An unidentified narrator hashes out a brief character study of Salvador, a boy with “crooked hair and crooked teeth” who has no friends. Even his teacher can’t remember his name, and people often see him rushing toward a section of town where the houses are “the color of bad weather.” Salvador lives in a house with an unpainted door, and rouses himself every morning to wake his little brothers, tie their shoes, comb their hair, and feed them breakfast. He arrives either late or early at school everyday, his two disheveled brothers in tow. At day’s end, he waits for his brothers, standing there in his small body “with its geography of scars” and “history of hurt” until they emerge, at which point he takes their hands and sets off, leading them back to their mother (who is preoccupied with an infant), fading into the distance against a “bright horizon.”
In this vignette, Cisneros once again suggests that children are often more complex than people think. Indeed, this small boy has already lived long enough to experience an entire “history of hurt,” and he assumes the responsibilities of a caretaker even though he himself presumably still needs parental guidance. Though Salvador is able to rise above hardship, he receives little recognition for his efforts, as even his teacher periodically forgets his name. Cisneros implies that Salvador’s relative invisibility has to do with the fact that he comes from poverty. That his teacher doesn’t give him the attention he needs recalls Rachel’s struggle with Mrs. Price in “Eleven,” since in both cases Cisneros presents children who are ignored because of their cultural identities and the preconceived notions people harbor about those identities.