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The Final Note
“I’m not leaving!” I screamed at the top of my lungs “How could you bear to think that I would have been alright with the mindless idea of moving to another country! And who do you think you are in telling me this right in front of all my cuates!”
“Jose, please, we didn’t expect you to take this so harshly.” Papa pleaded, “Trust me if your Mama and I had known you had so much feelings for this place we would have spoken with you about this matter before ever making this decision.”
“Well it’s too late now isn’t it.” I spoke grimly, “And you know what you’re no longer my father! I hate you, I hate you, I hate you!”
Then the whole world went dark.
I found myself slumped over in my bed barely holding on to my friend’s old beat up guitar that he never used. I must have had a nightmare which is actually very
mind-boggling because I had snuck out the other night to the basement to rock some tunes on the guitar to get rid of some of the tension in my body since that’s how I would cope with my stress. It’s really weird to me because I usually have nightmares when I’m really worried about certain things. And actually if I think about it I have actually, well over the past few months, must have built up a fear, actually more like a phobia, of moving from my home town Mexico City to who-knows-where ville. Ever since school ended some of my cuates came clean with the news that they were going to be moving, not just to another town or city, but to another country because of reasons that I honestly think are kind of stupid. I mean who really cares about “starting a new life”. I know I don’t. I’ve got all the things I need right here in Mexico City: a home, a mom and dad, and especially my Abuelo.
After moments of just blankly staring at the ceiling thinking of my dream I got up slapped some clothes on and went out into the world hoping that at least one of my cuates will be there to play some b-ball and not in some other completely different country.
Walking in the hazy, hot, and dry weather of Mexico in the summer is sometimes like walking in an searing hot pan of greasy chuletas that have long been overcooked and are as dry as the Sahara. I thought I was being cooked from the inside out. Desperately looking for something to drink I checked my pockets and found forty pesos which was barely enough to buy a sixteen ounce bottle of water. So I kept on walking on the burning sidewalk until I had walked at least four blocks when I finally found a small grocery store called Tropical which I thought was definitely out of place for this kind of weather. I quickly entered the store through the sliding doors and cool air whistled past my ear from an air conditioner running at full blast. Boy did it feel good. Ignoring all the busy staff and costumers I focused on finding that water bottle. As I browsed the product filled aisles I had finally found the water. Filled with relief I sprinted towards it, my tongue thirsty for its refreshing taste, when all of a sudden someone came in front of me out of seemingly nowhere and if it weren’t for that mobile staircase that only “authorized personnel” are allowed to use I would have surely caused a terrible accident. I had to catch my breath for quite a while as if I had just been in a near death experience. Actually more like a near face plant experience. When I finally got my bearings back I went up to the man who had so carelessly gotten in my way and I tried to get his attention.
“Hey, señor, can’t you watch where you’re going!” I argued.
As I waited for the response I noticed that this man really looked like someone I knew. I recognized the short, silky gray hair, the perfect posture a military man would have, and of course the green, white, and red polo with the big black letters saying “Viva Mexico!” And now I was embarrassed a bit since I sort of just talked to him as if he would have been a complete stranger. I felt like a complete idiot.
I asked in the voice of what could have been a small mouse, “A..abuelo?”
“Well that’s no way to greet your Abuelo , is it campeon?” he playfully protested in his slightly raspy but jolly voice.
“Abuelo!” I shouted with joy.
I ran up to him and we embraced for what seemed like hours. I hadn’t seen him for at least three years ever since I stopped staying with him at his house, which also happened to be converted to a music shop, because my parents decided it was no longer necessary since they no longer had to work the extra hours to earn that last bit of extra money. He is the person I always looked up to for help ever since I was un niñito, the very person who has been teaching me how to play and master the guitar all these years with the “V.I.P” private lessons he would give me. And finally after three years I have my childhood hero back.
We walked together back to my house enjoying the much cooler summer evening and talking about all the good times we had spent together. How I always helped him manage his music shop by organizing the music CDs or clean display instruments and how he would always give me a different guitar pick for every time I did an excellent job. With all this talk about the past it got me remembering the first time my Abuelo began teaching me the guitar.
“Doon, doon….doon, doon, doon,….DOON, dooooon” the iridescent green, white, and red guitar beautifully sang.
“Wow, Abuelo you play the guitar so cool!” my small seven year old voice exclaimed, “Do you think you could teach me how to play that? Please, please, please?!”
“Why sure, anything for my campeon.” Abuelo joyfully responded.
So Abuelo came over with his strong, but gentle arms and he placed me on his lap positioning my whole body in the correct way to hold his guitar. Then he began explaining to me the basics of guitar playing in such a way that wasn’t so complicated that I easily understood it and that it wouldn’t overwhelm me.
“So first let’s start by playing the note C. Just place your fingers here and there and strum downwards with your thumb.” Abuelo carefully explained.
He meticulously signaled where I should place my fingers in order to hit the right note.
“Alright Jose, now just simply strum down.”
So I listened to what exactly Abuelo and I strummed down. As I did the guitar created a long and smooth “diiiiiiinnnnn”
“Wow Abuelo, that sounded just as beautiful as the noted you were playing earlier!” I awed in excitement.
“Well that’s because your heart is good, filled with a burning fire of love and passion that you really just expressed to me on the single note you just played even though you may not have noticed it yourself, but don’t worry, in time you will be the best guitar player that I’ll ever know”
That was probably the best day of my life and I will never, ever, in the entire history of memories that I have gained throughout my life, will I forget it.
After around thirty minutes of walking and talking we had finally reached my house. The lights were on so that meant that my parents were home. As we neared the doorstep I noticed that Abuelo was lagging behind a little and looked as if he had just ran a twenty mile marathon. I ran over to him and helped him finish his walk to the door of my house. I understood that he was getting to the point in his life where he just can’t do most things all by himself, but never have I seen him this weak.
“Estas bien Abuelo? Are you alright?” I nervously questioned.
“Yeah, don’t worry campeon I just have to catch my breath” he stuttered.
I trusted my Abuelo in what he said and tried not to worry too much and I led him in to the house. I led him to the most comfy seat in the house and I went to get my parents who appeared to be cooking my favorite food: Enfrijoladas con Chorizo y Queso Fresco. Before I could say anything about Abuelo my parents took me aside and told me to sit at the table. Once we were all gathered around the table again I tried to tell that Abuelo was here but again they told to just be quiet and listen for a second.
“HIjo, we have to tell you something, something that we just can’t keep a secret any longer.” Papa in nervous voice.
“Before we tell you though you must understand that it’s for the best and we are doing this not just for our own benefit but for yours also.” Mama reassuringly explained.
I already knew what they were going to say right as I stepped into the kitchen. My whole life flashed before my eyes as a deep feeling, a very furious one began to emerge from deep within the bowels of my being. I said to myself that if they are about to tell me something that is one of my most horrible fears I was going to storm out of the house and simply run away. Run away and never be found by anyone or anything. I’ll completely disappear from the Earth as if I never existed. Now as the moment of truth unfolded I prepared myself for what I was about to do.
“Jose…..we are moving to the United States.” Both my parents said in sync.
At the same exact time instead of me hearing myself rampage out of the house I heard a loud thud and deep pain-induced groan. I felt like a piece of me, the piece that held all of my love, my care, and my passion had been torn out and shredded to pieces.…………Abuelo had collapsed.
It was Sunday morning and the sky was filled with a blue hue as beautiful as a sapphire and the sun was shining as bright as diamond. Everything was silent though. The kids weren’t playing in the streets. There was no loud car traffic anywhere to be seen. Even the wind wasn’t making a single sound, not even a slight whistle. I had just left a funeral, one I had promised myself I would never attend in my whole life. One that I thought would have never been following me all my life until the right time for it happened at the wrong time for myself to take the honest truth in. On the night that my Papa and Mama had given me the unfortunate news that I was going to move to the United States to live a better life my Abuelo passed away. I couldn’t blame my parents for any of this all they were trying to do was do something that was for the best of my being. In fact that’s what every kid should know that your parents don’t do things just for their own benefit they do it so you become something better than them. And it just so happened that it was my Abuelo’s time to go. He had done his job in raising me when my parents couldn’t and he did his best to pass down all the wise knowledge he had to me.
Now as I prepare for my big journey into a different world I tell my Mama to take me to Abuelo’s music shop so I can say my last goodye. On arriving I enter the shop and just sink in all the things that happened. I walked around a little every now and then coming across something that reminds me of a time in the past that I had with my Abuelo. Until it felt like hours have passed I realized now why I had asked to be driven here. It was because of my Abuelo’s first guitar the one that he had used to learn how to play it and the one that he had used to teach me how to play it. I searched and searched unfortunately finding nothing and knowing that all the different types of music that are in this shop were sooner or later going to be donated, bought, or even trashed I just wished I could have taken the whole shop along and brought it with me. Suddenly my Papa appeared behind me and he was holding something, a case made of genuine shiny leather. I opened it up and I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the guitar the guitar that I haven’t seen for what seemed like a century. I told myself that my parents really did care about me and not just themselves and I should be glad I have them as parents. Now that I have my dear Abuelo’s guitar I can spread his majestic and beautiful tune all across America letting every single human being hear his voice through song. I’ll always have him now by my side, watching over me as I take the trip of my life till the final note ends.