Two sisters working to mend and maintain their relationship share breakfast in Gabriella Navas’s “Ahorita,” this week’s New Voices story! Sonia, a new mother, has begun insisting the two need to reconnect, and it is Leticia who suggests their weekly breakfasts. Leticia and Sonia “believe in big breakfasts,” something they inherited from their parents and grandparents. But will breakfast be enough? Read on below.
Leticia loves Sonia, but she doesn’t know how to talk to her, and this, she thinks, is one of the many reasons why they’d only seen each other a handful of times in the last few years, almost never while Sonia was pregnant. But then the baby arrived and here was Sonia, materialized weekly at Leticia’s kitchen table after so many missed milestones and unreturned texts.
In the morning, the kitchen table is drenched in so much sunlight that it keeps Leticia’s coffee warm while she forms and fries the sorullitos.
Her sister, Sonia, who has recently gone dairy-free in an attempt to shed her baby weight, has requested them without cheese, and since today is their weekly breakfast date, Leticia relents despite her own cravings.
She’s never been able to get them to look like the ones she sees on social media: the ones that are perfectly cylindrical, that could easily pass for mozzarella sticks if someone were to look at them quickly enough or from a distance. Hers always come out looking like her mother’s: fat little ovals, pointed at the ends. As she watches them go golden-brown in the pan, she thinks of the white food blogger who went viral for her healthier take on sorullitos, opting to bake instead of fry them, opting for coconut oil instead of butter. Low-fat cheese or none at all. Sonia had sent her the video two nights before, followed by a text that said, Maybe we should try them this way, to which Leticia had responded, Get the fuck outta here.
Leticia looks down at her hands, glistening with vegetable oil, and decides not to wash them. Instead, she takes two fingers and swipes the oil onto the apples of her cheeks and the ball of her nose, which she knows she will regret tomorrow when her face inevitably breaks out, but for now she just wants to feel less bare, less exposed, to put some kind of barrier between her skin and the world. She remembers when Sonia had first announced her pregnancy, how their Titi Claudia had said she already knew because of el brillo, el brillo. The glow, the glow.
After removing the sorullitos from the pan and placing them on a plastic plate lined with paper towels, Leticia walks over to the kitchen table and takes a sip of her coffee, already her second cup of the day. She listens to the elevator rattling through the building on its way up. Outside her window, she spots Sonia crossing the street, and she figures that now is the time to start playing the collaborative salsa playlist they made specifically for these breakfasts, to fill the impending silence.
Leticia knows that Sonia will take the stairs, not the elevator, which gives her enough time to take her meds, hide the bottle, and change into a shirt that isn’t stained at the pits. She pulls her hair into a ponytail and puts on her largest gold hoops, the ones that almost reach her shoulders, which she’s always afraid will get caught on something and be ripped right off her lobes. She wonders what that would feel like, if it would be so quick that she wouldn’t even notice until hours afterwards, or until someone pointed it out and asked her what happened.