Nations Apart

Reads: 191  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Nations Apart is a short memoir about my childhood. The troubles I was faced with. I left a lot of information out, because it is a short story.

Submitted: January 12, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: January 12, 2011

A A A

A A A


Past midnight, around one-thirty in the morning on September 18th, 1990, a woman was in labor. She lay on a cheap hospital bed located in the favelas of Governador Valadares, Brazil. She was twenty-two years old and lonely. No man held her hands firmly as she gave birth to her precious boy. Her screams of pain filled the hallways, and a hairless boy came out of her womb. She cried. Had she made the right choice? It was an infinite question that kept re-surfacing in her mind. When she had given her lover the news, he had stopped and had a so-called epiphany. Cheating on his wife was unethical, so he had run away from responsibility. Desperately, the woman had wondered what to do. She made numerous appointments for abortions, but when sitting at the waiting room, guilt had rushed up her spine. The woman had decided to carry the child, but give it up for adoption. She felt it was what the child deserved. But nine months later, my mother told me, “I changed my mind.”
 
A month after I turned eight, my mother left me. It was the first time in eight years that I lived without her. She meant, and still means, the world to me. Life was just too hard to bear, being a single parent was not the cheapest and with money running extremely low, she had to make tough decisions. The rent was unaffordable, the food supply was low, the full-time job didn’t pay enough and with my father’s weekly 100 reails, we weren’t getting by. I was too young to work, so I stayed home, day and night, alone with my own thoughts.
 
I have only seen my father once. On a cloudless summer day, he passed by on a black Ford. He didn’t step out of the car. I was in the back of the house, playing with my make-believe toys. I only noticed he was there until I heard my mother shout. I slowly walked over to the front of the house and saw him for the first time in my whole life. He handed her a rotisserie chicken, and an envelope. She argued, pleading for more money, the rent was due, and she didn’t have enough. He became lost in her words as he saw me walking towards the shiny car. My mother stopped. I stood speechless. I knew who the man was supposed to be, yet I hardly knew him at all. Without words, he opened his wallet and grabbed vinte reails. My eyes glimmered upon the filthy money. My little heart jumped in excitement as the mysterious man handed me the twenty dollars, which my mother later stole to pay the rent. That was the first and last time I laid eye on my biological father, the man that was supposed to teach me how to ride a bicycle, how to play soccer, and even how to shave.
 
My mother added his miserable hundred and twenty reails to the rent-fund and was able to pay it. Though she doubted there would be enough to pay next month’s rent, she created a plan and within the next month, she would have to get a passport and a visa and come to America to work. It was the only way she saw a future for me. We had hit the bumpiest road in life and it was time to turn a new leaf. She would leave me behind and work so I could have a bright future. In her thirties, all she had was me, and I her, so we were destined to work together. I accepted all the dreams and illusions she threw my way and went with her plan. She explained to me that she would leave for a short period of time, just to make some quick money.
 
Near the end of the month, we moved from my childhood home to Itabira, a town an hour away, where most of my relatives lived. For the next year, we lived with my grandmother and my mother worked even harder to make money so she could be sent off on her big trip. She had never traveled the world, but before the year ended, she flew to the United States. It was on a hot October day, when the sun’s light shinned endlessly, that I said my goodbyes. She wore a short summer dress. She kissed my hand and said, “I love you.” I listened, and tears rushed down her cheeks as she witnessed me crying. It was the most painful day of my life. I had to let go of the person I loved the most. I was left, with my distant uncle, aunt and cousin, while she flew away.
 
For the next four years, I stayed in the guest room. When I first arrived, the blossoming mango tree caught my attention. It was so vivid and full of life. The sun fought to travel through its thick leaves. As you entered the sandy backyard, the mango tree dominated the yard. On the left side, a jungle of banana trees grew strong, while on the right side rested the run-down cottage house. After dropping my bags, I looked around the house, beautifully handmade by my uncle’s employers themselves. The house was gorgeous, from the light fixtures to the cherry-wood polished floors. It was a Brazilian castle.
 
I came upon my uncle, aunt and cousin, who inspected every inch of my body. Before my arrival, I had only seen them twice, once at a Christmas party at their old house and once during Easter time, in my grandmother’s house. Sweat rolled down my forehead. The house was blazing hot. Unlike America, Brazil had not yet taken advantage of air conditioners.
“Bem-vindo,” my aunt politely welcomed.
I smiled. My naïve mind could not recognize her judging eyes. I was chubby, in a sense, different from her picture-perfect athletic family. My aunt was a cold judge, always pointing out the mistakes of others and forgetting her own. I wanted to shrink into the cracks of the floor. My uncle did not say a word. He quietly walked away. My cousin grabbed my hand and dragged me to her room. I sat on the comfortable blue rug, listening to her blab away about soccer. She was not your average seven year-old girl. I listened, not a bit interested in her soccer games, but if I was going to live among them, I had to get used to their habits and hobbies. I cannot remember all that happened during those four years, but the memories that still haunt me are indelible.
 
It was maybe one year into my stay that I discovered the secrets my uncle hid. This was not including the intense amount of pornographic magazines hidden under the hampers, the ones my cousin and I would flip through, confused, yet intrigued. Before the servants did laundry, my aunt would grab them and throw them away. I had always noticed the distance between my uncle and aunt. He lived his own life, always going away on random trips and coming back weeks later with a big grin on his face. During my cousin’s ninth birthday bash, my aunt invited my uncle’s boss. The moment that fierce, full, young woman walked in, my aunt knew his wrongdoing during his work trips. He no longer needed a magazine, I thought to myself. I was always very watchful, though my cousin had not noted a single thing.
 
After discovering my uncle’s affair, the little happiness my aunt had vanished. Hitting her forties, white hairs growing throughout her head, it was only to be expected. She knew it and so did the rest of the family. My uncle was in his early thirties, so he lusted for someone more appealing. The only reason he did not leave her was the child they shared. My aunt never confronted my uncle on his whereabouts. She kept quiet and just hoped he never left her. My aunt found a way to release her anger, beating the living hell out of me. I could include my cousin too. Though we always looked forward to the weekends, for we traveled to many different places, such as the mall and fishing parks, they were not my cup of tea, for when we retuned home, my aunt would do anything possible to get me and my cousin into trouble, so she could give us a whipping. My poor legs have met the ends of numerous weapons, tree branches, dog leashes, belts, sandals and even her own hand. Many nights I cried myself to sleep, hoping to wake up beside my mother’s comforting hands.
 
I would only receive calls from my mother on Sundays, but for months she would not call. It worried me, though at times I did not even remember it, for the private school I attended was enough to keep my mind busy. When I used to get in contact with my mother, my heart wanted to pour the pain I carried into the telephone, yet I was so afraid of the outcome. I also did not want my mother, who was worlds away, to bother with it. So I kept it quiet for all eight years. Another thing that always made my aunt go deranged was my report card. Every semester, the school would mail our report cards, and the minute we got home, she would spank me.
“We waste all this money and that’s how you thank us!” she used to scream into my ears.
My cousin, on the other hand, had perfect grades. I admired her intelligence, at times even envying it. She always escaped my aunt’s belt. I was my aunt’s main punching bag, and over time, I got used to it. The purplish black bruises on my legs went unnoticed and so did the consecutive ear pulling and skin twisting. Not only did I deal with my aunt, I had to deal with my cousin’s growing attitude. Hairs would be pulled, arms would be scratched, but the biggest outcome was my broken heart. Whenever my cousin and I would fight, she would rain hurtful words onto my head, like hail hitting a young horse with no coverage.
 
It started with an argument, as always, but then it quickly moved from, “Where is the remote control?” to “porra,” a disturbing curse word in the Portuguese language. There was one particular time when we were playing soccer out in the backyard and she screamed at me for not playing it right. Our voices rose and our body movements accelerated, then we were in the midst of kicks and punches. We stopped to catch our breath in the humid evening and my cousin yelled grimly, “You don’t have a father and your mother abandoned you!” This was the first time I had cried in front of another human being. I always shed my tears in the absence of light, so no one could see the extent of my misery, but when I heard those words, I could no longer hold in my stress, and I exploded like a time bomb. It shattered my feelings on many different levels, not only for the ugly truth, but also for the fact that it had come from my best friend, the person I had come to trust the most, even with our endless fights. I wept, swallowing my own tears, while heavily catching my breath. She stopped. I could see the guilt in her eyes. She had finally gone too far. What followed were many repetitions of remorse. I accepted them, forgiving her, though I could never bring myself to forget. In those long four years, a smile was always pasted onto my face, and my problems always stuffed into my back drawer. That’s how I lived though it all, knowing that I would soon reach the american dream.
 
In February of 2002, the call from my mother finally came. She had called to inform me that she would not be coming back, but that I would take a trip of my own. My heart jumped like a kangaroo in the desert, full of life and strength, fighting the wind-force ahead. Later in October, I packed up all my belongings and departed from all my worries. Even though they had put me through four years of pain and suffering, I loved them and to this today, I miss them dearly, for out of the eleven brother and sisters my mother has, they were the only ones that took me in.
 
I walked out the airport with a new air surrounding me, the air of freedom, the air of America. While leaving the airport, looking for my mother and her fiancé, I wondered if she looked the same. Her long, straight silky hair, her lightly tanned skin, and most of all, our one connection, the beauty mark, she would call it, stamped on our right cheek. As I searched among the crowd of people, looking for their own loved ones, I spotted her. She wore a flowery purple dress, long and colorful. I dropped my bags and ran towards her arms.


© Copyright 2018 PSilva. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: