Updated: May 19
It’s 4 am. It’s okay, I will just do what I always do when I can’t sleep: to review the last episode of the soap opera, El amor lo puede todo. I love it. Not just because the main character has my grandmother’s name, Luz, but also because of the hunk William Levy. Oh! When I grow up, I would like to have a boyfriend like him, full of muscles. He protects the woman he loves, Luz, from everything bad that crosses her path, even thunder and rain. With a boyfriend like William Levy, my dad would think twice before hitting me with the belt.
William and I would be in love as Tarzan and Jane. We would live in the jungle and jump trees and mountains. My Tarzan would order the animals what to do. The gorillas would be our friends and confidants. They would help us find and get food from the trees. The lions would protect our house from the bad people, such as Mrs. Refugio, who always tells me to take off all the sweaters I wear every time that I pass by her house to go to the corner store. If Mrs. Refugio finds out what is under all my sweaters, for sure she would tell me to put all of them back.
Of course, William and I would have to learn how to talk to animals. William is intelligent. He knows how to read and write. He can teach me. Since we will be far away from society, if bad people like my parents want to visit us, the lions would bite their legs off. No, not really. Maybe just scare them off with a huge growl!
Oh, and when my grandmother and the lady who makes the sweet bread come to our tree house, the monkeys will help them to climb using the cord. The best thing is that the high altitude wouldn’t bother my grandmother. She always said she wants to go to the moon where the love of her life wanted to take her. She always said that she would even go to Mars with him if he had asked her. Grandma still hopes he will show up to take her to the moon one day.
Dear Lord, it is almost five in the morning. I have stomachache. Probably all the sweet bread, cookies, coffee, and soda that I ate before going to bed. Perhaps my grandmother is right. I have the Gluttony Spirit in me, and that is why I am fat, and that is another reason my parents don’t like me. Grandmother tried to get that darn spirit out of my body once with la Limpia de Huevo. She ran an egg all over my body as she prayed Aves Marias and Padres Nuestros. But that darn spirit didn’t get out. Screw it! I need to get up. My mom will be very mad if I don’t have breakfast ready. I don’t want it to be like the last time, when she made me stay without breakfast. That day, not even my pet roaches came out to meet me under the table.
As I get up, I hear my mother and father talking in their room. Once again, they are talking about sending me to the circus. I thought they had forgotten that. When will they understand that the circus doesn’t want me? If so, they would have picked me up a long time ago, when I was five. Right? I am almost nine. All my life I have hoped to live at the circus to make many friends because I get really lonely sometimes. I mean, if it wasn’t for my grandma, the food, the soap operas, and William Levy...
It's seven in the morning. Good thing I have already made breakfast! Today’s special menu is quesadillas. My quesadillas are good. I know because the rat that lives in the house told me so. Well, he’s more of a pet than a rat to me. And he sleeps under the sofa where I sleep too. I have seen him coming out of there many times. Since he doesn’t bother me, I don’t bother him. I guess we made that agreement without using any words. That’s how good we know each other. Well, I am just happy that he always eats the quesadilla that I leave him under the sofa. That shows me that he likes my food. He’s the only honest living being in this house. Hmm... I have to take him to the tree house when William and I live in the jungle.
Since its early, I am going to turn the television on for a bit before my mother wakes up. She usually wakes up at eight in the morning, while my father wakes up at twelve in the afternoon. No, never mind. I think I am just going to go visit grandma for a bit instead. But first, I must put on my five sweaters, three pants, four shirts, a scarf, and a hat so no one sees my body. William has to get used to this whole process when we move to the tree house; especially, when he takes me out to eat at fancy restaurants in the middle of the jungle.
Navigating to grandma’s house is not difficult. She always tells me that if I get lost, I just have to look at the sky, and if the sun hits my face, then I have to travel the opposite direction. And if the moon is out, I have to go home. I think that if I go to the circus after all, the only person I would miss would be my grandmother. And she would probably miss me too. I mean, nobody visits her. She says that if it wasn't for me, she would have just gone to the moon without her true love and waited for him there until her next life comes! I don’t know what a next life is, and I don’t want to live on the moon. I want to live in the tree house with William Levy.
Okay, I only have a couple of more houses to walk past before getting to grandma’s house. I just hope that the Bread Woman came early today. She is beautiful. I have seen her a couple of times, but she has seen me only once. When she looked at my eyes, I felt like I was in another dimension: Nobody has looked at me in that way. She even waved and said “hi” with a warm smile! After that day, it was hard for me to make eye contact with her. I hide behind the door every time she arrives, just to stare at her long black hair, which is down to her knees, and her big black eyes, which resemble a dark tunnel with secrets. Her lips are small, her voice is that of an angel. I want to be like her.
As I arrive the pain in my stomach is back and it feels more intense. I guess this is what my mother must feel like when she drinks Rue tea to abort my little brothers. Yeah, well, every time she comes back from the witch doctor she says, “God, forbid I have another creature like that! Good that Rue tea takes care of that!"
I would like to have a little brother or sister to be less lonely. One day, I asked my grandmother where did babies go when they died and she said to heaven. Then I asked her where heaven is, and she said it is in the sky. Wow! How do all my brothers and sisters manage to not fall from the sky! Well, at least from such a distance they will be able to see my house in the jungle. Maybe William can just put a small stairway from our tree house to the clouds so that they can just come visit us whenever they want.
As I arrive, I knock on the door. It usually takes my grandmother a while to open it. So, I wait. And I wait a little more. Nope, she hasn’t opened yet. I guess I will just have to scream.
“Grandma, open the door, it’s me!”
Nope, no answer, so I knock and scream harder this time.
“Grandma, open please, before someone sees me!”
“Grandma, I only have a little bit of time! Please open!”
Hmmm…time to improvise. What would Luz do in a situation like this? Well, Luz would probably do whatever William Levy tells her to do. Lucky her. Unfortunately, I don’t have a William Levy with me yet. Fine, I will just do what my instincts tell me. I will go through the back door. Grandma always tells me to go through the back door in case of an emergency, or if I am chased by El Cucuy. God forbid I ever have to meet him! Grandma tells me he will take me away and make guacamole out of me. Which is probably better than living with my parents, but even so, El Cucuy shouldn’t be eating kids.
As I go through the back door, I notice that the clouds have blocked the sun. Maybe my brothers and sisters are playing volleyball up there in the sky. As I pass by the living room window, I see that the television and the heater are on. Good, she’s home. So, I knock on the window.
But she doesn’t move. She looks like a fly standing still inside a warm of plate of soup.
I have no choice but to open the door myself. Grrr! That doorknob is really tough, but I manage. As I enter, a heat wave suffocates my face and almost chokes me. That heater must have been on for quite a while! I cough loud, but not even that wakes my grandmother. Being inside my grandmother’s hot house is what it must be like to be inside the devil’s house.
Ugh! I have no choice but to take off all these five sweaters, coats, and pants that I have on.
Oh no! Just as I suspected. My grandmother’s heater was on high level. She must have left it on since last night. Oh lord! Good thing I turned it off just in time. I see that her TV is also on. It seems she was watching the news. Oh no! The man in the news is saying that President Felipe Calderón is once again going to war against the cartels of Michoacán. I neither like the news, nor the cartels, as they scare a lot of people in the village too. I remember one time I was coming home from my grandmother’s house and a man with about five gold chains and a rifle under his jacket told me to move from the road because I was blocking him. I didn’t hear him because I was wearing three hoodies, but luckily, Mrs. Refugio, the neighbor, pushed me off the road so he could pass. As he passed by me, he spat on me and said, “Stupid Fat Brat!” That day, I remember thinking that I wasn’t a brat. Yes, I am fat, but I am not stupid, I just don't go to school, that’s all. Besides, who was he to call me fat. He was fat himself too. He reminded me of Mr. Krabs from SpongeBob. Yes, that big red lobster. I have never seen the cartoon, but I have seen the doll hanging outside the corner store every time I go in. I know his name because I once saw a boy telling his mother to buy him El Sr. Cangrejo. It must be nice to have someone buy you stuff. Anyway, that day I remember Mrs. Refugio told me that the man was part of the drug cartel. Of course, I didn’t know what she meant at that time but now I know. They are bad people.
Besides, my dad always says that if Felipe Calderón doesn’t do something about the economy soon, he would have no choice but to sell me, after all. Well, if he sells me to a place where there are other people of my age, I don’t mind. But my mom says I am better off being sold for my body parts. I am not so sure what she means with that but if they do sell my body in parts, I just hope that they just sell my spinal cord. It’s been bothering me all my life.
As I get near, I see my grandmother has her eyes open. I shake her, and say, “Grandmother, I am here.” But there is no answer. Her eyes look dry and wide like those of a dead fish when it’s seasoned and ready to be fried. But how can she be a fish? Fish live on water and my grandmother wants to live on the moon. I remove the blanket in her lap and touch her hand. It’s cold. I touch her cheek. It’s cold too. But how can she be cold when it’s about two hundred degrees in here?
I know what happened. My grandmother is not dead. She went to the moon. He has finally come for her. After sixty years, she is finally with the man she loves on the moon, and from there she will watch over me in the morning and night, and whenever I feel lonely, I just have look at the sky.
So, I am not sad. I am actually happy, and perhaps even envious. Her eyes look so bright. Perhaps she can’t believe he came to take her to the moon. She is free now from the world, from the bad people. I go outside to see how the clouds have cleared the sky. The morning moon was out. I smile at it and say, “You did it, grandma! Please save me a spot up there too…Oh, and if you see my brothers, tell them I said 'hi,' that soon they will be able to visit me at my house in the jungle, and you too!”
I hope she gets my message.
It’s been nine years since my grandmother went to the moon. Today is her anniversary. I miss her more. I am older, seventeen and yes, I am still here, living with my parents. They haven’t sold me, and I guess they were never able to sell my body in parts after all either. And no, William Levy never came to take me away from all this mess. Every night I see the moon, I ask my grandmother when she is going to take me with her, so we can once again eat bread, cookies, coffee, soda, and watch all the soap operas we want. She hasn’t responded yet. I will ask her tonight again, but first I must buy my dad his beer at the bar, since they don’t sell it at the corner store anymore.