One day, the school nurse comes into Reyna’s classroom to do a lice check. When the nurse is done inspecting Reyna, she writes a note on a slip of paper and explains that Reyna is not to come to school until her lice are gone. Reyna is absolutely shocked that even in El Otro Lado, there are lice. Reyna walks home, unsure of what to tell Papi. She spends the afternoon crying, afraid that Papi is going to send her back to Mexico.
Reyna is so traumatized by the abuse she has both suffered and witnessed that she fears Papi will beat her for something that is totally out of her control, just as he did with Mago very recently.
When Papi gets home and Reyna shows him the note, though, he is calm and understanding. He tells Reyna that the lice aren’t her fault—she probably picked it up from another kid at school. He warns her to be careful who she plays with, and then spends the rest of the afternoon combing through Reyna’s hair and picking out the lice. Reyna feels bliss as her papi spends a whole two hours devoted only to her.
Reyna is not only surprised, but delighted when Papi actually shows her some understanding and gentleness, and spends time tending to her rather than holing up in his room or attacking her.