"No one wants to see a woman with dimples in her thighs" I remember my mom pointing out while we were changing into our swimsuts at the public pool. "Here are some shorts you can wear to hide the stretch marks. I didn't want to believe my mom was hateful. There must have been a reason she was looking out for me. But I know if I wasn't married by the time I was twenty-three, I would be home for good. The three states war tore through my childhood, and after the next dictator like the previous dictator said; "never again". President Milon was going to save us. My mom would bring home these mucosy drams with a gray sheen on top and a scent like old chicken that had been left out to sweat. They were from Mantoi, La Bruja who lived in the southern district in a single room tenement with exposed dirt floors. When I was ill, my mom would take me to visit. The only furnishing in the room was a narrow cot with exposed springs and a mattress barely thicker than the skin on her back. Across from the cot sat a black cauldron bubbling over a fire, and a stack of glass jars spilling further into the room upon each visit. The first meeting I remember I was three years old. She had long gray hair, thin nails swollen eyes and golden teth, and even though I'm in my mid-40's with my own children she's still alive and older still. I hadn't been back to visit since my mom demanded extra fitenning for my quinciera. But now... High atop "la montana de nietos" in the center of town, there's an old steel playground constructed as a public works project after the first war "parque de milon" with a tower for a slide and a national flag flying above. Now it is flying at half mast torn down by my husband as he ran from la policia militar, a group that consolidated with supporters of the previous regime. My mother in law came running into the house. "Elenia, You have to leave" she said. "Quick, go visit Mantoi, she will give you the strength". When I was finished sobbing, I composed myself, collected my children, Nelia and Eian and told them we were going to visit an old friend of mine. My children had always lived a blessed life. I made sure they would never felt the fear that I did as a child, nor the inadequecy I felt as an adult. But they were soft, not ready for the long nights of running and crawling through the old tunnels built by the family in case they needed to escape during the prior war. Mantoi would have a solution. A concoction passed down from her mother and her mother's mother, and my children would choke down the flavor of their new life.