Chapter 6 excerpt
By the time the plane had landed and taxied to the gate, Laura was wide awake. After wolfing down her breakfast and half of Eugenia’s, she’d struggled to pass her hairbrush through the sleep tangles in her thick hair. She gathered it up in the one barrette capable of holding it all and, after the plane reached the gate and the seatbelt sign was turned off, stood to rummage through the overhead compartment for her backpack and leather jacket. She struggled to squeeze her thin arms into the sleeves without hitting another passenger, then took Eugenia’s bag out and passed it to her along with the guidebook she’d retrieved from the seat pocket.
“Are you sure you have everything, Laurita?” Eugenia asked as she stood up.
Laura nodded, then took and squeezed her mother’s hand for a second before turning to stand in line. Eugenia’s eyes filled at the unexpected gesture. Perhaps things would be all right for Laura in Chile after all.
They exited the plane into a glass-enclosed, tube-like passageway. A late winter drizzle made it hard to see much, and in any case they soon entered a sanitized, fluorescent hallway.
The skyline had changed so much. The city had expanded both up and out, glass and steel skyscrapers now dominating the area east of downtown. Even further toward the mountains large housing developments climbed into the foothills, disappearing behind the smoky curtain of pollution that hung down into the valley. She could still see the little cablecars that made their way slowly up and down, connecting the station at the edge of the Bellavista neighborhood below to the beginning of the pedestrian paths to their right.