22. April 2013 · Comments Off on War Games · Categories: D. 5 to 8 years · Tags:

My dad is coming.  My mom tells me to go upstairs because she needs to be alone with him.  She will call for me when they’re done.

When the amahs say that he is in the house, Nuyin and I press our ears to the floorboards.  We hear nothing.

Finally, I’m called downstairs.  Where is daddy?  My mom says that he left.  Why?

He asked to come back to us and she said no.  Then she says that my sister was her witness.   Do not bear false witness against your neighbor.  It is one of the commandments.  Why does my mom need a witness?

I see my sister standing in the doorway.  She was in the room with them the whole time.   Little old woman, that’s what the amahs call her behind her back.  Only twelve years old, and she is running the household, telling the amahs what to do and checking the supplies.  Now she is a witness why our dad can’t come back.  I don’t care why.

I run outside even though it is night.

18. April 2013 · Comments Off on War Games V · Categories: D. 5 to 8 years · Tags: ,

My sister went to the hospital to have her appendix taken out.  My mom is with her.

Uncle Pedro asks me to go with him to his room where he has something for me.  I say no thank you I don’t want anything.  I don’t like cheese and crackers and chocolates are too sweet.  I don’t even play with dolls anymore.

Then I run outside.

At dinner time, as I pass by his chair, he reaches out under the tablecloth and grabs my thigh hard.   It hurts and tickles at the same time.  I jump.  My mother glares at me.   Uncle Pedro is not even looking in our direction.

I am seething at the table.   I wish I were somewhere else.  My mom hits my knuckles with her spoon.   What?  She has never hit me.   She says my elbows are on the table.   It’s not good manners to hit someone on the knuckles either.   But I say nothing.  I don’t know who my mom is anymore.  I am among strangers.

When I come home from school, I look to see where Uncle Pedro is.  I don’t see him.  Maybe he is in his room.  I see a box of photos scattered on the floor.  My dad’s picture is on the top.  It is a large picture.  My handsome daddy.  He wrote my dearest darling Lita on it, for my mom.   I am yours forever.

Suddenly, Uncle Pedro is looking at me, smirking.   I didn’t hear him come out of his room.  He is wearing slippers.  Before he can say anything, I dash past him and run outside towards the servants’ house.  I turn and see that he did not follow me.  I don’t want to talk to the amahs either, and I keep running to the very back of the garden.  I feel hidden among the date trees.

Why did everything turn so bad?  I wish I weren’t here.  I wish I weren’t anywhere.  What if there is nothing?  Why should there be anything?   What was before anything?  I have a strange feeling.  Good strange.  I hold on to that, feeling what is before, before, before anything.  Suddenly, I am filled with the most wonderful calm.  Nothing matters but this sweet calm.

Gradually, the feeling goes away.  But I am not upset anymore.  I know that there is a place I can go, inside myself, when I need to go away.