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This was published in Library Zine! Voices From Across the New York Public Library. Click here to read the full story. Below is an excerpt.

Colonized: Text


By Alexa Recio de Fitch

At Baluarte San Francisco Javier, in Cartagena, Colombia, I listened to the rhythmic sound of the waves. A live band began to play the trumpet, piano, Güiro, timbal, maracas, bongos, and claves under the moon and the stars. I saw a toucan walk along the top of the wall that surrounded the old city. Construction began in the sixteenth century to keep the pirates out, through a system of forts, lookout posts, and canons pointed at the ocean. Gazing at the Caribbean Sea, I ordered a drink from the waiter.

“Will someone else be joining you?” the waiter said.

“No,” I said.

He raised his eyebrows and said, “Oh.”

Just then, a man with profound eyes approached me and asked if I would like to dance. The waiter stared at us. Ignoring him, I stood up and danced with the man to the song “En Barranquilla Me Quedo.” I imagined that the waiter had never seen a woman go to a bar by herself in his entire life. After all, what would others say? I knew that he probably went home that night and told his wife all about it. Colombia was no longer under Spain’s imperialistic power. However, it was as if there was a new conquistador, the Colombian patriarchy, and the women were their colony.

As the man I was dancing with twirled me, I caught a glimpse of the golden hue illuminating the dome of the cathedral. Horse-drawn carriages were taking the tourists around. Then, my drink arrived. I was about to sip it, when my phone rang. “There’s been a murder at the Santa Clara Hotel,” my boss said. I hung up and put down eighteen thousand pesos on the table. After finding the hair band I had used when I went scuba diving the day before, I tied my hair up, and ran out...

Read the rest here

Colonized: Work
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