Academic journal article Bilingual Review

Barrio Hollywood

Academic journal article Bilingual Review

Barrio Hollywood

Article excerpt


The present. MICHAEL arrives at the front porch.

Michael: Am I late for class?

Graciela: So?

Michael: So what?

Graciela: Did you find anything out?

Michael: Yeah.

Graciela: And.

Michael: It's very complicated ...

Graciela: Locked-in Syndrome?

MICHAEL seems surprised she knows about this.

Michael: What?

Graciela: I was up half the night trying to figure out the possibility that Alex has this Locked-in Syndrome thing--like it says in the book. It says that the patient can blink and that makes everybody, especially the family, think that the person's still in there but they're not.

Michael: He's locked inside his body. I'm sorry, Gracie.

Graciela: That's Alex's name for me. (MICHAEL tries to hold her.) People think, if you have a boyfriend, you really love him, and maybe you do, but your brother, that's someone who's been with you almost every day of your life--that's someone who stays with you no matter what--'cause he's your brother.

There is an awkward silence. MICHAEL hands her a handkerchief. She wipes her eyes.

Michael: You might want to think about letting him go. When you feed him, you keep him alive.

Graciela: Yeah.

Michael: Letting him die.


MICHAEL: Just think about it.

GRACIELA: He's got to be in there. Somewhere. (Choking up at the end.) I'm not going to starve my brother and make him suffer! He's going to be OK.

MICHAEL: I wish that were true.

GRACIELA: He's my little brother; I'm supposed to take care of him.

MICHAEL: I am so sorry this happened.

GRACIELA: (Retreating to the daze of her mourning.) I can still see him there. (ALEX boxes behind the scrim, agile and healthy.) Fighting that first fight. Winning. He was beautiful to watch. The most beautiful boxer I've ever seen. It was because of the dance he was like that. I never found another dance partner like him after he quit. He moved like the wind. Have you ever watched the wind? The way it crawls into every little place unseen.

And you know it's been somewhere because of how it changes everything around it.

MICHAEL: I'm sorry.

GRACIELA: (Beat.) They really loved him in Mexico. El Lobo de Magdalena.

MICHAEL: I've heard tell.


MICHAEL: I've been known to watch a little Spanish television.

GRACIELA: Since when?

MICHAEL: Since I met you.

GRACIELA: You've been trying to learn Spanish?

MICHAEL: Poquito.


MICHAEL: (Beat.) I'm sorry to be the one to tell you the news.

GRACIELA: Well, I think maybe one of those little miracles you told me about might happen. You think?


GRACIELA: Say yes, Michael. It would really mean a lot to me if you said "yes" instead of "sure."

MICHAEL: (More positive.) Yes.

GRACIELA: You're very kind when you lie.

MICHAEL: Now, don't go and ruin it.

GRACIELA: You're very kind. (Beat.) Alex is never going to wake up again.

MICHAEL: (Sadly.) He can't.


Lights fade.


The past, days before Cinco de Mayo. Lights come up to happy times on the beach in Kino Bay, Sonora, Mexico. Sound of waves splashing. GRACIELA dances folklorico on an upside down boat. She is trying to lift her brother's hand, so he will join her.

GRACIELA: C'mon. (ALEX resists like hell. ALEX looks around. It appears that he might do it.) It's not like anyone's going to see you.

ALEX holds his ground. He is not going to do it. GRACIELA slips, straddling the boat. It was not such a great surface to dance on anyway. They both break out laughing, especially ALEX.

ALEX: That was graceful, Gracie. …

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