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335 pages, Hardcover
First published September 6, 2007
In September he headed to Rutgers New Brunswick, his mother gave him a hundred dollars and his first kiss in five years, his tío a box of condoms: Use them all, he said, and then added: On girls. There was the initial euphoria of finding himself alone at college, free of everything, completely on his fucking own, and with it an optimism that here among these thousands of young people he would find someone like him. That, alas, didn’t happen. The white kids looked at his black skin and his afro and treated him with inhuman cheeriness. The kids of color, upon hearing him speak and seeing him move his body, shook their heads.
It’s never the changes we want that change everything.
She would be a new person, she vowed. They said no matter how far a mule travels it can never come back a horse, but she would show them all.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, I have a fukú story too. I wish I could say it was the best of the lot—fukú number one—but I can’t. Mine ain’t the scariest, the clearest, the most painful, or the most beautiful.
It just happens to be the one that’s got its fingers around my throat.
She should have kept running too but she beelined for home instead. Can you believe it? Like everybody in this damn story, she underestimated the depth of the shit she was in.
He wrote that he couldn’t believe he’d had to wait for this so goddamn long. (Ybón was the one who suggested calling the wait something else. Yeah, like what? Maybe, she said, you could call it life.) He wrote: So this is what everybody’s always talking about! Diablo! If only I’d known. The beauty! The beauty!
No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fukú on the world, and we’ve all been in the shit ever since.