Every afternoon, Mago and Élida stand at the gate, waiting for the mail carrier, hoping that there will be letters from El Otro Lado. One day, the mailman brings a large box, and Élida assumes it is for her. When the mailman hands Mago the box, Élida is surprised and disgruntled. Christmas is only two days away, and Élida is expecting presents.
Despite the fact that Élida was not so long ago humbled in front of her cousins, she still has a hard time coping when they receive something and she does not—it is such an extraordinary event that she can barely get her head around it.
Mago brings the box inside and she, Carlos, and Reyna tear it open. It is filled with clothes and shoes for all three of them, and they hurry to put the pretty garments on. All three are saddened when they realize that the clothes and shoes are several sizes too small—their parents don’t realize how much they’ve grown. Reyna wonders, if her parents don’t know “something as basic” as the size of their clothes and shoes, what else they don’t know about their children—and, more frighteningly, what they don’t know about their parents.
Mago, Carlos, and Reyna’s joy and excitement when they realize they’ve received gifts from their parents is quickly tempered when they try the clothes on and see that everything is too small for them. This painful moment shows that their parents no longer truly know much about them—every day they spend apart from their parents, the physical distance remains the same, but distances of other kinds grow.
Mago, Carlos, and Reyna decide to wear the ill-fitting clothes and shoes anyway, and they set off to run through the town and show them off. Their neighbors admire their clothes, and no one calls them “orphans” anymore. As the children run through town, however, their new shoes give them horrible blisters.
Reyna and her siblings cast their worries aside quickly and parade their gifts through town. To the others, they appear lucky and loved; on the inside, though, they are growing pained, worried, and blistered.