I first saw Yali in a Cuban grocery store staring at a pile of beef tongues behind the butcher’s glass. The great, late mysteries of the planet, he mumbled and picked up a caimito and sniffed it with enthusiasm. Yali was a sad fellow even when he smiled and every time he walked near me I felt the world weighing down heavy. He told me the story of his sisters and how all the men they married died together one evening on a cruise to Gasparilla. The next day they found three bloody legs on shore and one pair of shorts. His father lost their house in an arm-wrestling match and his mother had a heart attack after the maid drank her bottle of ’91 L’Ermita. She lived in a convalescent home and every saturday, Yali would visit, resting his head on her knee and asking the universe where he went wrong.
Breaking Point: His habit of passing out on the houseboat deck with a miserable look on his face and a net full of black eels.