We walked the same streets of Cali every day on my way to school. A butcher’s store displayed the fresh cuts of the day. Pinned to a shelf rested a pig’s tail. for the next few blocks, I'd talk to my mom about the tail dreaming of the day when the butcher would let me touch it. My mom promised something better; as soon as her budget allowed it she would buy it for me. I couldn’t wait.
One day my mom waited for me with a big smile. She had a surprise for me. When we got home she served lunch. It was some kind of stew, pork stew no less. My mother knew I didn’t like wet food nor pork. I was fond of my carne frita not that thick saucy stuff with chewy pieces. I pushed the plate aside annoyed and impatient to receive my surprise that should have been given to me as soon as I got home. She knew how much I wanted my little tail.
My mother looked disappointed. That’s what I had wanted for weeks, she stressed. There in front of me carefully diced and seasoned to perfection was my wish, the tail, my pig’s tail.
What had she done to it??? Why did she cut it, diced it, when the whole idea was to pull its end and watch it spring back (I imagined)?
She explained. It was not a toy a little girl could play with. People ate these things, that was the reason the butcher had them. Every day there was a different tail. It was not a slinky.
I went to bed not totally convinced she was telling me the truth that there were other tails.
The next morning we walked down the same streets of Cali. We walked past the butcher’s store and I couldn’t believe my eyes, there it was, intact, my tail! She had lied. She had not cut it! All I had to do now was wait for the next paycheck and the tail would be mine. I would not let her cut it. Not this time.