She did not mean to call him callous, exactly. But she did not know what it was that she meant to call him. She might have gone on a scavenger hunt for synonyms, if only she hadn’t lost the Spanish-to-English language dictionary she bought when she thought that moving to Quito was the only thing that could ever make her happy.
She thought that there was something quixotic about Quito, and something equitable about Ecuador, where the Northern Hemisphere converges with the Southern Hemisphere. She imagined herself there, straddling the Equator.
She was horrified to learn that Ecuador’s national currency was the U.S. dollar. Ecuador was where all her old bills went to retire, the twenties with Andrew Jackson still trapped inside that oval. Ecuador was where currency was no longer current. It troubled her that the same dollar could buy so much more in Ecuador than in America. It was as if the meaning of the dollar broke down, a subprime semantic crisis, and like her Spanish words, all the dollars were lost in translation.