María Suárez waited patiently for her bus. It was a cold, October morning, and she shivered against the wind and rain. No matter what she couldn’t get used to the cold weather here. She rubbed her arms and then pulled the hood of her jacket up over her head. The rain frizzed her hair and the cold flushed her cheeks. She wore her long, dark hair in a ponytail, revealing a broad face with high cheek bones, dark eyes, and a flat nose. She was not very tall, but her thin figure was wiry and strong; men found her to be attractive, a fact that she often found uncomfortable.
Her bus finally arrived and she was thankful to be out of the cold.
“Hola, María. Como estás, niña?” It was her friend, Orfary. They worked together for the old lady at the house. She lived a few stops before her in a rundown, old building where she rented a small room with several other people from her country. Orfary was fromPeru, and had come to the States not long after María. María sat down next to her.
“Bien, gracias. How are you?” she replied.
“After we finish work we are going down toQueensto get a lottery ticket. Do you want to come?”
“I don’t know, Orfary. It seems to me nobody wins those things. I don’t trust it. There has to be a better way to get a green card.”
“Yes, you could marry a gringo with pretty green eyes. Don’t you think I don’t notice they way they look at you? They just love your sweet, young culo,” Orfary said, nudging her.
María shook her head with disgust. “Cochino maranos,” said María. “They only want one thing. Have you seen what the old lady’s son does to the bathroom when he comes to visit? It’s disgusting! I can’t imagine marrying one of them—not even for a green card.”
“María, you need to learn to be more practical. I’ve heard the Americans are cracking down on us. The laws are getting stricter. What will you do if they find you?”
“What can they do? They can send me to jail and then back toColombia. I can always go somewhere else.”
“Niña, you don’t want that anymore than I do. My sister knows a man that would be willing to marry you for money. You wouldn’t have to live with him. He would just want a few occasional nights of pleasure. It would be good for you,” she said, smiling, nudging her once more.
“Cállate, Orfary! I could never do that.”
“Ah, Niña,” she said, shaking her head. “You need to learn to take better care of yourself by doing what’s necessary.”
María didn’t answer. Instead, she stared out the rain-streaked window at the passing scenery. The streets ofWhite Plainswere packed with businessmen and government officials who wore dark suits and carried overstuffed briefcases, huddling under big umbrellas as they scurried through the wind and rain to their jobs. At night the streets were all but deserted; most everyone who worked there lived in the suburbs. The only nightlife was a from a few college bars where people partied on weekends. The outskirts of town were filled with beautiful houses and nice cars.
On the little side streets, just off ofMamaroneck Avenue, were rows of small houses owned by Hispanic immigrants. They supplemented their incomes by renting rooms to young immigrants new to the country. María lived with a couple fromEcuador, who had been in the country for many years. He worked as a landscaper for a wealthy family inRye, and she was a clerk at the public library. Their kids all went to the public schools and spoke perfect English. María had taken some remedial English classes taught by a volunteer organization at the local YMCA. She was a fast learner, but her English was horrible, and she only used it when necessary. She mostly kept to herself and worked as often as possible.
The bus made its way downWestchester Avenueaway fromWhite PlainstowardsRye. The houses became larger and the properties more expansive. Eventually they leftRyeand headed out toward Rye Brook. Here the properties were no longer simply nicely manicured yards, but huge estates with great trees that shaded gigantic houses. María couldn’t get over how rich Americans were. Fall had set in and the trees had completely turned. María had never seen anything like it, and was amazed by the wondrous beauty of the fall foliage.
The bus pulled up to their stop. “María! Are you coming?” asked Orfary.
“Yes, yes. I’m coming,” she replied. “Aie! I hate the weather in this country,” she said.
The wind had picked up and it was raining even harder than before. The two women opened up the wooden gate and ran down the long stone driveway toward the house. The old lady was sitting in the kitchen having breakfast, her morning paper folded neatly in front of her plate. Her grey hair was neatly coiffed, and she wore a thick, dark-blue bathrobe over a silk nightgown. “Good morning, ladies,” she said when they came in.
“Good morning, Señora,” they replied.
“María, after you finish with your regular chores I’d like you to polish the silver. I’m having company this weekend,” she said, smearing some strawberry jam on a piece of white toast.
“Yes, Señora,” she replied, hanging up her coat. Before she started working for the old lady she never knew what silverware was. She never forgot the day the old lady pulled her silver out of the dining room cupboard and brought it into the kitchen in fine wooden boxes. She couldn’t imagine eating with utensils so beautiful. The old lady showed her how to apply the polish with a soft rag, and then buff it when the polish had dried until every piece glittered in the light. She enjoyed polishing the silver, if only because she appreciated its beauty.
She went into the pantry, pulled her cleaning equipment out of the closet, and headed upstairs. She already felt tired; the work was exhausting and not very rewarding. The old lady’s bathroom was the most difficult to clean because she insisted that every fixture be buffed and polished. It took quite awhile. She got on her knees and began scrubbing the toilet. She never imagined herself coming toAmericato scrub toilets, but she didn’t complain. At least she was here. When every inch of porcelain was clean she flushed. She watched the water swirl around the bowl and thought about her home inColombia.
A foggy mist shrouded the mountains where her father and brother were picking coffee that morning. The mountains were the most beautiful green from the deep, thick foliage. María helped her mother with the morning laundry. The two women knelt in front of an aluminum tub and scrubbed each garment until the stains of the jungle started to fade.
Her mother was short and plump with long, dark hair that was just beginning to show signs of going gray. Her dark eyes were lively and expressive; they seemed to radiate her inner kindness and strength. “María, after the laundry, I need you to go to El Aguila and get me some corn meal and sugar,” she said.
“You finish this. I need to tend to the chickens,” she said, struggling to her feet.
María drained the water out of the tub and hung the clothes on the line behind the camposito. They lived high in the Andes, above the town of El Aguila, on a little finca where coffee beans and plantains were grown.
As was typical with most of the campositos on the finca, the house was small and wooden with a wide porch. Hanging baskets of flowers and assorted mobiles hung from the rafters. Chickens pecked around in the dirt out front. Occasionally Pedro, the mangy old mutt, who spent most of his time sleeping on the porch, would bark at them if they got too close to the steps. What made the architecture unique was that the roof was on rollers that sat on two steel rails and could be rolled back to expose a metal bin where coffee beans, freshly husked and washed, could be placed to dry in the sun.
Next to the house was a small shed where the coffee husker was. It looked like a grinder. A hand crank turned a big, red wheel with large teeth to rip the pulp off the beans. Freshly picked beans are a bright red color with their husks on. Once husked, the raw beans are a light green color, and are placed in a tub of water to soak for twenty-four hours until they begin to ferment. Then they are flushed with fresh water in a concrete trough until they are completely clean.
It was getting close to harvest, and her father and brother were working overtime to fight back the insects that threatened to destroy the crop. Insects were their biggest enemy. Although young at the time, María still remembered the year when the insects had destroyed almost every last bean. The owner of the finca ordered the crops burned—the infestation was too deep.
She remembered standing on the porch, watching her father return home early that day, covered with soot and with tears in his eyes. She took his hand and they watched the mountainside burn. She could feel his hand tremble in hers, and for the first time in her life she felt fear; her father had always been such a proud, strong man, and she had never felt so much sadness from him. The smell of burning foliage and coffee lasted for months.
Afterwards the land had to be tilled and replanted. The Federación Nacional de Cafeteros de Colombia was constantly working to produce new hybrids to resist the insects. Insecticides were never enough; the insects adapted too quickly. In some places only eighty percent of a crop could be harvested; the rest had to be destroyed.
After hanging the laundry she went inside to see her mother. She was in the kitchen loading firewood into an old pot-bellied stove. She had been soaking red beans in a big cast-iron pot since yesterday morning, and the beans were ready to be cooked.
“I’m making sancocho for lunch. Hurry back with the corn meal, otherwise we won’t have enough arepas,” she said.
“Si, Mamá,” she answered. She took enough pesos to get what she needed from an old porcelain jar above the sink. “Do you need anything else?”
“Non gracias, mi vida. But why don’t you take a little extra and get yourself an ice cream,” she said, giving her a big, warm smile.
“Gracias, Mamá,” she said, kissing her mother on the cheek.
She stuffed the money into the pocket of her jeans and headed up the narrow path to the road. The path was steep and overgrown with giant ferns. Her house was nestled in a little valley that overlooked the lower part of the farm. High above her was where the better Arabica beans were grown. The coffee plants clung to the side of the mountain tenaciously. They were not very tall, and could easily be mistaken for any commonplace shrub. In some places they grew almost horizontally out of the vertical incline. She had seen her father and brother tie themselves off with ropes as they picked the beans and put them in baskets hanging at their sides.
She was nearly out of breath when she got to the top of the path. The road lay just ahead. Although narrow, it was well paved. It twisted and turned through the mountain villages until ending up at the bottom of the valley at the town ofCartago. Her father had taken her with him to Cartago a couple of times. The girls in the city wore fashionable cotton tops and short skirts with high heels. They drove around in fancy cars with good-looking boys. She felt out of place in her t-shirt and blue jeans, and knew that she was just a farmer’s daughter, without much hope of anything else.
El Aguila was only twenty minutes away on her bicycle. Of course, going down took less time than going up. Her bicycle lay on its side at the foot of the path. It was old and rusty, but it still worked well enough. She picked it up and wiped the morning dew off the seat with her hand. The ride down the mountain was thrilling; she liked the way the wind tousled her hair as she sped through the curves.
An occasional car drove by on its way to Cartago, honking as it passed. Sometimes one of the brightly-painted busses lumbered down the mountain on its way to market. Crates of eggs, bunches of plantains, and burlap sacks stuffed with coffee were stacked on top. Children sat on the coffee sacks, laughing and giggling, as their parents played cards inside.
More often she would see a Willys jeep coming up the road. The well-to-do land owners all owned vintage Willys jeeps. Designed by Willys-Overland for the U.S. Army during World War II, the Colombians kept their history alive and well. They kept them in mint condition, although the U.S. Army’s camouflage green had been replaced with a bright red color and other small modifications—such as cow horns mounted on the hood, or Colombian flags painted on the doors.
A small cottage industry had sprouted up in Colombia just for spare parts. Many car manufacturers had tried to market an alternative to them, but the Willys jeep had the perfect ground clearance and handled the terrain just right. The farmers would accept no alternative; in fact, they had become the ultimate status symbol of the more successful cafeteros. It was not uncommon to see a Willys jeep with more than fifty bags of coffee stacked on the back on its way to market.
María wheeled her bicycle into the center of town. The town square was lined with park benches and tall, shady trees. At one side of the square were the mayor’s office and various government buildings, and on the other was an old church, but for the most part the town was filled with small shops where the local farmers bought supplies and clothes. There were a few modest restaurants too. She parked her bicycle in front of a little grocery store and went inside.
“Hola, María. What a pleasure seeing you! How is your mother doing?” asked a short, fat woman behind the counter.
“She’s fine, Señora. She sends her regards. How is Marisel doing?”
“She’s fine. She just called. I don’t get to see her much now that she’s moved to Cartago. But she tells me she’s happy.”
“What is she doing?”
“She’s working as a salesgirl in a dress shop in the middle of town.”
María felt a twinge of envy. She and Marisel had played together as children. But Marisel lived in town and went to school while she worked on the farm. She imagined her friend living and working in the city and her life seemed so exotic. She wondered if she rode around in fancy cars with boys like she had seen the girls do in Cartago.
“Please tell her hello when you talk to her next,” said María.
“Yes, of course,” the woman replied. María picked up a sack of corn meal and sugar and placed them on the counter. “Will that be all, María?”
“Yes, thank you.”
The woman rang up her purchases and placed them in a sack. “It was nice seeing you, María. Say hello to your family for me.”
“I will. Thank you, Señora.”
She placed the sack on her bicycle and headed over to the other side of the square. Several Willys were parked in front of a small bar. There wasn’t much to the place. It was dirty and there were a few small tables where some of the cafeteros drank beer and played cards. They also sold ice cream.
“Hola, María!” they said when they saw her.
“Hola,” she said.
Most of them knew her because of her father. Her father had managed the finca where she lived for as long as she remembered. The owner, a wealthy businessman who lived in Cartago, came to the finca with his family on weekends to check on things, but most of the landowners were inextricably tied to the land and would never think of leaving.
She ordered an ice cream and sat down at one of the corner tables and watched the cafeteros talk about the state of affairs. They were grizzled, strong men who bore the weight of their trade with quiet dignity. Their faces were craggy from too much time spent in the sun, and their hands were scarred and rough from working the land most of their lives. They loved the land as much as they loved coffee. Here, growing coffee was not so much a living as it was a culture. Coffee was in their blood, and their heritage was passed from generation to generation with pride and care, despite the fact that growing coffee was barely profitable anymore.
“The Brazilians have reported record crops this year,” said one of the men.
“They’ve also lowered their prices,” said another.
“BetweenBrazilandPeruwe can hardly compete anymore, but we still have the market for the highest quality specialty coffee,” said another.
“What difference does that make if nobody is willing to pay our prices?”
“The Japanese will always pay for our best beans. The problem is producing them. It seems the insects have a stronger taste for good beans than they do.”
All the men laughed. Her father told her the Japanese loved coffee more than anyone in the world and paid top prices for the best beans, but the majority of their coffee was shipped to America and Europe, where it was consumed in mass quantities.
Although the demand exceeded the supply, they were unwilling to pay the prices necessary for production, and many farmers had been forced out of business or resorted to growing coca—a risky alternative that paid handsomely if it didn’t get you killed. Luckily, the Americans had no idea of what good coffee was, and they didn’t mind drinking the worst of whatColombiaproduced.
María didn’t enjoy coffee, but her father and brother loved it. Every week her mother roasted a small amount of beans and ground them. She kept them in a glass jar beneath the sink. Her father showed her how to brew the coffee—boil the water and let it cool until it stopped bubbling, and then pour it into a cloth strainer filled with the powdery grinds for each cup individually. They liked it strong and black.
On one of the few occasions when her father took her to Cartago, they stopped at one of the warehouses in Buga where big coffee bags were stacked on palates all the way up to the ceiling before being shipped to different customers. The coffee came from different farms all over the country, and each lot was marked with a different seal, denoting its origin.
He took her into the laboratory where tasters brewed a sample from each lot under optimal conditions to make sure it met the customer’s quality expectations. The smell of roasting coffee permeated the room. The roaster was just big enough for a single serving, and the water temperature was carefully measured before being brewed in Pyrex flasks.
Coffee beans never go bad. Some of the best specialty coffee reserved for the Japanese was more than twenty years old. The lab technician let them taste a sample. The beans even looked old—they were wrinkled and darker than the rest. They tasted much richer and mellower than the newer beans. Interestingly, they were stored on palates in the open air with the rest of the coffee. They just needed to be in a cool, dry place out of the sun. Although the experience was interesting, María made a funny face after tasting the coffee.
“It’s a shame you don’t have your brother’s passion for coffee,” her father said after they left. “You could get a job in a place like this as a technician.”
“Coffee leaves such a bad taste in my mouth,” she said.
“No matter, there is plenty for you to do at the finca. Someday you will find a good man and he’ll make you his wife. How are you and Antonio getting along?”
“Antonio and I are just friends, Papá.”
“He’s a good, hardworking boy, and he likes you. You should pay him more attention. Boys like him are hard to find.”
“Yes, Papá,” she said. Antonio was one of the farm hands at a neighboring finca. He was a good-natured boy about her age, but she didn’t find him very interesting. All he could talk about was coffee and the farm where he worked. She heard enough of that at home from her father and brother.
She wanted more than just to be a farmer’s wife. Unlike her mother and father, she had gone to grade school and learned to read and write. She had gotten as far as the fifth grade. Her teachers told her parents that she was gifted and that she should continue with school, but there was nothing either of them could do; they couldn’t afford to send her. Schools were not free inColombia, and she was needed on the farm. She continued to read on her own whenever she got the chance.
She sat at the table and ate her ice cream slowly. The men all talked and laughed with each other. It was nearly time for her to start heading back. She finished the last of her ice cream when Juan walked in. At ninety-two he was the oldest coffee picker in the area. He wore a straw hat and the traditional garb of white pants, white shirt, and a poncho over his left shoulder. His clothes were stained with dirt, and his ancient machete was tucked in his belt. He smiled when he walked in, revealing a single yellow tooth. He was a freelance picker, who wandered around the mountains, helping with each harvest as they came due. Juan’s appearance in town signified the changing of the seasons—much like the trees in the North Eastern United States.
“Juan, qué pasó?” asked one of the cafeteros.
“Mucho problemas,” he said.
“In the north,” he replied. “The guerillas are moving out of Medellín into the south.”
“How far south?”
“They are setting camps outside of Caramanta. They are killing everybody. The AUC has managed to hold them back, but they are killing anyone they suspect as sympathizers. The mountains are being ripped apart by violence. Many good people have died.”
“This is not good,” said the farmers. All of them looked scared. The guerillas were killing almost indiscriminately now, and the paramilitary wasn’t much better. The politics were getting more and more difficult to escape and much more dangerous—even keeping your mouth shut got you killed these days.
María could see their fear. El Aguila was close enough to Cartago to enjoy the protection of the Colombian army, but lately the guerillas were raiding the areas around the city. Tulua used to be a favorite place for kidnappings because it was an enclave for the well-to-do. They set up road blocks with computers linked to every major bank in
Colombia. If your identity card showed you had enough money you would be kidnapped and held for ransom. Now, however, they were walking into bars and shooting everyone on sight and taking whatever money and jewelry they could find.
Things seemed to be getting worse. Until now she had only heard stories about the violence, but this was the first time she saw fear in the eyes of the men around her. They stood to lose a lot, and she wondered if El Aguila would fall victim to all the violence that gripped the rest of the country. She got on her bicycle and started up the mountain toward home.
Her father and brother sat at the wooden table in front of the house. María made them some coffee. Her father was a short man—about 5’8” He had powerful arms and shoulders and a round face. His hair was dark and short. He didn’t talk much, and he didn’t like to listen to too much talk. Although he didn’t spend a lot of time in church he was deeply religious. He had long since earned the respect of all the cafeteros for his honesty and hard work.
His son wanted to be just like him, and in many ways he was. Although he was much more gregarious than his father, he had the same sort of honesty and kindness. He was two years older than María. He had just turned 21.
“María, make me some more coffee, please,” said her father.
“Si, Papá,” she replied, picking up his cup. “Would you like some more, Umberto?” she asked her brother.
“Gracias, Pollito,” he said, handing her his cup. Pollito was her nickname. She picked it up from the other children because she was so wiry when she was young. She always left the water boiling when they came down for lunch. They usually drank at least two cups before lunch and a couple afterwards. It got them through their long, hard day.
“María, put the rice on the table when you get a chance,” said her mother.
“Si, Mamá,” she replied.
Her mother was busy squashing slices of green plantains into flat wafers with a large, smooth rock and frying them in hot oil. When they were golden-brown and crispy she put them on a wire rack to drain and seasoned them with salt.
María put some coffee into the cloth strainer and poured some water into it. The coffee slowly drained into the cups. After serving the men their coffee, she went to get the rice. Her mother made it in an aluminum pot with some scallions and a slice of lime. She put the rice on the table and went to get some bowls for the sancocho, a stew made with chunks of beef, yucca, assorted vegetables and lots of fresh cilantro. Beef was expensive, so having sancocho was a treat. Normally her mother just made rice and beans with a bit of pork rind, an egg, and some chicken. She helped her mother turn the arepas that were cooking on an open flame on the stove. Her mother made them from corn meal and milk and kneaded them into thick, round wafers.
She and her mother put the food on the table and they all sat down. Her mother said grace, and María and her brother helped themselves.
“I saw Juan, Papá,” said María, tearing an arepa in half.
“We begin harvest next week. It should be a good season. There hasn’t been too much rain,” said her father, waiting for his wife to serve him.
“He said there was a lot of trouble in the north,” said María.
“What kind of trouble?” asked her brother.
“With the guerrillas. He said many people have died, and that the problems are moving this way.” Her mother said a quick prayer and kissed her rosary.
“These mountains are no good to the guerrillas or the drug lords. The terrain is too steep for growing coca. It’s the cattle ranches they want. Not to worry,” said her father.
“The guerrillas have passed through here before. I’ve seen them set up road blocks and stop passing cars. Sometimes they try to recruit people from the neighboring fincas,” said Umberto. “I heard they shot a car load of tourists and rolled their car off the side of the mountain just because they didn’t have enough money.”
“I thought they kidnapped tourists,” said María.
“Not anymore. It’s more trouble than it’s worth, unless they are sure to get paid. Now they just kill you and take whatever money you have.”
“Umberto, stop that talk,” said his mother.
“I hear the AUC pays very well. Nearly twice the minimum wage,” said María.
“Where do you hear such things,” said her mother.
“In El Aguila, Mamá. It’s no big secret.”
“Yes, but they don’t take everyone. You have to have been in the army and know some people to get in,” said Umberto.
“They are all butchers,” said her father sternly. “Men without honor or shame. They should be hanged for the things they have done.”
“Papá! I don’t want to hear talk like this at the table,” said her mother.
He didn’t say anything. He had seen too much bloodshed in his lifetime and watched his beloved country get ripped to pieces for all the wrong reasons. El Aguila overlooked a deep valley where corn and sugarcane grew. On some days when it rained in the valley a huge rainbow stretched from one side to the other. Although the poverty got worse every year, the beauty of the land is one thing they will always have.
After lunch María helped her mother in the house. There was not much to the place— just two rooms and a small kitchen. Umberto slept outside in a hammock on the porch. The house was raised off the ground and had a solid floor made of wood planks. Although there was no electricity, there was running water. They fared better than some of their neighbors, who slept in huts with dirt floors. The owner’s house was below them. His house was more modern and large—with electricity and a nice view of the valley.
The owner, Garcia Fernández, a fat, balding man in his late fifties, was originally from El Aguila. His father owned the farm before him, but, not wanting to follow his father’s footsteps, he left the mountains and moved to Medellín when he was in his twenties. There he worked in retail and learned the shoe business. Eventually he moved to Cartago and built a chain of shoe stores. He inherited the finca when his father died, and had moved back to the finca for awhile to get a handle on things. Partly because of nostalgia and tradition, he didn’t have the heart to sell the land outright. María’s father had worked for Señor Fernández since he was a teenager, so he asked him to take over the operations and had a camposito built for his family. María wasn’t born yet.
He had two children about their age. Sometimes they came to the finca with their father to visit. His wife didn’t want anything to do with the farm, preferring to stay in the comforts of the city. The children played together sometimes when they were younger, but they had so little in common their friendship dissolved as they got older. They didn’t come to the finca so often anymore, and the oldest son was now going to college.
María was rather indifferent towards the owner. He was polite, but when he came to visit he acted as though he were on vacation and treated her family like they were servants. He didn’t seem to care how well the farm was doing, so long as it produced enough coffee to break even.
The year the crops had to be burned, her father had to talk him out of selling the land. “We can plant new trees. They will be stronger and even more productive,” he said.
Señor Fernandez shook his head and frowned, and then looked over the scorched and smoldering earth that covered the mountainside. “I don’t know. It will take at least three years before we can produce enough coffee to make it worthwhile. A smart man would cut his losses and let someone else take on the problem.”
“But the land is worth something. It’s been in your family for generations. Your children will benefit from it someday.”
“I’ll think about it, Jair. In the meantime start tilling the land. All this mulch will make good fertilizer.”
“Si, Señor,” he replied.
María knew her father was fighting to save their home. If he sold the finca the chances were good they would have to leave. Although her father and brother could always find jobs as common laborers, they would have to downgrade their lifestyle significantly.
Thankfully, Señor Fernández decided not to sell. He reinvested in the land, hoping to profit from the high-end specialty coffee. He replanted with the finest Arabica trees. Her father took great pride in tending the crops and looked forward to hauling the coffee to town in the owner’s Willy after the harvest. It was the highlight of the season, and all the other cafeteros considered their beans the benchmark for good coffee.
But producing such quality required endless vigilance and countless hours of labor. It seemed her father and brother never stopped working, and it was beginning to take its toll on her father’s stature. Although strong and fit, he stooped a little and slept whenever he got the chance. Sometimes after lunch he would lie on the porch and fall asleep until her brother woke him to go back to work. He had never taken a vacation.
It was late in the afternoon by the time she and her mother finished the day’s chores. Her mother started prepping for dinner. After helping her mother clean house she asked her if she could go to El Aguila.
“Yes, María, but be home before nightfall. I don’t like you running around these roads by yourself after dark.”
“Si, Mamá. Can I get you anything while I’m there?”
“Non, gracias, mi vida. Have a good time.”
“Gracis, Mamá. I’ll see you later.”
She headed up the path to get her bicycle. It was Saturday, and tonight she and her brother would go to town and dance and drink beer with other kids their age. It was always the same faces, but it was fun nonetheless. She had a little money for a new ribbon that she wanted to get before they went out.