Las Muchachas

When we knew they were busy reading their Corin Tellado romance novels to each other, and watching their telenovelas, we locked the bedroom door to whoever’s apartment it was. They’d recently started calling us by our baby names and trying to make us their nenas again, offering to take us shopping and sharing their Vanidades Magazines in Spanish. We saw their fear, and we played up to it. “Ramonita, Carmencita, Inesita, Vengan! Let’s go downtown and do a little shopping.” We saw it was a trap. They told each other where we were and paid each other visitas when we happened to be there. They claimed it was to roll each other’s hair in those hideous pink curlers, or to exchange books and magazines in Spanish. But we knew they were spying on us. We didn’t fall for it, no Señoras. “No tengo ganas,” one of us was sure to say, not in the mood for shopping, or, “We are working on el homework.” We knew our mothers wanted to curb our tastes and desires and we said “no, gracias.” It was the year of diminutives.