Breaking Bones Healing Families

January 22, 2009
By Camilo Salgado, Culver, IN

A blatant thump. A quiet Crack. A vengeful snap. My nerve dissipates, I cannot open my eyes. My sister screeches “Oh, my god!” as the crowd gasps in horror. My whimper is hushed by her piercing voice. Gasping for air, I hold my ribs until tranquil hands bring my pain to rest. In my flash of weakness foreign help has come. Shame. I cannot face those who have witnessed my defeat. The man who helps me has a story that can be felt through his hands. As he helps me to my feet, I can tell that his hands have suffered and bled and callused. They are rugged and rough and yet they are reassuring. A shrouded past molded by premature labor. I do not remember that day as the day I fell off my horse. Nor the day I broke my collar bone. It was one of the best days of my life.

It had been years since I had heard of my uncle Fito. The times of having family barbecues or going to the park together had turned from routine events to distant memories. Perhaps a video cassette down in the basement still holds these memories safe, protected, forgotten. I never dared to ask my dad about him because the bad blood between them still brewed as hot as the day they fought. Fought for reasons long forgotten.

I can breathe again. Courage slowly fills my eyelids and gives them the power to unveil my eyes. I see him for the first time in years. My uncle. I’m being lifted by the man that my dad had grown to hate. The man I had grown to hate. The man who had grown to hate me. Yet he’s the first one to come to my aid, his voice reassuring me that everything is ok and that I had just “gotten off my horse a little faster than usual.” He picks me up and helps me walk towards my dad. They take me to the hospital.

I wake up to the snickers of laughter. Two grown men giggling like school girls, what a sight. Wait why are they laughing? I thought they hated each other. Have I been in a coma or something? They turn to me when they notice that I’m finally awake. “What? Can’t two brothers have a good time?” my dad asks as I look at him funny. It turns out they had come to terms and made up throughout the night as they watched over me in the hospital. I should have broken my collar bone years ago if I knew it would heal my family.

The author's comments:
My name is Camilo and I am the exception in my family. Not because I’ve done miraculous things in my life, it’s because I have simply done one thing, have a successful high school career. Most of my cousins got married during the late stages of their teenage years. I haven’t. Most have become fathers or mothers while they themselves were still kids. I haven’t. Some have even been incarcerated because they thought they were big men and started dealing drugs. I don’t. I’m just a kid trying to get an education. That’s a miracle in my family.

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