Mr. Sanchez

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It’s a funny thing, responsibility. Sometimes you see it coming, welcome it with open arms. Getting my motorcycle had been like that. I’d relished my newfound freedom, speeding down the highway with all the carelessness of youth. Sometimes, though, you don’t see responsibility coming. It just pops up behind you and whacks you over the head with a baseball bat. Now was one of those times.

I must have made an odd sight, standing at the front desk of my sister’s elementary school- a teen boy hand-in-hand with a little girl, looking over enrollment forms while decked out in sneakers and skinny jeans. Mama would not approve. Skinny jeans, in her opinion, were girls only. She also would not have approved of me bringing Maria over here on my motorcycle, pigtails flapping in the wind, tiny hands fisted in my shirt.

Mama, though, was no longer here, dead a week ago in a car crash. She left Maria, six years old and still a baby, grandfather Abuelo, old, senile and of no use at all, and me, seventeen and not-quite-grown-up, still just a kid with a cool bike. I focused on the paper before me and filled out the forms. My handwriting was small and scratchy next to the imposing, official print. I hesitated for just a moment before scrawling my name on the space marked ‘guardian’. Was I a guardian now? It seemed an awfully big title. Guardians were strong, impressive men, not teen boys with D’s in history and red motorcycles. I gave the forms back to the receptionist, who took them with a chirpy “thank you, Mr. Sanchez.”

“It’s Carlos,” I automatically corrected. I paused. Or was it? With Mama gone, the position of adult fell to me. Carlos was not an adult. Carlos was a kid with no cares who rode around on his motorcycle.

I glanced out the window at said motorcycle, gleaming and cherry-red. It was every boy’s dream. I’d have to sell it though, and buy a car, something cheap and reliable that could hold a week’s worth of groceries, cart Maria to ballet class twice a week, and rescue Abeulo and his bike when he got lost on the trails. I felt very, very tired, as if a great burden had just come crashing down on my shoulders.

I was grown up. I was Mr. Sanchez now.





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