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Flashback

June 20, 1986

The other afternoon I was talking with some friends about the few El Salvadorans we know, about how hard it is for them here financially and about how most of them have left behind their families, a fact that sometimes brings tears to their eyes when they are asked about it.

Then one friend told about a young El Salvadoran who was doing some work on her house and got a long splinter under his fingernail. As she was helping him remove it he fainted.

When he came to he was embarrassed, but then, as if trying to explain it to himself rather than her, he told why he'd passed out.

While watching her work on his fingernail he flashed back to El Salvador when he had found one of his friends dead, his body dumped beside the road. All his fingernails had been pulled out.

BRENDA MALLORY

Los Angeles

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