I sat at the dining table, listening to the blaring radio coming from the living room. My mother, she always loved to listen to Spanish music. She was always worried that we would forget about our Mexican heritage so she would always listen to the radio as loud as it could go. I didn’t mind it, not at all, in fact I loved it. I’d look forward to visiting my family in Mexico every summer, unlike my sister who detested the very thought of venturing to such a technically deprived area.
I glanced over to the bed in the corner.
You might think it odd but this was my grandfather’s room and our dining room.
He was lucky.
Two weeks before the event, he had decided to visit his children in Mexico, not knowing that the trip would save his life.
I wouldn’t get to visit. Ever Again. Even if I managed to survive until summer, they wouldn’t even let us out of this town, let alone country.
I turned my attention back to my usual breakfast, a packet of microwaveable mini pancakes with a glass of chocolate milk.
Funny, it used to be my favorite, the sweet little pancakes soaked with syrup with some butter spread on top, now tasted almost as good as cardboard.
I finished breakfast and washed them just like my mother always told me. I looked at the stove’s clock that read eight a.m.
Regardless to what others would think, since my mother’s absence, I had taken it upon myself to continue her list of daily household chores. It wasn’t hard, considering there was only one person I had to look out for.
I went back to the dining room and stopped before the white door. This room was full. Not only was it shared with my grandfather, but his roommate was a dinosaur of a computer that we no longer used. It was also our trophy and awards display.
I avoided looking directly at the names, since no doubt it would bring painful memories of the “happy” times before the event; instead I looked at the calendar I had stapled beside the door.
It was March twentieth.
I opened the door and grabbed the broom as well as the mop and bucket.
I always cleaned my room, the hallway, the hallway bathroom, the living room and the dining room. But I didn’t dare taint my parent’s room with the smell of ‘sparkling wave’.
I finished sweeping in less than twenty minutes, and proceeded to dumping the water in the bucket.
This was the only time I went outside.
I opened the door only to receive a slap in the face by the angry sun. It blazed with such intensity as standing in front of an oven.
After finally seeing something other than the color yellow, I saw my friendly African neighbor waving at me from across the street. I returned the wave. He was like an uncle to me. Even since before the event, I would always visit his house and just talk about the current occurrences in our lives. After the event, he had taken it upon himself in place of my family to provide me with meals and a credit card to buy anything I needed off the internet.
Along with my elderly neighbors to my right and my father’s Cuban friends on the left, they managed to take at least some of the loneliness away.
“Hey girly, I’d get back inside now if I were you,” he said shuffling to my front yard.
“What do you mean?” I asked, curiosity seeping into my question.
“If you’d bother to watch the news every once and a while I wouldn’t have to tell ya now would I?” He turned and pointed to the large stone gate that stood between our town and the rest of the world. “Got some new arrivals com’en in from other towns in a few minutes, if you don’t want a bunch of ‘em knocken down your door I’d suggest you lock it tight.” He turned back and headed back to his house.
An earsplitting ringing pierced the air as the gate began to shift to the left.
The new arrivals had come.