Congratulations to Natalia Cortes-Chaffin (Fiction 2012), winner of a 2014 Nevada Arts Council Fellowship, the premier award given to writers living in Nevada. And here’s a bit from Natalia’s excellent story “Losing One’s Head”:
Her mother says “niña” like she’s singing an opera. Notes burst through the Garcia family’s two-bedroom bungalow to serenade all of Havana. Camilia glances at the clock. It’s a quarter past six on a cloudless day. She trudges down the narrow hall to the kitchen table. There’s no bacalao sending whiffs of sautéed codfish out to every house on the block. No ropa vieja with its shredded meat spiced to pique the tongue. No fried steak dressed in layers of white onion. No yucca baptized in oil. No beans: red, white, or black. Her little sister, Estrella, is tracing the tablecloth’s blue gingham stripes with her index finger. Her father is spooning unadorned rice into his mouth, the rice white like his teeth. Camilia tucks a lock of chocolate hair behind the ear that’s missing the earring she lost and pulls out a chair. Wooden legs scrape against the tile floor. She slumps down, stares at the chipped bowl of rice in front of her, daydreams of leaving Cuba and finding some faraway land where chunks of rib eye grow on trees.
“Eat,” her mother says. Onto Camilia’s rice she drops a sunny side up egg and two fried plantains.
“I heard Abuelo Julio stole a pig,” Camilia says.
Read the rest here.