Jan 25, 2013

Computer Class

“When you want the arrow on the screen to move up
you slide your hand up
with the mouse,”
I explain to her.
In a small, community computer lab
in a low-income neighborhood in Buenos Aires,
Maria uses Google image search for the first time.
This is the first time she has seen
her home town in seven years,
since she left with her three children
from the mountainous province of Salta,
to escape her abusive husband.
She describes it to me matter-of-factly,
the threat of his six-foot presence. Then,
transitioning quickly, pointing at the screen,
she describes the breathtaking presence of the tall
ceilings in the church at the center of town;
the walls painted with gold leaves,
the dresses her daughters wore on Easter.
“They looked like dolls,” she says, smiling,
“but we had to leave behind most of our clothes.
We had to leave so fast.”
Her eyes well up with pixels
reflected in the screen.
I am unsure what kind of tears these are.

She points to an image of a park,
wiping her eyes with her free palm.
“There I had my quinceañera.”
“It looks beautiful,” I reply.
“What color was your dress?”

She half smiles,
looking down at the mouse,
marveling at the technology.
when you want your hand to move up,
it doesn’t move.
Sometimes you can’t protect yourself.
Sometimes it doesn’t
fast enough.”
Her smile fades.
She slowly, carefully,
slides the mouse up,
puts the arrow over the X in the corner,
and closes the browser.

“Red,” she says.
“My dress was red.”

1 comment:

  1. "Her eyes well up with pixels
    reflected in the screen.
    I am unsure what kind of tears these are."

    You present the contrast between the classroom and the village really really well. It really makes me think about the space and time lying between the two. Love it.