Está Bien This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

January 10, 2012
By
“Damn, Lisa! Why you gotta be such a scaredy cat? You sure you a true Chicana?” my friend Maria asked, standing right in front of my face and daring me with her eyes. She wanted me to join her and two other friends and beat up two girls who were coming toward us, but there was no way I was going to get into a fight with those girls. I didn’t even know them!

My friend and I are considered Chicanas, which means we are half Mexican and half American. We speak Spanglish when we’re together, which means we use both languages, switching when we have no idea how to say something in one. We speak like Mexican gangsters. Most people think that if you speak that way, you are a gangster. For us it’s different, because we aren’t. My friend, Maria Guadalupe, is short, with short black hair and light skin. She came to the United States long before I did. Probably you’re getting confused. We were born here, but our parents sent us to Mexico. Maria’s parents brought her back four years later, but I didn’t come back until I was 14. I didn’t know her until I got here. I always make fun of her long name, and of course she gets ticked off, but she laughs, too. She calls me Lisa.

You might say Maria is a “hard-core girl,” but if you knew her like I do, she isn’t such a hard core. She gets into fights, but sometimes it’s not her fault, like what happened about a year ago. Thank God it was the last time. She wanted to beat the crap out of those girls, or morras, as she calls them. (It is a bad word.) Actually, it depends on the way you use the word; if you’re talking about your friend, it has a different meaning, it just means “girl. “

We were going to the park, just to hang out. As we walked, Maria made fun of me and the way I talk. She says I’m a schoolgirl. The thing is, I do talk like she does, only not as much. My English vocabulary is much better than hers, and I know how to spell much better, too. I don’t feel like a geek or anything, but it does tick me off when she starts bragging about the way I talk.

She kept on so I told her to stop. “Would you quit whining? Keep doing that, and I’m going to make you feel sorry.” By now I had moved to block her way. My hands were in my pockets, but loose so that if she tried anything I would be able to throw a punch. To my surprise she just stared past me. She had a face that looked so angry, it made me feel sorry I had yelled at her. “What are you looking at, morra? You look as if you saw the devil,” I said. Turning around, I raised one eyebrow as high as I could.

They were coming, the worst enemies of Maria. There were three of them. I knew them, they were in my class. They never, ever spoke a single word to me, and they didn’t bother me at all, either. My friend Maria didn’t even know their names, but she did know they hated her guts, and all because one of them used to get all the attention from guys, until my friend took that away.

“Hey, Lisa?” she asked with her hands formed in fists. “You and those morras go to the same class, right?” I didn’t answer quickly.

“What’s that got to do with them?” I asked, trying to make her tell me what she was planning.

“C’mon, Lisa, you the one who doesn’t cut class, you should’ve figured it out already.” She was laughing but still looking forward. Those girls were only a block away now.

“Yeah, I know, but you, you are unpredictable. You make me think you are about to do something, and you end up doing something else!” I said, pushing her back. She had taken me as her target of mocking today. It had been going on since she picked me up at my house.

“That means you at least know their names,” she told me as she put me aside.

“Yes, I do know their names, but they don’t talk to me,” I answered. I was looking at her back and wishing she wasn’t my friend so that I could at least throw a punch, pull her hair and push her into a puddle.

“So, why are you just standing there? Tell me!” she screamed. I was startled. I felt my heart go away from my body.

“Stupid, you didn’t have to scream! I’m not deaf, you know,” I told her, holding my hips and stretching my neck as far as I could.

¡Está bien!” she said in a much lower voice.

“The girl with the red jacket, high heels and big hair is Marisela. The one in the middle with the black jacket and black jeans is Araceli. The one all in pink is Rebeca,” I told her. She just stood quiet.

Then out of nowhere, she said, “You know, maybe the only way those morras are going to keep their mouths shut is if they get a little bit of how it feels to get beat up. They don’t know who they’re messing with.” She was determined to let them know she wasn’t going to let them push her around. Then she and our other two friends started walking toward them. I stayed behind.

“Lisa, ain’t you coming?” she asked, turning around.

“No, I’ve got no beef with them,” I answered, then turned and started walking away.

“You are so pathetic. What kind of friend are you? We are supposed to stand together in times of need,” she yelled, making the sign of “I love you” in sign language, only it was upside-down. I had already stopped walking.

“Why is it that it always has to be your way, huh? Can’t you at least try to understand the fact that I’m not like you? I don’t just fight ’cause they’re talking about me or ’cause I hate them!” I yelled like I had never yelled before. The three girls were listening, and mumbling to each other. Maria stood frozen. “I guess I never thought you were this upset. I’m sorry I mocked you. But it does tick me off that you don’t want to help,” she said quietly, though I could hear her clearly.

If we were in Mexico we wouldn’t be arguing about whether or not to beat up a girl or two. In Mexico people are more united, at least teenagers. There are gangs in Mexico, but not as violent as here in America. The three girls had already walked away.

“I didn’t mean to embarrass you in front of them, but you have changed. I don’t even know why,” I said, as I stood about six steps away from her with my shoulders down. I was tired, but it felt good to tell her how I felt.

“Look, I consider you my best friend, but I’m tired of seeing you so nice, so patient,” she said as she looked me straight in the eye. “I’m different from you. I’m more like this messed-up girl. Everybody thinks that I got no feelings, except you, you were the first real friend that I got. One who is not with me for protection.” She had started crying. Her other friends just walked away. I think it was better that they left.

I already knew why she was the way she was. Mexico was everything for her. She felt free. There, no one tells you you can’t climb a tree or you can’t run around the streets ’cause you’ll get hit by a car. Don’t get me wrong; I miss all that, too. But I have my mother with me and my sister and brother. Maria’s mom died about half a year ago during her visit to Mexico. The worst part is that Maria and her mom had a fight the day before her mom went to Mexico. Maria says she felt the urge to demand her mom not go to Mexico; I guess she had a feeling something really bad was about to happen. I admire Maria for being this strong. She has a kind heart, but doesn’t want pity from anyone, so she feels the need to show she is not hurt.

After our fight, Maria started to change. Now she is different; she’s even doing better in school than I do. “I always thought you were the real schoolgirl,” I told her once. Giggling, she said she had to hang up the phone because she hadn’t finished her homework.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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