One evening, Mila makes spaghetti for dinner. Reyna hates spaghetti—it reminds her of the roundworms she, Mago, and Carlos had to get out of their systems when they became infested with the parasites back in Iguala. Reyna refuses to eat Mila’s spaghetti, insisting she isn’t hungry. When Papi calls her ungrateful, Mago tries to explain that the spaghetti reminds Reyna of the worms—Papi responds by calling Reyna “ridiculous.” She begs one last time to eat something else, but Papi picks up the plate of spaghetti and dumps it over Reyna’s head. She screams and screams as her siblings just look at her with pity.
Papi is insensitive to the unique but deep-seated traumas from which his children are suffering. He is so desperate for control over them that he rejects any attempts at autonomy they make, even when those attempts are based in fear or self-preservation.
Papi retreats to his room with his beer, and while Mago helps Reyna clean up in the bathroom, Mila makes Reyna some scrambled eggs to eat. Reyna cries in the shower, wishing she could go home to Mexico and her sweet grandmother. Reyna cries hardest of all when she thinks of how the Man Behind the Glass—the Papi in the picture frame—would never throw spaghetti on top of her head. The father in this house, Reyna thinks, doesn’t know her—and she doesn’t know him.