A coming of age story.
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A coming of age story.
“Oooooo, you’re in trouble,” coos Marisol, leaning on the doorway of our very tiny and cramped bedroom. Her loose raggedy pajamas, decorated with illustrations of her favorite cartoon character, drape her small body. On her unwashed face, there’s sleep crust stuck in the corners of her eyes. Locks of uncontrollable curly dark black hair encircle her cherubic face. She’s precious, to me; she’s my baby sister. Unlike other kids, I was happy when she was born. To me she’s my baby.
“Be quiet,” I snap, frantically tying my sneaker laces. A lace slips through my fingers, forcing me to start again. My anxious eyes search our bedroom for my jacket. Where can it be? It’s not very cold today. Yet I know if I don’t bring it, Mami would get mad and just order me to find it. I don’t want to take any needless risks this morning. I must find it.
“¡Avanza!” Mami hollers from the living room.
Oh no. Done with my sneakers, I notice my jacket
jammed in the closet. Crushed among all the packed clothes, it dangles from a crooked metal hanger. Too many people, too many clothes, too much of everything except space! Grabbing the jacket’s sleeve, I accidentally knock a shirt off its hanger and fall on the floor. Irritated I scoop it up. Using my two hands, I pry free a bit of wiggle room among the crammed clothes. With great effort, I stuffed the shirt back in the closet.
“¡Avanza!” Mami yells again.
I’m taking too long.
Echoing my thoughts, Marisol with her face tense as well as her voice, says, “You better hurry.”
“I know, I know, I hear her.” I snarl.
Instantly, a sharp pang of regret pierces me. Wrapping her in my arms, I tightly hug and kiss her, my baby. She returns my embrace, harder. She knows what I want to say. In a family, some things are understood without words.
“¡Ahora!” Mami loudly screams causing Marisol and me to jump. She’s in one of her moods.
Dashing out the bedroom, I hastily say goodbye to Marisol. Zipping through the living room, I toss a quick farewell to the rest of my family.
“Your lunch!” Tía Alma reminds me from the kitchen.
Quickly changing directions, I grab my lunch from the kitchen table, thanking her.
“If you forget your lunch you won't have anything to eat,” Tía Alma laughs, washing the breakfast dishes. “Now, go. Your mother is waiting,” instructs Tía Alma, winking.
“I'm going.” I smile.