The lanky niece eagerly accompanied her aunt to the secret rendezvous. They took back streets and reached a remote house enclosed in a wire fence.
The aunt lifted the latch and opened the gate. Their intrusion startled chickens. Lizards hid behind boxes in the messy porch.
“You promised—not a word, said the aunt.” She knocked and opened the door without waiting for a response.
The shades were drawn. It took the niece a moment to adjust to the low light. An old lady with a cane came out. “I want to see the girl.”
“She has the gift.”
I spent the summer of 1968 in Puerto Rico. On weekdays, I’d sit at my grandma’s porch and watch a parade of children speed downhill to catch the school bus. One Sunday morning I woke to a similar flurry. This time, though, young men marched downhill. They wore olive green uniforms and boots, odd attire for the hot climate. They waved as they passed us. “Poor devils,” said my grandmother as she wiped her eyes. A collected murmur of sniffling filled the void they left behind. The Draft had swept through the remote barrio tucked in the mountains of Puerto Rico.