Her Tiny Hand is Burned (Cati, Cati, Catalina)

"Her tiny hand is burned, it has no bones at all." That was how the lady from the church who took care of her sang. "Cati, Cati, Catalina." The lady moved her hand as if she was saying goodbye and she sang, "Her tiny hand is burned, it has not bones at all."

Hidden under the bed Cati studies the metal frame. "It's like a net," she whispers. She imagines small iron fish surround her and she shoos them away so the iron net wonn't trap them. She turns around and lies on her belly on the cold tiles. She whispers the words to the song and moves her leg side to side. She moves her right leg, the little leg that took the most slaps and punches when Mami went mad in the morning. She said Cati defied her.
All alone, Cati rocks herself and consoles herself. She falls asleep face down with her right cheek on the gray, cold tiles with that dizzying pineoil smell.

The baby is born from her jaw. The Cati who never sleeps, always thinks, always watches, knows this is a nightmare. But the Cati with no bones believes the dream is real. Insidse the dream she screams with no voice. Poor girl. She has no bones. The other Cati, the one who watches, uses her superpowers to fly. It is in this moment of flight she sees that the one who is crying is the baby. The baby is a creature of great dignity. She seizes the baby in her arms and runs away.
She rescued the baby but she had to leave the boneless one under the bed.

The girl with the superpowers escaped and kept on living. She ran away from the beating and she threw the other one away under the bed. She used her superpowers to never again feel the blows, hear the insults, so that did not give the slightest attention to the festivals of hate and rate Mami celebrated every day, in which Catalina was the Queen of the Beatings, and rode on a float of metal and flames. But what about the other one, the boneless one?

Catalina is at the dentist because she has an ache in the last molar on her right side. Because of the toothache she had to stand up her client and run out of the training session just when the woman had at last lifted the barbell without bending her elbows. Half asleep from the anesthesia Cataline remembers that baby birthed from her jaw, that girl she abandoned under the bed decades ago. "La manito la tiene quemada...her tiny hand is burned..." She remembers the song. She suddently sees the boneless girl lying under the bed, on her belly on the sold tiles. And that creature of great dignity. There is the baby, standing up in the crib. Who has been fed that baby? Who remembered?

There is no more time to waste. She must rescue her. In the dentist's chair while the blonde, charming man, digs in her jaw post-partum, the girl with superpowers executes her rescue operation.
"I lost you in a dream and now I'm going to find you in a dream>"

There she is under the bed, curled up. with her burnt hand, no bones ata ll.
Catalina begs her. "You must teach me how to cry." Catalina the powerful kneels by the bed. She reaches her arms. She draws the boneless girl onto her lap. She holds her against her chest. "Poor thing. Such a long time crying here without voice. You have to teach me how to cry. I'm a shell of strength and power, made only of bones, pure intention, pure rage. I need your tears, your tenderness."

Little by little, the boneless one slides in, penetrates Catalina through her jaw, begins to fill her body. She fills her body little by little.

Catalina begins to cry. Tears run down her cheeks. She trebles. She tries to scream and the dentist takes out his instrument, his draining tube. Catalina cries and cries. She cries loudly. She cries and trembles.
The dentist shakes his head. "How can it be? With so much anesthesia? How can you possibly be in pain?"

Next morning it poured. Catalina ran across the patio to avoid the rain. She looked at the rains and imagined the raindrops turning into snow the way she did as a young girl. Maximo strode across the patio. "Do you remember when the Alcalde of Coral got the idea to bring snow from the City for Christmas? My friend Silvito called out his front window, 'Come see the snow. It's here.' We took off running to the plaza. We ran the three blocks in minutes. I got to see how the helicopter dropped chunks of soft snow. I got to touch it and take it in my hand. I saw it melting. I said to Silvito, "In the end it's just rain."
They walked into the exercise room the way they did every morning. They began their sun salutations. After three warmup rounds, with lunges front and back, Catalina approached her weights, across from Maximo's who approached his own. They did their morning workout face to face every day. "YOu know what, my love, I later thought the snow in the Plaza de Coral was neither rain nor snow, but an arrow pointing to the real snow that existed, in reality, in some other place."
Catalina began her first set of squats. Maximo stopped doing his and watched her.
"Cati, the way you move is different. I saw it the minute I saw your sun salutations. I don't know what it is but I see it. Your movements are more fluid, more confident. I never thought of your movements as urgent or rushed before, but now I see they are no longer urgent or rushed. You haven't once thrown the weights."
Catalina nodded. "I think I recovered my bones." Maximo grimaced. "What does that mean?" She shrugged. "I'd like to tell you I'm doing what you see on purpose. But sometimes I wonder if we do anything intentionally. Maybe we only navigate coincidence. I can assure you that I now have bones but not because of me but because of yesterday's toothache that ultimately turned out to be an ache in my gum."
Maximo lifted his barbell over his head. "Well, it seems to me, the pain must have been a miracle."