Nicaragua (3)

The woman wore an apron and carried a tray that hung from straps over her shoulders. Her cookies were arranged in rows. She sold them one by one. She came to our table and reached out, a cookie in her hand.

“Galleta?” she asked. The nails on her short fingers were ringed in black.

We were eating lunch at the market in Masaya, Nicaragua. It was the third day of our long-awaited ‘trip back’ for our three teenagers adopted from Nicaragua years before.

My daughter reached for the cookie.

“Don’t take that,” I whispered to her. The dirt on the woman’s hands spoke sickness to me.

She glared, her disgust like a blooming black flower that had taken ten years to grow.

I crossed a line that offered no way back.   I was a foreigner.