"I bet you have nice things at home," she said, "so you can make yourself up and look real pretty."
I muttered a rebuttal, but she wasn't listening. Instead, she fumbled with her haphazardly painted toenails, which squeezed out of her tattered leather sandals.
"Today's my daughter's birthday party. Everybody's going. But not me."
Now she was crying, right in the middle of the park where the only other sounds were that of a few chavalos kicking around a soccer ball noncommittally and the periodic thump of the heavy avocados crashing down from the trees.
After a few moments, I finally asked, "Why?"
"It's at my sister's house. She said I can only go if I show up looking nice...not like this. And..." she wiped her face, looked up from her toes for the first time, and said (in a tone that clearly indicated that this next part was not an explanation at all), "...and I need to bring her a gift."