It all started when he sat next to her on the bus.
It was her first day of school. High School, Fall of 1965. Maria had just arrived in the United States & she spoke very little English. The only words she knew were from bits of popular songs she had sung to tourists on city street corners in Honduras.
She had listened to them through the window of a rich girl, while she sold bread on the streetcorner. She became good enough, she could sing them to the tourists as they passed by. Enchanted they would give her money for her songs. Soon, she sang instead of selling bread.
Here she stood in the crisp morning air, brought to the US to get an education by some soft-hearted missionaries. They had heard her sing and when they asked her what she wanted most she had replied an eductaion.
Nervously, the songs spun through her head meaningless & pretty words, without any use.
Suddenly, the bus pulled up bellowing smoke, and emitting a sulphurous stink. With trepidation she stepped onto the bus.