I Wish They All Could Be Chilean Girls

Behlor Santi

Photo Credit: TOM81115

My sister-in-law is short and wants to sing. She sings everyday in the shower, she tells me, and my brother hates the sound. Leonor, my sister-in-law, is small and refuses to listen to my tall older brother. He demands an ending to the singing, yet she continues to sing. In addition, my sister-in-law has a son—a son named Carlito. My brother’s name is short, Carl, and I have a long name, Sebastian. I am Sebastian, and my brother has a two-syllable name. His son has a three-syllable name, along with a short Chilean mother who tries to sing. My sister-in-law tells me about the songs she sings, and I listen, because I want to sing, yet I have no talent. My sister-in-law says that she hates motherhood. That remark makes my brother slap her. My sister-in-law talks about the songs she wants to sing, and she mentions Shakira. My sister-in-law wants to look and sound and be famous like Shakira. My brother Carl taunts my sister-in-law’s singing and appearance. She’s ruined her figure with the baby, he says, and wouldn’t it be better to head to the gym rather than sing? My sister-in-law is small, and when she talks about singing, I imagine having a daughter named Sebastienne with my sister-in-law—a name with four syllables. I’ll sing a song about that. My sister-in-law is small enough to stuff into a purse. Carl hits her over the baby’s dirty diapers, over her singing, over her lack of desire for sex with him. I crossed my brother once, and he left a scar above my eye. Carl hits my sister-in-law one more time, and we figure out an escape. My sister-in-law is small, and wanting to sing has made her smaller. So I slip her into a #10 envelope and mail her to Chile, and my brother mourns for his missing wife. He always changes Carlito’s diapers before things get bad. My brother pretends to joke about having peace and quiet in the grip of Carlito’s squalls, and I feel good, because I will have other sisters-in-law who want to sing, and I want to feel their smallness in my envelope.


Behlor Santi’s most recent short story, “Mama-San,” was published in The Foundling Review. She currently lives in her birthplace, New York City. Email: behlorwritesstories[at]gmail.com

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