Her Name Is Patina Alvarez


It was surprising how perfectly fitting her name was, especially considering how simple her parents were. Their idea of birth control was a month long vacation by car with the whole family, all seven or eight of them, later there would be nine or ten. They were not bright people. To further express this point, if all had gone right, Patina’s name would have been Patella. They were absolutely crazy for the kneecap, and who wasn’t? It was the late 1970s.

When Patina cried, which was more than often, her bronze skin looked like it was scuffed, revealing something of greater value underneath, while at the same time offering a sheen of rust. Her greatest complaint was, “I’m visible when I need to be invisible, and conversely, invisible when I need to be visible.” Very unfortunate that she only said this when she could not be seen, but that was her plight.

On a day very much like the day before, Patina took an impromptu selfie in front of a hot dog stand. This was a rare moment. She made it the wallpaper on her phone. She obsessed over her apparent frown, and tears leaked from her eyes. By the way, it was the fourth time she cried that morning. She shook her head, wiped her tears, and erased the picture. She retraced her steps and retook a selfie in front of the same hot dog stand. She used every ounce of positive energy inside her and forced a smile. This nearly wiped her out.

This was it, the best selfie ever, or as some of friends say, evah. She hated that. Without even looking, she made it her wallpaper. She nearly fainted to discover the picture of the hot dog stand was perfectly in focus, but she was nowhere to be seen.


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