By Nevada Barr
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Her little sister, Lucia, had been assigned to look after her while Marcos was working fire crew. Lucia, just turned seven and so serious and responsible Gabriela wondered where she had come from, ran to tell their mother. Alicia and Gabriela’s mother-in-law, Guadalupe, packed her into a borrowed donkey cart for the short trip to the river. Boquillas had no doctor, no hospital and no medicines. That was reason enough to have her baby in America but Guadalupe had delivered more babies than a lot of doctors and bragged that she never lost one.
The river was up half a foot from rains in the mountains. It wasn’t more than thigh-deep, but too deep for the donkey and cart. “You’re going to have an early baptism for that baby,” Guadalupe joked as she and Alicia helped Gabby to climb out. “This is my best dress,” Gabby complained. “My best fat dress. ” “No new dresses for you,” Alicia said. “Once you have children you get no more treats. They all go to the kid. ” Guadalupe laughed. Gabriela wished Marcos was there. He could drink beer and wait and make up lies with his buddies and, when the baby was born, he could come to the river and carry her and the baby home on Tildy’s back.
Another man would be a better fit for the home life of an agent: sex and companionship, somebody to grow old with and no worries about who’d call the plumber or shovel the walks or scare away the burglars when you were away on assignment. In the service gay would not have been a plus. A lot of the guys he worked with were flat-out homophobic. It was a moot point. Darden was not gay. Whoever said it was a choice had never considered making it. Men were born wired for a socket or a plug. At least that was how it was for Darden.