An Excerpt from The Green Path

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Chapter 3

From The Green Path by Steven Clark

The fifteen-mile drive to Eshcol was almost over when Concepcion turned to Judith.

“Stop the car. Please, Profesora.”

Judith did, and Concepcion got out to gaze at endless fields of corn, ripened and soon to be harvested. Judith came to her side.

“The milpa.” Concepcion said this under her breath. It was the Quiche word for corn, and her using it instead of maize told Judith Concepcion kept her Mayan roots, somewhere under all their talk of airline travel and classes. This was good. Judith was ready to bond. “Not like home,” she said in Spanish, “where you have small parcels of corn on hillsides. Everyone does their own plot.”

Concepcion absently nodded as she reached through the fence to stroke the tall stalks, taller than she, her fingers caressing the tender green ridges of the husks. “It’s good milpa, and it goes to the horizon. Like a sea. In America, no one must go hungry.”

“People are,” warned Judith. “It’s like in Guatemala. But things are better here, although I’m not crazy about America, believe me.” She checked her passions. “When I was down there, I saw so much.”

Concepcion nodded. Crows cawed overhead, then roosted on a solitary oak. She studied them and smiled at their bantering.

“I was in the Peace Corps,” Judith’s hands gripped the fence, “and was posted near Sacapulas on the Rio Chojoy. I always liked how people worshipped the milpa. The costumbres.”

It meant the customs, and to the Indigenos, the natives, it defined a world of ceremonies and rituals. “You remember?” Judith spoke in Quiche to a staring Concepcion, “the best ear of the crop is taken and planted in the floor of the house so the gods will bless next year’s harvest.”

Concepcion’s eyes blinked, ignoring being addressed in her native tongue. She returned to her formal Spanish. “I will have my own room? At the college?”

This caught Judith off-guard. “Probably not. They’ve closed down one dorm because of budget cuts. The college wants you to meet other people. Socialize.”

“I must have my own room. I requested that in my application.”

Concepcion turned and went back to the car. She closed the door, and her face said drive. Like in Guatemala, where Judith remembered upper class girls expecting deference from the servants.

This page is Copyright 2012 Black Oak Media, Inc.

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