentions of other people in the neighborhood, like the other girls who play hopscotch and the upstairs neighbor who arouses Abuelita's suspicions. We also hear several mentions of the narrator's close friends and confidants, Rachel and Lourdes, as well as her cousins in Mexico.