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It's still cold

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The door creaked open the same time every morning. It was when even the sun did not want to wake up. Light thumps could be heard and a dim ray of light could be seen through the cracks of the door. The thumps never lasted long; she would fall back asleep quickly, her heart a little empty. It was the same routine every time, every day. When the sun rose, racket from above and below was the alarm calling for her to wake up. 6:00 am, in other words it was time to get ready for school. The way to school was a blur. It neared 7:30 when she would reach the dull black gates of her imprisonment. Her sister already had gone ahead as she let her mother give her a “bendición”. She shivered from the morning breeze. Walking past the gates, inside the dark doors, the security guard greeted her as she directed her to breakfast. Yeah, it was the same routine.


School was the same as usual. Today was one of those days where her teacher called for “Maribel” to come down. Maribel, the girl’s older sister, was being told of the usual occurrences by her younger sister. Walking out, she would mutter the same thing “, Angeles, ya aplácate.” By the end of the day, she had another one or two disappointments stapled to her shirt for the world to see. Another reminder of another failure; it didn’t matter though, since they always ended up in the trash. There was never any need for evidence. At the end of the day, waiting for her mother at the playground, she would play with her friend. The played the same hand game while butchering the song because there were just too many words. They kept singing the same song “666 del 96. . .” until one of them had to go. That was the last day she saw her. Their own voices still ringing softly in her head “. . . del 96. . .”


The rest of the day was filled with walking from here to there, homework, walking, talking to the neighbors, oh and walking. At home, everyone was doing something. The mother was doing some type of work that the little girl could not understand. The older was sister was not home, but when she was, she was hardly around anyways. The father, the father was never home. Her heart felt heavier than before. She fisted her shirt. The week went by quickly for her. There were smiles, a few laughs and odd moments, and she couldn’t seem to remember much at all. Everything started to get colder. She needed a jacket to protect her from the cold.


Friday was a different this week. The children had no school, yet the house felt empty. They knew the rules though, don’t answer anything, don’t open anything, and don’t leave. The day was mostly quiet. The outside world was starting to become blanketed by a shadow of white. They stayed in the living room where you could at least still see some light peeking from the curtains. Sometime in the afternoon, the little girl read to her older sister in the living room. The next morning they woke up in their room covered with an extra blanket. Outside you heard the sounds of cars and voices, different voices. Inside, you could only hear the slight sounds of pots and pans coming from the kitchen. The house was cold.


Wednesday was another routine day. The snow bit her nose; she shivered from anything but the cold. By the end of the day, she had a disappointment taped to her shirt; the teacher was out of staples. On this day, the girls did not sleep. It was too cold to sleep. They stayed cuddled up to each other wrapped in a blanket watching a novela on Telemundo. They heard the front door screech open and shut quietly. Keys sang until they gave a thump. The girls unwrapped themselves from a tangled mess and ran to the kitchen. The girl felt warm as she was embraced by cold arms. By now it was midnight. The mother served hot cocoa and bolillos for the night. They ate in peace, their eyes sporting dark circles, shoulders drooping, but a soft smile was upon their faces. They spoke to one another with joy and familiarity for some time, enjoying the winter night. Speaking together in the cold room, the girl would enjoy the warmth while it lasted.




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