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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
a man remembers his childhood.

Submitted: November 08, 2016

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Submitted: November 08, 2016




  Yesterday I dreamt that my father was dying. We were all right next to him in a cold hospital room. I knew immediately that it was a dream because my dad hates hospitals and he had always said that he wishes to die on his rocking chair, inside the same house where I grew up and that he, year after year, took care of improving. As soon as my dad would get some money he’d always find something to improve. First the dinnerware. He got some knives and forks made of silver and he took care of them almost in a parental way. He used to cover them with some silk cloths (that were really worn out), he then placed them inside their own special drawer; then he’d always go to his rocking chair and, while we were all still eating with old ceramic forks, he’d lay back and look at us with a feeling of accomplishment that was truly enviable.

  Time after, maybe one or two years, he bought a table. A big dinning table for eight people (even though we were only four at home). It was made of artificial wood and some other cheap stuff; but it gave the appeareance of being a classy table, sofisticated and, according to my dad, modern.

  The day the new table arrived we were all awaiting for it, it was like we were about to meet a relative who had been long gone. I remember that I was with my sister, she must have been seven years old and I was ten at that time. I was looking through the window and couting all the dogs and cars that crossed my street. It was a street made of mud, there was no pavement and it was really far from the city centre; because of that it was rare to see any vehicle around. I remember that I counted exactly five dogs and half a car. I say “half” because one of the dogs I saw had two little wheels under its legs to help him walk (But, honestly, I’m not sure if those wheels really helped, I mean, on that street full of bumps I’m pretty sure it would have ended up rolling over and then, when the dog was with its back against the floor, how would he get back again? Maybe he would have never gotten up again and it just stayed there, with its belly up, it’s mouth open, tasting the heat and…)

  Well, to keep the story short, the thing is that yesterday I dreamt that my father was dying. We were all right next to him in a cold hospital room. I knew immediately that it was a dream because my father had already died before.

  When he died he did it in a peaceful way, sitting in his rocking chair, inside the same house where I grew up and that he… Fuck. Back to the point: after he bought the table we had to wait a long time to actually use it. Our house was so small that, if we had assembled the table, we would have locked ourselves inside; because it covered the space between the entrance door and the kitchen. The only way out, in case we had the table assembled, was to go out through a small window. Thank god we never did it. I think my father really wanted to assemble the table; but my mom once told him that if he ever did it, and she had to crawl through the window, she was gonna leave him. She didn’t want the neighbours to see her going in and out of her own home through a window. “It makes me feel poor” I remember her saying that once. Anyway, one year later my dad actually assembled the table and my mom left. (Yup, you got it, she left through the window).

  As usual he did nothing else but to lay back in his rocking chair. Seeing for the first time the silver forks and knives on the new table; while my sister and me crawled, as best as we could, through the window to continue eating with the same old ceramic forks using some cardboard boxes as a table.

  We were never allowed to even get close the table. It is a fact that my dad loved that table. Maybe even more than he loved mom. I don’t know if he loved it more than me, because I’m pretty sure I was his favorite child. One evening my sister took a crayon and started doodling something on the table’s leg. It was a green crayon. I don’t know why I remember that, but I do. When my dad realized that, he started running and, without asking anything, he slapped her right on the face. He slapped my sister (she must have been eight or nine) with such force that she fell flat on the floor. As soon as I saw that I got between them and told my dad that it was my fault. He turned his eyes at me and we looked at each other for a while. It was a father reflecting himself in the eyes of his son, and thats how I looked at him too, like a son who looks at his dad. I was trying to look really inside his eyes, and when I did, I knew it: he was gonna kill me. I was sure of it. I ran to the window and, somehow, I jumped right through to the other side (our home was a one floor house, so jumping outside wasn’t that crazy); however the goverment had just started fixing the street and they were implementing, for the first time, a draining system.

  So, when I jumped, I fell more than I had expected and I ended up hitting the bottom of a gigantic tube. I broke my ankle. Once I was down there, I stayed there for a while. I couldn’t feel a thing. I just kept looking at the sun. Laying there, just like my dad on his rocking chair, and I could swear I had a face of great satisfaction.

  When my dad tried to look for me, I tried too to see his face but the sun denied me to do that. I wanted to see his expresion. I like to think he was sad, or worried at least.

  Also when I was there I remembered the dog with the little wheels under its legs. I imagined it next to me, back against the floor, with its belly up, its open mouth, tasting the heat and I remember I started laughing.

  Anyway that’s not important. The thing that matters is that my father died some years ago, on the same rocking chair where I’m sitting now, inside the same house where I grew up; but on a second tought, the house it’s not the same. The only thing that still remains is this rocking chair. My room is gone, so is the kitchen, my mom and my sister.

  I’ve always thought that everyone needs a nickname. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s like a thing of friendship, camaraderie or maybe just a siblings thing. I called her Rosita. The nickname had nothing to do with her real name and, actually, she always got mad when I called her like that. That’s why the nickname stuck.

  It came from a movie. Once, my sister and me, were watching a film with Don Arturo and a lot of other children. Don Arturo was the only neighbour who had a car and he never had any children; so once a month he got all the kids from the neighbourhood and took us to the auto-cinema. My mom never liked him because she said that it was always easier to deal with kids when they’re not yours.

  The thing is that inside that movie there was a character named Rosita. It was nothing more than a gringo stereotype of a mexican-indian; the only thing that my sister and the character had in common was that both of them used to comb their hair the same way, with a big braid.

  My sister never liked to have her hair braided but, as long as my mom stayed with us, she made sure to keep my sister’s hair that way.

  My sister and me shared the same room until I left for the military school. Of all the rooms in the house, ours was the last one to get any improvement. Rosita and me slept on a bunk bed for over ten years. You could see, based on the stickers we had on the metal tubes, how Rosita and me grew up, the things we liked and our interests.

  My sister was always the smart one in the house. But in our home there was never room for inteligence. My dad was no genius, but he was smart enough to know that. He knew that soon my sister was gonna leave us all behind, she was always ahead at school and she never seemed to make any effort. Her dream was to be a teacher for adults, but I think the only person she ever wanted to teach something was my dad. The thing is that when people think they know it all, there’s really nothing you can teach them.

  When I was fifteen years old  I left the house. My dad realized that I was no good at school. I was always taller than all my friends and seemed to have a natural gift for sports or physical activities, so let’s say he made a good move when he sent me to the military school. I didn’t come back to the house until three years later.

  Soon after that my dad took care of my sister. He took her out of the school and made her work in her own home. She was the cleaning maid. I learnt that on a letter she sent me. We exchanged some letters secretly. Even, sometimes, I would send her my text books and she would send them all solved. It was our thing. Our way to fight against the world, or at least the one we had to live in.

  The next time I saw them was at Rosita’s quinceañera party. Everyone treated her so differently. It was as if the sister I left and the sister I was seeing now were two different people. Of course they were.

  For some time my dad had been receiving visits from suitors to marry Rosita. My sister, obviously, didn’t want to be married –as I said- she’s inteligent.

  However, during the party (wich she didn’t want either), after the vals and the toast. My dad stood in the middle of the street (wich was closed using some pickup trucks) he took a microphone and announced that Rosita would soon be Don Rodrigo’s wife. He was from Spain. He was no different from us except for his nationality but that was enough for the people to be amazed when they heard of him. I think that was the only reason my dad let him take Rosita.

  Anyhow that’s not the issue. The matter is that Rosita died recently, on the same rocking chair that I’m in now, inside the same house where I grew up… Oh no, no. That was my dad.

  Rosita died in her bed, alone, in a house where she never belonged. Dad never knew about it. She made it clear, on the letter she left, that she wanted no one to know about it except for me.

  I was with her one week before her death. It was already a habit for me to visit her at least once a month. We would always gather in the kitchen; where Rodrigo never set foot in (sometimes I wonder if he ever knew what he had there). My sister told me she could remember all her dreams really clearly, she even gave me some techniques to do the same. They work.

  She told me that since some time she’d been dreaming with herself. The little girl she used to be would meet up with her actual self. They did nothing but talk about how the little girl couldn’t wait to grow up and how the bigger one wanted to be a child again. She told me too, that her only hope during the day was for it to be over so she could go and talk with the kid. That’s how she called her “the kid”. I’m pretty sure she knew it was herself, she was not dumb and I think she called her that way to avoid the feeling of becoming insane.

  Two weeks later she slit her wrists. She did it in the most elegant and discreet way possible. She didn’t leave any stain. She never liked to be a bother. The people say she killed herself. I know she was killed. Yeah, sure, she took the blade and cut through her veins; but that was the only choice she was allowed to take in her whole life: To end a life that was never hers.

  Since the death of my sister I’ve stayed here, in the house where I grew up. Sitting in this rocking chair. Contemplating this house that now seems so different. The table with the silver dinnerware, the living room (with some expansion so can go out the door and not the window). My father’s room with his double size bed and his silk sheets wich he never actually used. The kitchen was totally remade and now has a reddish color that doesn’t go well with the rest of the house. Everything is fixed now that my dad is gone. Even the room that I shared with Rosita got better. Now it actually has a door, before it was only a curtain instead of a door. The only thing that remains is this rocking chair…Oh and the bunk bed with it’s stickers. Mom used to say that those stickers were never gonna come off. I hope she’s right.

  Well, to conclude what I am trying to say since the beggining is that yesterday I dreamt that my father died. We were all right next to him in a cold hospital room. I knew immediately that it was a dream because he hates hospitals and he had always said he wishes to die on his rocking chair; also, my mom and my sister were there and, I think, no one was sad. What I mean is not that I didn’t love my old man, I did, but seeing my mom and my sister again kinda made me forget that he was dying. I could even say I was happy. Happier than I have been in a long time…Then I woke up; and ever since I did it, I’ve done nothing more than to stay in this rocking chair, remembering the past to try and get a dream about it. I don’t feel like doing anything else and, I think, I finally understand Rosita and her obsession with dreams. It’s all because (and this just a wild guess) everytime you wake up from a dream. From one of those beautiful and awesome dreams… Life just… well, it gets a little less appealing.





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