Life In Florida
I can not believe this is happening. “Florida?” I looked at my parents, “but we live in New Mexico.”
“We don’t anymore,” said my father, “pack your things, Marcos, we leave tomorrow,” he walked out of the room.
I looked at my mother in disbelief, but we knew that there was no arguing with my father, nor would there be a family discussion about this.
“It’s his job, sweetheart,” said my mother, “you know that I don’t want to leave my friends and family either.” My mother's family had lived here since her great-great-great grandmother moved here to marry her great-great-great grandfather.
“It’s not fair,” I said then walked out of our tiny living room into my even smaller bedroom.
I looked around, out the tiny window, onto our tiny street, to the tiny houses with their tiny wages, their tiny children in this tiny Latin American town. This is all I’ve known, I didn’t wanna leave my friends and my school and my tiny house and my tiny bedroom. But I still packed my things, it only took about three boxes, my books, my trophies and more books. I had never really been a sports kid, which I think is why my father had never really accepted me, I would rather go to the library with my mother than go to the park and throw around a ball.
But I knew that tomorrow morning, everything would change for me.
“MARCOS!” I jumped awake just in time for my father to come bursting into my room, “You should have been awake an hour ago, we have to be on the road in 15 minutes or we’ll hit traffic,” my father just gave me a look and then walked out of the room.
“Good morning to you too,” I mumbled as I got out of bed to get dressed in my final 15 minutes of being home. I walked into the kitchen to have breakfast, cereal, as always. This is my last meal at home and they can’t even make it special for me, typical.
“Time to get in the car,” said my father in his I’m-saying-this-and-don’t-you-argue voice.
It takes 26 hours to drive to Florida from New Mexico, and we didn’t stop unless my father had to go to the bathroom or if my mother was hungry.
We got to Florida on Sunday and my father expected me to go to school on Monday, which I obviously did because you can’t argue with the guy. So on Monday I woke up and I went to school.
When I walked into school, the only thing that I could see was white. White people, white walls even more white people. I didn’t see a single black/spanish/asian person, or even a hint of anything other than white. People were staring at me, probably wondering what an Ecuadorian boy was doing in their all white school. I walked into the office and the woman sitting at the desk just looked at me and said, “Name,” very rudely.
“Marcos Valdez,” I said to her, “I’m a trans-” I didn’t even get to finish before she interrupted me.
“Yes, I know, you’re a transfer student from New Mexico, here’s your schedule and a map of the school, now you’re going to be late to class if you don’t hurry, and we don’t tolerate lateness,” She practically pushed me out of the door with her words while sitting at her desk.
“Okay,” I mumbled while walking out of the door. As I was walking through the hallway, people were staring at me, they all just stared at me like I was a snake stuck in a spiders web.
I walked into Algebra 2/Trig and I had to introduce myself in front of the class and everyone was whispering as I was doing it. This happened in the rest of my classes as well, and the only seat that was open was the one in the back of the classroom. As I walked through the hallways I heard things like, “Spec” and “Spanglish”. I delt with this all day without saying a word to anyone or having a conversation with anyone until I got home to talk to my mother.
“How was school, honey?” she asked me, “did you make a lot of friends?”
“No, Mother, I did not make any friends, nor did I talk to anyone,” I told her about the name calling and the staring and even how the teachers seemed to be upset that I was there, life in Florida sucks. Then, my father came home.
“Marissa, why haven’t you started dinner and why hasn’t Marcos unpacked any of my things yet?” he asked as he came through the living room door.
“You didn’t ask me to do that, Dad,” I said to him, “but I guess that I’ll do it anyways.”
“The boxes are in the garage!” He called after me.
A few weeks passed by and nothing has changed. People are still calling me names and I rarely talk in school. One day at school though I got called out of U.S. History, to the main office. When I walked in the lady sitting at the desk said to me, “Marcos Valdez?” in an uninterested tone.
“Yes thats me,” I responded dryly.
“Okay, well you can go into Principal Haris’ office now,” she said and pointed in the direction of the door.
I walked into the office to see my mother crying, “What is it mom?” I looked from my mother to Principle Haris and back to my mother.
“It’s your father, Marcos,” said Principle Haris, “he got into a car accident this morning and he is in the ICU, your mother is going to take you to the hospital and you are excused from the remaining of today’s classes as well ast tomorrow’s, you can go now, and I am so sorry.”
My mother and I walked out of the school in silence, when we got into the car she finally said to me, “Marcos, I want you to know that your father has a chance that he might not make it,” she said in a squeaky voice that sounded like a mouse. I didn’t answer her, I couldn’t believe that this was happening, even though I may have hated my father, he didn’t deserve this.
As we walked into the hospital my mother knew exactly where to go, when we walked into the room that my father was in, he was hooked up to all these machines and stuff.
“Hey, Dad,” I said tentatively, touching his hand.
“Hey kiddo,” he said weakly, “Marissa, would you mind leaving us for a bit?” He asked, my mother nodded and left the room.
“What’s wrong Dad?” I asked him, concerned.
“Marcos,” he said weakly, “I’m sorry that I’ve been so harsh on you, I just wanted you to succeed and I want you to know that I do love you more than anything.”
“I love you too Pop,” I said wearily, I hadn’t called him that since I was three.
“I also know that kids are making fun of you in school, but I don’t want that to stop you from being who you are and stop you from excelling in school and going to college,” he said looking at me.
“Ok, it won’t Dad, I promise,” I looked away from him for a couple seconds, then there was this weird, loud beeping sound, and I looked at my father, “Dad? DAD!” I ran into the hallway, “Help! We need some help over here!” Nurses started to run past me into my father’s room, and the rest was a blur. I slid down against the wall outside of my father’s room, tears running down my cheeks. I realized that I was sobbing-loud, like an elephant in the moonlight.
I got through my first year in my new school and I even made a few friends, I miss my dad every day, and I don’t think that my mother has fully healed yet, but we’re gonna be ok and I’m not being called names anymore and the teachers don’t completely ignore me anymore so life in Florida has improved, even without my father.