Colleen Kinder When I ask the mother superior if I can have Luisito for a day, she stares at me as if I'm asking to borrow the baby Jesus. Luisito is the smallest resident at the Bejucal nursing home--adopted son of the nuns, pet of nurses and old folks alike. By the end of my monthlong volunteering stint, I've become as unabashed about my favoritism of Luisito as any of the staff. I've also become so bored with my own volunteerism--sloppy attempts to wield a Cuban mop, campaigns to enliven the dementia unit--to desire Luisito's company at all times. He's both my sidekick and daily salvation. As my month of volunteering winds up, I tell him I'm plotting our escape to Havana. Luisito and I will go on a Cuban vacation the right way--the way the non-Cubans do it. The mother superior finally grants me permission but warns that Luisito is not to consume beer. He must be back in Bejucal by nightfall--sober and unsunburned. The next step is to negotiate a ride for myself, Luisito, and Luisito's wheelchair in an ancient Oldsmobile full of commuters. I think I see dollar signs in the taxi driver's eyes when
Prairie Schooner – University of Nebraska Press
Published: Jun 25, 2009
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