cinnamon” that she smelled as she and Manuel embraced each other in his room for the first time (100). Here Cofer uses food and the smells of food as metaphors for the complete love Manuel and Corazón experienced, and, on another day, they make love with the window wide open, letting in the Island smells of pungent oregano, cayenne peppers, cilantro, coriander, the “pimientos y ajíes” of their daily cooking (102-03). Even those who do not know exactly how this Spanish phrase translates into English know from its context they would like this aroma, and under those same circumstances, too.
The reader is then told that the breeze that day also blew in the scents of papayas and banana trees, and Corazón remembers their “fat little guineitos niños” that “melt-in-the-mouth sweet when fried” (103). Again, readers do not need to know guineitos means “bananas,” in the same way travelers abroad do not necessarily need to know a country’s language in order to appreciate the exotic food in a restaurant. The senses rejoice in this sensual image and in its association here with lovemaking. Cofer has succeeded with her choice Spanish diction in making these scrumptious smells and foods synonymous with this altogether mutually-nourishing Latin couple.
After that, things get real, and the edges to the Spanish words blur even more. Corazón’s kind mother-in-law was a midwife when younger, and Doña Serena (and she is “serene”) advises the pregnant Corazón to see a doctor before telling Manuel the news of her pregnancy because she has felt Corazón’s stomach and fears something is wrong with their unborn baby. Cofer gives Doña Serena these words: “‘It is best to make certain in these matters, querida, men do not like to be disappointed about babies’“ (104), and querida is not defined. But the reader intimates that “querida” (which means “darling”) is a form of endearment.