The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

by

Reyna Grande

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Distance Between Us can help.
Reyna, Mago, and Carlos’s cousin. Because she is the child of one of Abuela Evila’s own daughters, she receives preferential treatment, and often teases Reyna and her siblings about being orphans. Élida, however, is dealing privately with the same abandonment issues as Reyna and her siblings, having been left behind in Iguala while her mother makes her way in El Otro Lado.

Élida Quotes in The Distance Between Us

The The Distance Between Us quotes below are all either spoken by Élida or refer to Élida. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Washington Square Press edition of The Distance Between Us published in 2012.
Book One: Chapter 5 Quotes

[Tía María Félix] left in the afternoon with little Javier. She promised Élida that one day soon she would send for her, and although she did eventually keep her promise, Élida had to stay behind for now and watch a taxicab take her mother away. Abuela Evila put her arm around Elida and held her while she cried. Elida buried her face in Abuela Evila's arms. It was so strange to see her crying. The ever-present mocking gaze was gone. The Élida that made fun of us, that laughed at us, that called us Los Huerfanitos, had been replaced by a weeping, lonely, heartbroken girl.

Mago grabbed our hands and took us to the backyard to give Élida privacy. "Los quiero mucho," she said, pulling us close to her. Then I realized how lucky Mago, Carlos, and I were. We at least had each other. Élida was on her own.

Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:
Book Two: Chapter 8 Quotes

Back then we hadn't known where in Los Angeles Tía María Félix lived, and even if we had known, we probably wouldn't have gone to visit Élida. We just didn't have that kind of relationship with our cousin. My father wasn't close to his sister, either, and he never talked about visiting Tía María Félix, and for years we knew nothing about her. It wasn’t until he was in stage four of his cancer that he and Tía María Félix were finally reunited. My aunt would visit him daily, and they would spend hours reminiscing about times gone by and lamenting their broken relationships with their children. While my siblings and I had been struggling to overcome the gap that was created between us and our father when he'd left us behind, Élida had been doing the same thing with her mother. And like us, they had also failed to repair their relationship.

Immigration took a toll on us all.

Page Number: 207
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Distance Between Us LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Distance Between Us PDF

Élida Character Timeline in The Distance Between Us

The timeline below shows where the character Élida appears in The Distance Between Us. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book One: Chapter 1
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
...the block, María Félix remains in El Otro Lado, and has left her own daughter Élida in Evila’s care. (full context)
Book One: Chapter 2
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
...taunts and stares—everyone in town calls them “pobrecitas huerfanitas,” or “poor little orphans.” Their cousin, Élida—the apple of their grandmother’s eye, and the “privileged” granddaughter—is their primary tormentor, even though she... (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
...rice, and beans, Reyna and her siblings eat burnt beans drizzled in leftover oil while Élida gets to pick the first chop. The only member of the household who shows them... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 3
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
Mago, Carlos, and Reyna grow jealous and resentful of their cousin Élida, who is their grandmother’s favorite. Evila washes Élida’s long, shiny hair twice a week with... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
One day, Élida is lying in the sun and letting her hair dry while, nearby, Mago and Reyna... (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
A little while later, Élida starts her taunts up again, bragging that her own mother writes her letters while Reyna... (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
...her down to dinner, Emperatriz is horrified to see what has become of Reyna, but Élida is delighted to have one more thing to tease her cousin about. (full context)
Book One: Chapter 4
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
...stayed mostly on their grandmother’s property, only venturing outside on Saturday mornings once Evila and Élida have gone to the market. These weekend mornings, they play in a nearby abandoned car,... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 5
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Recognition Theme Icon
The one who does come back is Élida’s mother, María Félix. Reyna and her siblings have been at Abuela Evila’s house for over... (full context)
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
Preparations for Élida’s quinceañera begin, and Reyna and her siblings are put to work making decorations for the... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
That night at the party, Reyna watches Élida dance the waltz meant to be danced with one’s father with a butcher from town,... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Recognition Theme Icon
The next day, María Félix leaves with her son, promising Élida that one day she will send for her. Abuela Evila comforts Élida as she cries,... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 7
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Every afternoon, Mago and Élida stand at the gate, waiting for the mail carrier, hoping that there will be letters... (full context)
Book One: Chapter 19
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Recognition Theme Icon
...could possibly be calling about with overzealous excitement. As they arrive at Abuela Evila’s house, Élida stands at the gate to greet them, and chastises them for dressing in rags and... (full context)
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Recognition Theme Icon
...and enjoy their father’s company, Reyna finds herself wishing that Papi had brought something for Élida, too, and also wondering in the back of her mind what the true purpose of... (full context)
Book Two: Chapter 8
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Abandonment and Betrayal Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Recognition Theme Icon
...every once in a while, they get a letter from Emperatriz. They have learned that Élida is now living in Los Angeles, too, but they don’t make any plans to seek... (full context)