Fifteen year old Ana has no other choice than to leave the embrace of her warm, poor family in Dominica for New York. She marries a much older entrepreneur who has loose hands. Expected to forget her own needs and put herself in service of her family, she has to fend for herself. The shock of living in an alien land so young must be traumatising. I was struck by her resilience to make something of her life. What a strong person.
Mama takes the last drag from her cigarette and puts it out on the ledge. She picks up my chin so tenderly, she takes me by surprise.
I promise nothing bad will happen to you. You go to New York and you clean his house and cook him the kind of food that will make him return home every night. Never let him walk out of the house with a wrinkled shirt. Remind him to shave and cut his hair. Clip his nails so women know he's well taken care of. Demand he send us money. Demand he take care of you. Make sure you sneak some money for yourself on the side. Women have necessities. And whatever you do, stay strong. Don't allow yourself to be tempted or derailed by anyone. The city is filled with predators, and you're just a girl. My innocent little girl. I'll come to America as soon as you send for me. We'll all go to New York to be with you, and together we'll build something. I swear to God who's my witness.
Do I really have a choice? What kind of future waits for me or my brothers if I stay?