Archive for December, 2011

Dec 21 2011

Portfolio III

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It’s a good thing we only had to write two short stories because, tell you the truth, it was even harder than writing poetry. With poetry I knew where I was going because I was following a rhyme scheme so as I was going I knew A had to rhyme with C, B with D and so on; the ideas were flowing in and out. With each rhyme, it felt like the path to the end was weaving on its own and all I had to do was choose the rhyming words to sort of give it direction. With the short stories, however, there is no limit, no rhyme scheme to guide me, and that was challenging. For example, developing the plot – the character is at certain point in the story, so how is he or she going to proceed next? Will she have a weapon to protect herself? You know, which path will I have the protagonist take to get to that endpoint. So there was a lot more decision making involved. Also sometimes as I was writing I’d be bombarded with one idea and then another and I’d just have to stop and think “which idea do I like more? Damn I can’t decide” and then go through a whole process. More often that though, I would get stuck in one spot and then I’d go crazy trying to figure out how to move on from that point. Trying to phrase my idea, make the sentences flow and find the appropriate words to describe the character, the situation and get the emotions across to the reader was my biggest challenge, that is where I got stuck the most.

When revising my long short story, I mostly focused on grammatical errors as well as punctuation so that the audience can get a good idea of the tone and how the character feels. I tried adding more details as I was going through the story but it just wouldn’t flow so I decided to leave it the way it was written. I tried to write an ending that was ambiguous but I don’t think I succeeded in that task. I didn’t want to explicitly state whether or not the girl in the story dies, I wanted the audience to come away with their own conclusions but I bet that anyone who reads the story will assume that she has met her doom. Also, I didn’t want to give the girl a name but the way the story was going in my head left me no choice in the matter. I was really careful, or I tried to be, in my choice of words while writing my short-short story because I was trying to sound like a guy; the whole time I was just thinking “does this sound like a man? Is this what a guy would say or think?” The death of an only parent is devastating but I was still worried that I made the character sound like a whiny and sad little girl instead of a teenage boy who suddenly finds himself carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Hopefully you can tell that the story was written from a male point of view.

I absolutely do not regret taking this class at all because (not only did I meet great people) but most importantly I learned that I suck as writer. Writing just doesn’t come easily to me, I literally sit there for hours and think of what to write and how to phrase the sentences so that it flows and sounds good; of course I already knew that I have difficulty writing but this class made me face the reality of it. And that’s not a bad thing because at one point in my life I wanted to be a writer but now I could safely cross it off my list. At least I could say I gave it a try.

I thought creative writing would mostly be writing short stories, like we’d have to come up with a different piece of fiction each week but I’m glad that wasn’t the case and not only because short stories presented themselves to be the biggest challenge. I like that we had a chance to dabble in other genres like poetry and nonfiction. Honestly, on the first day of class when I heard that we had to write poetry, I kind of freaked out on the inside because I always found poetry to be the hardest thing to write. I don’t like American poetry and I don’t get it (most of it anyways) so I thought that’d be the biggest obstacle. Fortunately, I turned out to be wrong; it wasn’t that bad and I actually had fun coming up and experimenting with different verses. I enjoyed writing the nonfiction posts the most, it something that came easy to me because I do a lot of observing and thinking on the bus anyway so I all I had to do was transfer it to paper. I didn’t have a problem letting people know the real me. And I didn’t have a problem keeping up with the blog posts, in fact I love the whole idea of the blogs and each week I found myself hungry for comments; I couldn’t wait to see what you and my classmates thought of my work.

 

P.S. I never got back my cover letter for portfolio II so maybe you could summarize your comments and post that as well? I would really appreciate that.

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Dec 15 2011

Responsibilities (whole story put together)

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Everything seemed like a blur as she looks out the window of the bus. Everything’s a blur in her head. Automatic voice comes on “Please step away from the door”. She backs up and rests her head on the pole she’s holding.
Not even the door wants me next to it.
There were only three more stops till she gets off and heads to work.
Work…to shovel snow at 4 am in this freezing weather.
The girl looked depleted. She had so much on her plate, so many responsibilities put on her shoulder; so much to do for a 19 year old girl.
I should be sleeping, waiting for my alarm to ring so I can start getting ready for school. Doesn’t seem like I’m going to class…again.
She stares out the window wishing she was just back home. In this state, she could sleep through anything, but she had to stay awake. She needed to work, to make money, she needed to take care of Max and Brian.
It’s amazing how I haven’t flunked out of any of my classes. Guess doing the bare minimum actually keeps me from getting that dreaded F.
“Dorothy st” booms out of the speakers of the bus. The announcement jolts her up out of her haze. She presses the yellow tape to signal her stop.
Being Dorothy doesn’t sound too bad right now. I would love to play around with old looking children, psychotic monkeys, bitchass lions, tinmen and scarecrows. Everyone wanted to be with Dorothy. Doesn’t sound so bad…to be wanted.
The bus jerks to a stop. Luckily the girl had perfected her bus/train posture to keep from falling. She’s been on public transportation enough to know how to avoid falling over. If standing, a firm grip on whatever you’re holding and legs should be spread apart at a slight angle. She puts her hand on the backdoor to push it open but it doesn’t want to budge. Anger builds up in her and makes her face slightly red. “Backdoor!” The bus driver pushes the button to open the door for her. As she steps out into the blistering cold she wraps her scarf around her head to cover her mouth and nose firmly and puts on her monkey hat and then hood to complete, what she calls, her eskimo look.
Damn door! You’d think I’d learn by now to go to the front of the bus. Not even, the freaking drivers can see there are people at the back door. They should automatically press the button cuz they know we’re gonna be yelling at them to open it anyway, seeing as IT NEVER OPENS!
She continues walking to get to the school she’s been working at. She’s only a few blocks away from warmth until she has to come back out to start shoveling the walkways, stairs leading to the main doors and the entire backyard. This is the third time this week she’s had to come in and shovel. She likes the pay when it snows since she gets paid double but missing school, losing sleep, and barely eating didn’t sound too appealing.
All this shoveling is gonna have me looking like an old woman sooner rather later.  There’s so much snow, it’s up to my knees. God I just want to get this over with.
She keeps walking while trying to hold back the tears. She doesn’t want to be looking all puffy when she sees everyone at work, especially her best friend Silvia. Anything she needed Silvia was always there to help her out. Silvia fed her, gave her old clothes she didn’t wear and gave her extra cash here and there if she needed it. The girl appreciated everything she did but was never willing to open up to her about what was going on with her and the boys. She didn’t need to burden her with the load she’s been given because that would be exactly what Silvia would do. She would find out and want to help as much as possible even if she herself had a lot of shit going on. No. The girl was going to keep a strong face.
Just 1 block away and she’d be at the school. With all the snow, it was taking her 20 minutes to walk a few blocks rather than the normal 5.
It’s like walking in fucking quicksand. I hope Silvia has that coffee waiting for me.
She continues to trek her way through the snow when she notices a man on the corner smoking. The man looks white with a sullen face. He’s tall, chubby and only wearing a sweater.
All that fat he’s accumulated throughout his life is probably keeping him warm.
She’s a few feet away from him when he tells her in harsh, trying-to- sound-suave, voice “Hey mamacita. Looking good today.”
You can barely see my face with me having it covered the way I do, let alone my body in this puffy ass jacket. Yea, I’m looking good! You dumb idiot,  you’re gonna be ignored.

He stares at her while she passes him, completely ignoring his existence. All of sudden she is jerked back and falls on her back. The man had grabbed her and was standing right above her. “I was talking to you bitch. I just gave you a compliment and you wanna ignore me. The polite thing to do is to say thank you.” The girl just looks  at him and says nothing. She’s been harassed before,and has dealt with it fine, besides it’s expected around this time. She wasn’t going to let this guy scare her. She turns so she could use her hands to get up off the floor. “Alright, fine. Thanks. Now leave me alone.” As she tries to push herself up, the man plants his feet on her back and pushes her hard unto the icy covered pavement. Her face hits a block of ice in the snow and opened a wound right above her left eyebrow. She’s bleeding profusely.
No. This can’t happen to me. Please no.

Trying to crawl away, she is jerked back by the attacker pulling her hair. He tries to drag her to a corner but with the force of the yank instead he pulls out a chunk of hair with some skin attached. It’s as if the streets became silent; no wind, no birds chirping, no cars passing by, nothing. An eerie scream was heard throughout the world. “Stupid bitch. Shut up!” the man murmurs. The violent force of the yank had her falling on the floor again with an open wound to the head. Once again the back of her head hits the pavement with a loud thud. Almost immediately a bump starts to form. She is dazed for a second. There’s a mixture of blood, sweat, and snow on her hand after wiping her face. Breathing heavily she lies perfectly still.
Please God…please help me. I can’t die. I’m not gonna die. They need me. I’m all they have.
He grabs her, snatching her hair yet again but this time makes sure he has a good grip. Pulling her into the side of a building, the girl is holding on with both hands to his arms so the pain wouldn’t be as harsh. The attacker throws her down some small steps leading to a doorway of a basement. Not expecting this, she falls back first, rolling down the stairs doing a flip. She pulls out her arms to try and stop herself. CRACK…her index and middle finger on her left hand dislocate. She lets out a short yelp while getting into a fetal position on the bottom of the stairs where she has landed. “I said to shut the fuck up bitch.” A swift kick came right across her face. Leaving her body exposed, she brings up both her hands to her face. Repeatedly the man kicks and stomps her relentlessly with his boots to her entire body. Each kick worse than before. She makes an effort to protect herself as much as possible. She cries out “PLEASE…PLEASE STOP! I’M SORRY, I’M SO SORRY JUST STOP!” but to no avail. The man tramples her continuously. Never seeming to tire, kicking for what feels like eternity.
OH GOD! MAKE IT STOP! MAKE IT STOP!
But eternity has to end someday. Taking a step back, the man admires what he did to the girl, fascinated by the red that’s covering her face.  She can barely move. Her damaged body consists of two cracked ribs, blown out right ear drum, internal bleeding, busted lip and bruises and cuts covering the rest of what remained. “Gonna walk away from me now, huh babe?” laughing maniacally he walks towards her, unzipping his jeans.
Just go to another place…lord, just take me somewhere else.
He puts his arms under her armpits to drag her through the doorway. She has no strength left in her. He places her on the floor across from the open door. The attacker pulls off her jeans down to her ankles and then reaches for her underwear. “Oh yea, you looking good alright.” She falls unconscious.

Snow falls through the open door on the face of the battered girl still unconscious. Her jeans and underwear are around her ankles, her shirt is ripped leaving her bra showing, her right breast is out of the bra. The only thing she is still wearing is her jacket which is wide open exposing her naked body. A gust of wind comes through the door bringing in a storm of snow hitting the girl like needles. Her eyelashes  flutter, the needles brought her back. Dazed, she opens her eyes slowly and looks at her surroundings. Groggily she attempts to get up to a sitting position. She stares out the door seeing that it is still snowing and realizes she’s freezing. Looking down at herself, she sees her bare body. She stares and stares, not wanting to believe what has happened. She knows what this means. A tear, one single tear rolls down her cheek. Not one thought is going through her mind; just pure silence is heard throughout her head.
The sound of a horn brings her back to reality. She wipes her tear away.
I need to get up. I need to go to work. This is nothing new. Same situation, different guy. This…this is nothing. This is nothing.
Her body is completely numb. She barely feels any of her injuries. Standing up, she bends down to pull up her pants and underwear. A gasp escapes her mouth. The pain of her cracked ribs finally hits her. With one arm she holds her ribs and the other she pulls up her pants. Breathing hard she continues to cover up as much as possible. She wraps her torn up shirt around herself and zippers up her jacket. She realizes she’s missing her scarf and hat and looks around the floor.
The scarf was towards the back of the room, swept by the winds coming through the open door. She shuffles toward the back of the room and gradually leans down to pick it up and come back up. The girl brings up the scarf to cover her bruised face as much as possible. Once she was sure the scarf was secured she continued to look for her hat. There was no sign of the hat. To this she started sobbing.
Where’s my hat? Where’s my fucking hat?! She grasped the wall for support. She was feeling herself crumble. Everything was finally hitting her. It was overwhelming. I can’t take care of the boys, can’t take care of myself, can’t fucking take care of the last thing Alex gave me. I can’t do anything. I’m worthless, just like he said…he always had it right. Alex always told me I was something special, will be something great. Never should have believed him. He…he was always right. Alex told me not to listen to him but… he was right, always right.
After a few minutes had passed, her crying had subsided. Her scarf had gotten wet from all her tears and snot but there was nothing she could do. She had to hide her face, the bruises from Silvia and everyone else at work. She couldn’t report this. There would be too many questions from the police that she could not answer.
Why are you out so late? Where do you live? Who are your parents? Can you call one of them to pick you up? No. They’ll find me and take the boys away. I’ll never let them touch us again. They are not our parents anymore. I’m all Max and Brian have now. Instead of their sister, I’m their mom, I’m their dad. Alex isn’t here anymore to protect us. It’s only me. I need to…to go to work. Max and Brian need me, need the money. Nothing happened, I can…can keep on going…for them.
She looked up and started breathing in through her nose, out through her mouth to stop herself from crying again. As long as she did everything slow, no one would notice anything.
I’m covered completely, except for my eyes. I can pull this off. I can do this.
The numbness started to go away, she was getting warmer but it was replaced by pain. Her battered body began to feel everything little by little. Though it hurt her, she tried to stand as straight as possible. She walked out the basement door and made her sluggish legs climb up the stairs and commenced her walk, dragging her feet, to the school. It was just a block away now which she was very thankful for.
“She’ll be here, now stop pestering me and go to work. Traffic must be crazy outside because of the snow which is probably why she’s late” Silvia, agitated, told Kevin. She and Kevin had been shoveling the snow outside for an hour by themselves wondering where the girl was. Silvia was getting really worried. It wasn’t like the girl to be late at all. She was always on time and always saying yes to any available shifts that no one else wanted. Silvia knew she wouldn’t miss a chance for work knowing she has to feed the boys. Silvia couldn’t believe the girl, being 19, goes to school, work and takes care of her 8 and 10 year old brothers. After their older brother died, the job of taking care of the boys fell on her. “As soon as she gets here I’ll…” she sees the girl looking aimlessly for them in the backyard. Silvia looks directly at Kevin “Seeeeee! She’s here, now go to a corner and shovel. Don’t bother her! She’s here so just let her do her job.” Even though he’s the boss, Kevin almost always listens to Silvia. He turned red and left with a huff.
Slowly the girl makes her way to Silvia. “Where have you been? Is everything ok?”

“Yea, I am. I’m sorry I’m late; the snow was crazy to the point where the bus got stuck a few times. Is Kevin mad at me?” the girl asked weakly.

“Don’t worry bout Kevin, I’ll take care of him. You sure you’re ok? You don’t sound well.”

“I’m fine. Let me get to work before Kevin gets on me.” She grabs a shovel from the wall and struggles to a section Kevin and Silvia has not touched and starts to shovel. The girl was already weak, she was slowly losing the little strength she had left. She had barely gotten started when she was already losing her breath.
You gotta finish. Forget what happened. Forget it, you’re ok.
She feels herself about to cough and covers her mouth as she has a coughing fit. Looking down at her hand, she sees it covered in blood. She’s shocked.
I’m ok, it’s nothing. I’m completely fine. I’m fine.
She continues her shoveling.
She gets poked on the side of her broken ribs. Then girl screams, both because of the pain and the flashback of the attack. She was surprised and didn’t know it was Silvia. “Girl calm down. Didn’t you hear me calling you? I was yelling like crazy.” Anything that wasn’t right next to her she could barely hear. Then again she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She wanted to finish and leave. She could barely stand up. “Sorry Silvi. I wasn’t paying attention. I’m just so tired.”

“You really don’t look too well. Imma give you a ride home. Come on, let’s go. The boys are waiting for you anyway. You should have been home by now.” Silvia takes the shovel from the girl while holding her arm to keep her steady. The girl was very wobbly and seemed to be about to drop at any moment.

“You guys are already done! I haven’t even finished my section.” She had her head down the whole time and had not noticed that Silvia had finished the rest of her section.

“It’s done already. Let’s go. You’re not well. I already clocked you out. Come on, to the car we go.” Silvia put her hand on the small of the girl’s back to support her. The girl could barely stand now.
I barely did anything. I feel like I was only there for five minutes. Did I pass out or something. How much time had passed? It was already morning. I just wanna go home. I’m so tired, so tired.
They walked to Silvia’s yellow beetle volkswagon. By now Silvia was half-carrying the girl to the car. She was extremely worried. She had to get her home, then after that she’ll go out and get some food for her and the boys. They got to the car and the girl started coughing again into her hand. More blood. She had wiped it on her black jacket so Silvia wouldn’t notice. Silvia put her in the front passenger seat and buckled her in. She made sure the door was closed and continued to the driver’s seat. “Ok. You just go to sleep alright. Just rest your head and we’ll be at the motel soon. I’ll wake you up when we get there ok. Go to sleep sweetie.” She started the car and they were on their way to the motel where the girl lived with the boys.
Silvia had offered her place to live in but the girl didn’t want to bother her. She wanted to make it on her own with the boys. It was her responsibility and no one else’s. The girl rested her head on the window and closed he eyes. She was turning very pale and cold. The heater that Silvia turned on had no effect. Her body didn’t even have the strength to quiver. She didn’t sleep but just thought of how she got to this point and started to silently cry.
My own father, my dad started all this. Touching me was one thing, I was use to it but when he went after the boys…I just couldn’t stay quiet. With Alex around he would have never have tried anything but when Alex left us to fight in the war he left us defenseless. He never came back and left us on our own. Left the boys as fresh meat. I thought mothers were always and forever. We are, we’re her children and when I told her the truth about dad she didn’t believe me. Called me a liar. Her drinking didn’t help either. Getting touched by my father, being abused by mother. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I needed to go and take the boys with me. It was the right thing to do…wasn’t it? My reasoning made sense…didn’t it?
Silvia was stopped at a red light. They were almost to the motel. She started coughing fit again. This time she did not have the strength to even attempt to somehow cover the blood. The blood splattered on the window and car door, it went right through her scarf. Silvia looked over and stared at the scene. “Oh my god! Angel! Angel, are you ok? Angel, answer me.” Silvia yelled in hysterics as she put the car in park in the middle of the street, still waiting at the traffic light, and unbuckled her seatbelt to get to Angel. She reached over to Angel, taking off her hood and scarf. Silvia saw all the bruises and wounds on her face, blood and tears covering it. “Angel, oh my god! What happened to you? ” Silvia was stroking her head while she started to cry. Angel could barely hear anything. She whispered to Silvia “I’m so sorry. Tell them I’m sorry. I tried. I tried.” She was dying, and she knew it.
I failed. Always a failure. Just like Dad always said. Never gonna amount to anything. Take care of them Silvi. Take care of them.
Silvia had reached her phone to dial 911 and had not noticed that Angel had passed. She was sobbing uncontrollably on the phone with the 911 operator. “Please, I need an ambulance. My friend is hurt. We’re at….” The traffic light had turned green. Cars had started beeping their horns. Silvia’s cries and car horns were heard throughout the area.

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Dec 14 2011

Promise (short-short story)

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The line goes dead and I’m left staring at the phone in my hand. My mind goes blank and for a moment the world falls into silence. The news begins to sink in and suddenly the weight of reality slams into me, knocking the very breath out of my body. I don’t how long I’ve been standing there just staring but before I know it the universe snaps back into order and I am forced to shake myself out a dazed state. I stuff my cell into the front pocket of my jeans, grab my bike and race out of the skate park to the hospital where my mother was supposed to give birth.

“Hey Parker, where’re you going man? Parker!”

The voice keeps calling after me but I can’t be bothered to answer back. I can’t think of anything other than those words. Your mother died while delivering the baby. They bounce off against the walls of my head, pushing me to pedal faster until my legs fall off, like if I slow down she will take her last breath and quietly slip away; which is stupid because she’s already dead and nothing I do will change that fact. I guess my brain must still be processing the news; the doctors would say that I’m in a state of shock or denial or some shit like that. Hell yea, I’m in shock but if feels surreal more than anything else. I play the words in my mind endlessly trying to make sense out of them but it’s like nothing in my head clicks together. Without realizing it though, the haze beings to lift and suddenly the combinations of the letters and the words are crystal clear but the meaning behind them just doesn’t register.

Up ahead, the hospital comes into view, pulling me out of my thoughts. I quickly close the remaining distance and then hurriedly park my bike at the gate. As I start to walk, a burning sensation spreads through my legs but I still manage to run to the entrance of the hospital. The automatic double doors swoosh open and I’m instantly hit by the smell of pine sol and death. I rush to the nurses’ station but there’s no one here so I ring the bell on the desk to signal assistance but get no response. Frustrated, I ring the bell three more times, “where the fuck is everyone?”

“Parker.”

I turn around and come face-to-face with the Dr. Greene, my mom’s physician during her pregnancy. “I’m sorry; we did everything we could to save her,” she says to me. She’s looking at me, and I can tell that she’s waiting for some sort of response or acknowledgment but I don’t know how to react so I give a slight nod just to satisfy her. She lets out a small sigh and tells me to follow her so I can see my ma one last time.

She leads me down to the end of the hallway, at the corner she takes a right and I follow in silence. It’s not the awkward kind of silence you see in movies or read about in books but I ‘m still grateful for the steady rhythm of the heart monitors hailing from some of the rooms for filling up the silence. Beep…beep…beep. It might be annoying to some but the consistency of the sound keeps my mind from wondering off and getting lost in my tangled thoughts, it’s the only thing keeping me rooted in reality right now.

We make a left turn at the next corner and for the first time since we began this little journey I notice my surroundings. Some of the patients are roaming the hospital, probably getting their daily dose of exercise; others are in their rooms either sleeping or moaning for a nurse. The doctors are consulting each other and the nurses stride up and the down the hospital. Five minutes later we are standing outside a room, Dr. Greene pushes the door open and I walk inside. Ma is lying on the bed with a yellow sheet covering her entire body and face. I proceed toward the bed and slowly pull off the sheet. She’s pale but other than that it looks like she’s just sleeping and any minute she’ll open her eyes and smile at me. Only she doesn’t. Her skin is starting to lose its warmth and I know that this is it. She is gone and I have no idea who the child’s biological father is – ma had secrets of her own, secrets that she took to the grave. Silently, I tell her goodbye and start to cross room.

“Don’t you want to see your brother?” Dr. Greene asks me in a quiet voice.

“He’s not my responsibility,” I answer her and walk out of the room.

I get on my bike and start pedaling. I don’t where I’m going but I don’t slow down for anything. Ma is dead so now it’s just me. I never knew my dad; he walked out on us when I was a baby, so it was always just me and her. I swore I’d never be like my father, that I’d never abandon my own kid. That baby may not be my child but he is my brother and I’m deserting him, like my father once deserted me. God, I’m just like him, scum of the earth. Well SCREW YOU dad! You weren’t man enough to stick around; the kid’s old man was a piece of shit as well. But I’m not like either one of you. I’m the only family he has so I’m not leaving him, there’s no way I’ll allow my little brother to go through the hell of foster care. I’m not 18 yet so I know there’s a fat chance that any adult in that damn hospital will sign him out to me but he’s gonna be with me, I’m not gonna hand him over to anyone. That’s a promise.

 

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Dec 07 2011

Responsibilities (finale)

Published by under Uncategorized

Snow falls through the open door on the face of the battered girl still unconscious. Her jeans and underwear are around her ankles, her shirt is ripped leaving her bra showing, her right breast is out of the bra. The only thing she is still wearing is her jacket which is wide open exposing her naked body. A gust of wind comes through the door bringing in storm of snow hitting the girl like needles. Her eyelashes flushes flutter, the needles brought her back. Dazed, she opens her eyes slowly and looks at her surroundings. Groggily she attempts to get up to a sitting position. She stares out the door seeing that it is still snowing and realizes she’s freezing. Looking down at herself, she sees her bare body. She stares and stares, not wanting to believe what has happened. She knows what this means. A tear, one single tear rolls down her cheek. Not one thought is going through her mind; just pure silence is heard throughout her head.
The sound of a horn brings her back to reality. She wipes her tear away.
I need to get up. I need to go to work. This is nothing new. Same situation, different guy. This…this is nothing. This is nothing.
Her body is completely numb. She barely feels any of her injuries. As she is already standing, she bends down to pull up her pants and underwear. A gasp escapes her mouth. The pain of her cracked ribs finally hits her. With one arm she holds her ribs and the other she pulls up her pants. Breathing hard she continues to cover up as much as possible. She wraps her torn up shirt around herself and zippers up her jacket. She realizes she’s missing her scarf and hat and looks around the floor.
The scarf was towards the back of the room, swept by the winds coming through the open door. She shuffles toward the back of the room and gradually leans down to pick it up and come back up. The girl brings up the scarf to cover her bruised face as much as possible. Once she was sure the scarf was secured she continued to look for her hat. There was no sign of the hat. To this she started sobbing.
Where’s my hat? Where’s my fucking hat?! She grasped the wall for support. She was feeling herself crumble. Everything was finally hitting her. It was overwhelming. I can’t take care of the boys, can’t take care of myself, can’t fucking take care of the last thing Alex gave me. I can’t do anything. I’m worthless, just like he said…he always had it right. Alex always told me I was something special, will be something great. Never should have believed him. He…he was always right. Alex told me not to listen to him but… he was right, always right.
After a few minutes had passed, her crying had subsided. Her scarf had gotten wet from all her tears and snot but there was nothing she could do. She had to hide her face, the bruises from Silvia and everyone else at work. She couldn’t report this. There would be too many questions from the police that she did not, could not answer.
Why are you out so late? Where do you live? Who are your parents? Can you call one of them to pick you up? No. They’ll find me and take the boys away. I’ll never let them touch us again. They are not our parents anymore. I’m all Max and Brian have now. Instead of their sister, I’m their mom, I’m their dad. Alex isn’t here anymore to protect us. It’s only me. I need to…to go to work. Max and Brian need me, need the money. Nothing happened, I can…can keep on going…for them.
She looked up and started breathing in through her nose, out through her mouth to stop herself from crying again. As long as she did everything slow, no one would notice anything.
I’m covered completely, except for my eyes. I can pull this off. I can do this.
The numbness started to go away, she was getting warmer but it was replaced by pain. Her battered body began to feel everything little by little. Though it hurt her, she tried to stand as straight as possible. She walked out the basement door and made her sluggish climb up the stairs and commenced her walk, dragging her feet, to the school. It was just a block away now which she was very thankful for.
“She’ll be here, now stop pestering me and go to work. Traffic must be crazy outside because of the snow which is probably why she’s late” Silvia, agitated, told Kevin. She and Kevin had been shoveling the snow outside for an hour by themselves wondering where the girl was. Silvia was getting really worried. It wasn’t like the girl to be late at all. She was always on time and always saying yes to any available shifts that no one else wanted. Silvia knew she wouldn’t miss a chance for work knowing she has to feed the boys. Silvia couldn’t believe the girl, being 19, goes to school, work and takes care of her 8 and 10 year old brothers. After their older brother died, the job of taking care of the boys fell on her. “As soon as she gets here I’ll…” she sees the girl looking aimlessly for them in the backyard. Silvia looks directly at Kevin “Seeeeee! She’s here, now go to a corner and shovel. Don’t bother her! She’s here so just let her do her job.” Even though he’s the boss, Kevin almost always listens to Silvia. He turned red and left with a huff.
Slowly the girl makes her way to Silvia. “Where have you been? Is everything ok?” “Yea, I am. I’m sorry I’m late; the snow was crazy to the point where the bus got stuck a few times. Is Kevin mad at me?” the girl asked weakly.

“Don’t worry bout Kevin, I’ll take care of him. You sure you’re ok? You don’t sound well.”

“I’m fine. Let me get to work before Kevin gets on me.” She grabs a shovel from the wall and struggles to a section Kevin and Silvia has not touched and starts to shovel. The girl was already weak, she was slowly losing the little strength she had left. She had barely gotten started when she was already losing her breath.
You gotta finish. Forget what happened. Forget it, you’re ok.
She feels herself about to cough and covers her mouth as she has a coughing fit. Looking down at her hand, she sees it covered in blood. She’s shocked.
I’m ok, it’s nothing. I’m completely fine. I’m fine.
She continues her shoveling.
She gets poked on the side of her broken ribs. Then girl screams, both because of the pain and the flashback of the attack. She was surprised and didn’t know it was Silvia. “Girl calm down. Didn’t you hear me calling you, I was yelling like crazy?” Anything that wasn’t right next to her she could barely hear. Then again she wasn’t paying attention to anything. She wanted to finish and leave. She could barely stand up. “Sorry Silvi. I wasn’t paying attention. I’m just so tired.”

“You really don’t look too well. Imma give you a ride home. Come on, let’s go. The boys are waiting for you anyway. You should have been home by now.” Silvia is taking the shovel from the girl while holding her arm to keep her steady. The girl was very wobbly and seemed to be about to drop at any moment. “You guys are already done! I haven’t even finished my section.” She had her head down the whole time and had not noticed that Silvia had finished the rest of her section.

“It’s done already. Let’s go. You’re not well. I already clocked you out. Come on, to the car we go.” Silvia put her hand on the small of the girl’s back to support her. The girl could barely stand now.
I barely did anything. I feel like I was only there for five minutes. Did I pass out or something. How much time had passed? It was already morning. I just wanna go home. I’m so tired, so tired.
They walked to Silvia’s yellow beetle volkswagon. By now Silvia was half-carrying the girl to the car. She was extremely worried. She had to get her home, then after that she’ll go out and get some food for her and the boys. They got to the car and the girl started coughing again into her hand. More blood. She had wiped it on her black jacket so Silvia wouldn’t notice. Silvia put her in the front passenger seat and buckled her in. She made sure the door was closed and continued to the driver’s seat. “Ok. You just go to sleep alright. Just rest your head and we’ll be at the motel soon. I’ll wake you up when we get there ok. Go to sleep Sweetie.” She started the car and they were on their way to the motel where the girl lived with the boys.
Silvia had offered her place to live in but the girl didn’t want to bother her. She wanted to make it on her own with the boys. It was her responsibility and no one else’s. The girl rested her head on the window and closed he eyes. She was turning very pale and cold. The heater that Silvia turned on ha no effect. Her body didn’t even have the strength to quiver. She didn’t sleep but just thought of how she got to this point and started to silently cry.
My own father, my dad started all this. Touching me was one thing, I was use to it but when he went after the boys…I just couldn’t stay quiet. With Alex around he would have never have tried anything but when Alex left us to fight in the war he left us defenseless. He never came back and left us on our own. Left the boys as fresh meat. I thought mothers were always and forever. We are, we’re her children and when I told her the truth about dad she didn’t believe me. Called me a liar. Her drinking didn’t help anything either. Getting touched by my father, being abused by mother. I couldn’t handle it anymore. I needed to go and take the boys with me. It was the right thing to do…wasn’t it? My reasoning made sense…didn’t it?
Silvia was stopped at a red light. They were almost to the motel. She started coughing fit again. This time she did not have the strength to even attempt to somehow cover the blood. The blood splattered on the window and car door, it went right through her scarf. Silvia looked over and stared at the scene. “Oh my god! Angel! Angel, are you ok? Angel, answer me.” Silvia yelled in hysterics as she put the car in park in the middle of the street, still waiting at the traffic light, and unbuckled her seatbelt to get to Angel. She reached over to Angel, taking off her hood and scarf. Silvia saw all the bruises and wounds on her face, blood and tears covering it. “Angel, oh my god! God, Angel what happened to you? ” Silvia was stroking her head and started to cry. Angel could barely hear anything. She whispered to Silvia “I’m so sorry. Tell them I’m sorry. I tried. I tried.” She was dying, and she knew it.
I failed. Always a failure. Just like Dad always said. Never amount to anything. Take care of them Silvi. Take care of them.
Silvia had reached her phone to dial 911 and had not noticed that Angel had passed. She was sobbing uncontrollably on the phone with the 911 operator. “Please, I need an ambulance. My friend is hurt. We’re at….” The traffic light had turned green. Cars had started beeping their horns. Silvia’s cries and car horns were heard throughout the area.

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