The Price of Freedom

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While walking down the colorful streets of a city next to the beautiful city of Guanajuato, besides the sound of my boots hitting against the floor, I heard my mom’s demanding voice screaming at me to get back in the house. I seriously (1a) thought about it for a while, but then I realized I should go inside, otherwise she would be really mad,I may be tall and strong (1b) but sometimes my mom is like a crazy rhino trying to protect its babies and i cant compete against that. As soon as I tiptoed (1b) inside, the sweet and somewhat bitter smell of the chilaquiles and the spices filled the room (2b). Tomatoes, cheese and chicken were all together on the table mixed together into a colorful and delicious meal.

“Francisco, I need your help,” she said “I need you to buy 5 tomatoes for me please.”

“No, sorry,” I replied nicely “I have a lot of things to do, you can go.”

“Francisco, I told you to do something, now go and do it!” she exclaimed.

“NO!” I snapped back.

I suddenly realized I did the wrong thing. My mom walked heavily at me with a wooden spoon in her hand, a serious expression on her face and anger at the same time. Now the spoon was almost braking in her hand, her face was bright red, like one of those fresh tomatoes (2a) from Italy. She was about to hit me! So I rapidly said:

“OK, I’ll go!” I said just as she raised the wooden, brown spoon (2b) in the air as if it was a trophy she wanted to break. Probably against my head.

“Ok then, go and I don’t want you to talk to me like that ever again.” She said as she turned around and headed back to the kitchen to finish the chilaquiles.

When you had to go somewhere here in my city, you had to walk a long way and it was really annoying.

When I got home again I placed the tomatoes on the table and went to my room, without even looking at my mom’s face.

It was a long weekend, I know it was just 2 days but it felt like a century! My mom said I was grounded for a week so I couldn’t go with my friends and play or run in the park. The only thing I could do was go to the fruits and vegetables market and buy things for my mom.

We heard a loud noise coming from the outside of the house, someone was knocking at the door, and maybe it was one of my friends! I opened the door and what I saw was really unexpected. A man with really dirty clothes and a big gun on his right hand, his face was also dirty and I thought he wanted some money.

“How old are you?” he asked me with a demanding voice and a serious expression.

“16,” I said and then I realized my voice came out as a weird sound, so I realized I was nervous for no reason, “Who are you?”

“That is not something relevant right now, you are coming with us.” He said as he gave me the gun he was carrying. I don’t know why but I started to follow him.

“Where are we going?” I asked really confused.

“We are going to fight the Spanish and take back the land that belongs to us, Guanajuato.” he replied.

They told me that they were taking every man they could find in town so they could defeat the Spanish and finally get the freedom they deserve. We were going to just walk in there and start to shoot everyone they saw, I honestly thought it was a bad plan because they would see us easily and probably hide or strike back with their more advanced weapons. I had to admit that they had already recruited many man already and that we had enough people to defeat the Spanish. Yes, the Spanish had a lot of people. Yes, they also had better weapons, but I knew something those stupid and stinky Spanish guys didn’t have, a good reason to fight. We had to protect our houses, our families, our children; we didn’t want all of it to end up as a river of blood. They were the ones who made us leave our homes in the first place. They were the ones who separated families and killed many people. They were the ones who started all this problems. And now they are the ones who will suffer all of the consequences.

Some of the men were riding their horses but many were walking, all the way to the city of Guanajuato.

We got to the city of Guanajuato and it was a beautiful city. I couldn’t stop wondering of how such a beautiful city could be filled with horrible animals and in some time would be a huge river of blood. The weirdest thing was that there was no one on the streets, as if they knew we were coming, coming for them.

You could feel the tension growing between everyone there, we were starting to walk slower, and more careful with every single step we took. It was a long journey but we were not tired, we were thirsty, thirsty for blood. We saw a bunch of Spanish guys running to the center of the city, but instead of shooting them, we all started to follow them.

A few minutes later we realized they were hidden in La Alhondiga de Granaditas, a beautiful place that is used for grain storage, and now I guess it is their hiding place. It was a big building, with two big wooden doors. Some men walked really close to the building, and when they tried to open the doors, ready to shoot, they realized the doors were locked so they were sure that they were in there. After a few minutes of trying to open the doors, six Spanish soldiers started to shoot down at us from the building’s roof. We ran back hiding behind whatever we could find, I hid behind a big rock, where no one could shoot me.

“No eres muy joven para estar aqui?” someone asked me in Spanish behind me.

“What?” I asked, seriously confused. I have told my mom since when I could remember, that I wanted to learn Spanish, and the answer always was, “it takes a long time to learn Spanish kid, you can’t learn it from one day to another” and then she left without teaching me a single word. I always thought I should learn Spanish because all my friends talked in Spanish so I had to ask them to talk in English, and that was annoying.
“Oh, you just speak English, that’s not very common” he said “I asked, aren’t you too young to be here?”

“I’m 16, old enough to kill a bunch of Spanish guys.” I answered very confident. “What are we going to do? They are everywhere on the roof.”

“I don’t know, we have four leaders, Hidalgo, Allende, Aldama and Jimenez. I bet at least one of them will know what to do” he answered as if he wasn’t worried about dying, but you could see in his face he was really afraid.

I started to hear a lot of people screaming, people from our side. It sounded like if they were screaming something, a name, but I couldn’t find out what it was. After a few minutes of listening all the screaming I finally realized what it was, it was a name, “Pipila”. That’s when I saw it. All I could see was a man with a big rock on his back, covering him completely. He had a torch in his right hand and he was walking towards the door.

The people on the roof started to shoot and that was when I realized his plan, he had the rock on his back so he could cover himself! When he got to the door he placed the torch under the door and then I noticed what he was trying to do, he was going to burn both doors.

After five minutes I saw a bunch of men running towards where the Pipila was, they waited for a while and then it all started. I heard guns shooting, people screaming, running, falling and of course they were all dying.I was still behind that rock, scared, just staring, staring at the red river running wildly down the streets. After fifteen minutes I was still behind that rock, like a chicken hiding from a hungry cheetah. When it was all over I stood up, with a gun in my hand feeling like a total coward.

The excitement of defeating the Spanish was so big that I didn’t even felt guilty because just hid instead of helping my family or my friends.

We walked back home and when I opened the door I saw my mom on the floor, tears coming out of her eyes and falling onto the floor and over my father’s dead body.

He was laying there, on the floor, there was blood all over the floor and on his shirt, there was a dark red spot right on his chest, where they shot him. He was loosing a lot of blood so i realized he wouldn’t make it. i fell on my knees, right next to my dead father. i was filled with anger, sadness, and some hope. i wanted my dad to just open his eyes, stand up and hug me, but that was just a dream. his eyes were closed, but he was still breathing, heavily, but he was.

A few hours passed and we were still there, my mom and I, holding on to his hands. as if we still had a chance.I had no idea of what I wanted, if I wanted him to stay alive but in pain, or if I wanted him to die and be in peace. I was thinking about it when I heard an agonizing sound, it was my dad, and when I turned around to look at him I couldn’t see his chest moving up or down so that was when I realized he was gone.















I looked out of the window and realized we were free, finally free. I couldn’t believe it! after so many years of fear, hiding and crying just because of the Spanish soldiers. They destroyed or cities, killed our people and used us, used us as slaves. People were celebrating, with huge smiles, covering their faces. My dad helped them, helped us to be free again, he died, but he died in a good way, helping others. People were making food and taking it somewhere to share it and celebrate. I heard footsteps coming down the stairs, it was my mom, with her beautiful and colorful dress. She loved that dress, white, red, orange, pink, green ,blue and yellow. I think she liked it because it had many colors. It took her a few weeks to stop crying because of our loss, but now she was better, but she will never be the same joy-full, gentle and happy woman she always was. My dad died in war, fighting, fighting for his family and for his friends, and now, i realized, thtats the price of freedom.





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