As I expected the Art class was one of my favorite classes of the day. Rony and I partnered up for the class assignment and we entertained each other throughout the whole hour earning us several approaches from Ms. Parker to see if we were indeed doing what we had to do and that we weren’t just fooling around. When the bell rang Rony asked me if I wanted to join her and ‘The Crew’ at their usual meeting place after school but I had to decline because I already had other plans that include a sweet little girl. Leaving the classroom we bumped into Jay and the rest, with the rest meaning Rafi and the obnoxiously hot Gaby. Oh please almighty God smite me and my thoughts to purgatory… what the hell am I thinking!
“Oh hey Chi,” Jay said when we approached them, “are you coming with us to The Dutch?”
I shook my head. “Does that place still exist?” I asked a little stunned that the only place from three years ago was still ‘the place’ to meet after school.
Rafi looked at me like I grew a second head. “What do you mean still exist? Do you know the place?” he asked me.
“Of course I know the place.” I said with indifference. “It was a hotspot three years ago for students from all the schools around it. I never thought it would still exist after three years.” I said.
“Wait… would you care to explain how you know this place if you just move to this town from somewhere around the world?” Rafi asked with a little attitude that got him a Gibbs slab from Rony. “Ow, what was that for?” he asked looking at his girlfriend.
“Don’t be rude… she knows the place and that’s all you need to know… don’t be a gossip girl.” Rony scolded him making me laugh at them.
“It’s okay… I don’t mind. I’ll talk to you guys tomorrow, I have other plans.” I said.
“Oh yeah, coach said you should meet him at the field parking lot instead of the field. He dismissed us early because of this plan of yours.” Gaby said. I looked at him with raised eyebrows, “what I was there when you said goodbye earlier today remember and he assumed that we knew each other. I told him we shared a locker and nothing more.” He said shrugging. Is this guy for real or what, why is he playing this card of nice guy when earlier this morning he was all high up there with his cockiness?
“Well thank you for telling me… I have to go; I’ll see you guys tomorrow.” I said with a wave and walk away to go meet my uncle and my cousin.
I walked out of the school building to the parking lot near the field were my cousin was standing in front of a truck that was way too big for him, so I imagined it was my uncle’s. I was checking the truck out when one bumper sticker caught my eye. I couldn’t believe what was written on it so I ask the only question that came to my mind.
“Is it true?” I ask my cousin once I was closer to him and had given him a hug.
“Is what true?” he asked looking a little confused. I pointed to the bumper sticker. He turned to look at what I was pointed to and his face dropped. “Yeah, it is true… I enrolled three years ago after mom passed away.” He said.
The next thing I did was more surprising to him than it was to me. I shrieked, started to jump up and down and hugging him like my life depended on it. Though I would have preferred he joined the USMC, he is serving his country through whichever branch he enrolled in. When I pulled away he was looking at me a bit surprised, but when I gave him my assuring smile he relaxed.
“Are you truly okay with this?” he asked, I gave him my ‘are-you-serious’ look. “I mean, we never discussed this with anyone before and it was a last minute decision I made… and the whole thing with mom and Clarice I didn’t know what you would think of this.” He gabbled.
I put my hand on his arms to stop him from rambling any further, “Carlitos, it’s really okay… I would have preferred the USMC but the air force is good too because now we have you closer to us whenever your home.” I said calming him from his nervous rambling. “Wait… what do you mean with the whole thing with Claire? What’s wrong with Claire?” I asked.
“Oh good you’re both here we can go… I want to see your parents.” Uncle Char said interrupting our conversation.
The look of relief on Carlos face was immediate. “Yeah, let’s go I want to see Aunt Nancee and Uncle Boyd… is he still that little boy inside an old man’s body?” he asked opening the cars back door for me, I laughed and nodded.
“Now even worse…” I said and he closed the door.
When we got in, Uncle Char started the truck and back away from the parking lot and took the road to my house. When we were almost a block away I felt like nervous bugs were crawling up my legs. It was time to tell them about Ser, it was time to tell them the partial lie my parents and I decided that we would tell.
“Uhm, guys there is something I need to tell you before we reach the house.” I said a little nervous and as always Carlos noted that what I was about to say wasn’t something they might like.
“What’s wrong Chica?” Carlos asked.
“Well it’s the reason why we had to leave three years ago.” I said.
“Nena, we know why you guys had to leave three years ago you don’t have to explain.” Uncle Char said.
“No uncle, you guys know only one of the reasons why we had to leave… well you know the main reason why we left, but there was something else that made us leave before the actual date.” I said.
“What do you mean bef-” Uncle Char started but Carlos cut him off.
“Pappa por favor, let her explain.” Carlos said.
I smiled my thankful smile at him and continue with our lie, “Three years ago mom and dad got offered the possibility to join the ‘Doctors without Borders’ program. We were supposed to move to South Africa in March that year…” I said.
“In March… then why…” Uncle Char started but got a death glare from Carlos and kept quiet.
“Yes in March, but in January I started feeling sick and was puking everything I ate. At first we thought I had stomach flu, but mom wanted to be sure so we went to the doctors to see what was really wrong with me. I had to do some tests so they can make sure that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me, when the test came back it turned out that it wasn’t stomach flu. I was four to five weeks pregnant.” I blurted the last bit in a hurry. There was a catch of breath and a screeching sound of the brakes of the car.
“You were WHAT?” My uncle asked turning around in his seat. “Oh please tell me I heard you wrong, tell it’s not true… you were pregnant?” he asked getting angry by the minute.
“Dad, calm down… we are in the middle of the road. You can’t hit the brakes like that you could have caused an accident… calm down and let’s get to Cago’s so she can explain this thoroughly.” Carlos said calmly, that’s why I love him he can always see find a way to take each situation calmly. My uncle huffed and continued driving.
When we reached my house I saw that my mom’s car was still drive way, which meant that she was already home or she hadn’t left yet. I got out of my uncle’s truck and walked to the front door followed by my uncle and cousin. When we walked into the house we were engulfed with screaming, but from who I don’t know. Even though, the question wouldn’t be ‘who was screaming?’ but ‘who was screaming the hardest, my dad or Sierra?’…
“I'm home!” I said.
There was a gasp and then a hushed ‘who is that?’ and then,
“MUMA!” was Ser’s reply before she came running towards the front door to my open awaiting arms. I picked her up and starts spinning her around making her giggle like a mad little girl. “Muma, top… Muma top…” she was laughing so hard that her speech turn into shrieks. I stopped spinning and blew on her tummy making her laugh even more if that was possible. When she calmed down a little I set her on my hips and looked at my uncle and cousin standing by the front door with a wide smile on their faces.
“Uncle Char… Carlos, this is Sierra… my daughter…” I said smiling at them and holding Ser on my hip. Ser looked at them a little shy and coward into my shoulder when Carlos reached to touch her. “It’s okay girly he won’t hurt you… he’s muma’s cousin.” I told her.
“Muma, coufin?” Ser asked for clarity I nodded. She reached out to touch Carlos cheek and giggled a little when her hand touched the stubbles on his face.
“Oh my gosh Chica, she’s beautiful.” Carlos said looking from her to me. “May I?” he asked holding his hands out for me to pass Ser to him, but I didn’t have to answer him. Ser being her peachy self jumped from out of my hands to his and started pulling at his cheeks and laughing.
“Ceppa… where did you go?” Dad’s voice came from the kitchen.
“Papu… Coufin…” Ser said and tried to get out of Carlos hands to go to my dad. He put her down and we all walked behind her towards the kitchen. She holding a finger of Carlos and dragging him towards to kitchen so my dad can see him. “Papu, muma coufin.” She said.
When Carlos walked into the kitchen we heard gasp and a glass shatter and then everything turned silent.