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You Can Only Move Up
I wake up in the van that we’ve been living in for the past two days. I need to use the restroom, but I don’t want to wake up my mom, because she’s sleeping next to my sister and keeping her warm, and my dad is sleeping in the driver’s seat. I try and see if I could get out without waking anyone up, but all these cans of food are in my way.
“Dad.” I wispered in his ear.
He only murmurs and I know he means, what do I need or want.
“I need to use the restroom,” I say, “I really need to go.”
He starts to open his baggy eyes as he turns over his shoulder to check if anyone else is awake. He picks me up and walks me to 7-11, which is only a couple steps away because we parked behind some apartments.
When I came back from the restroom, my dad had a coffee, donuts, and chocolate milk on the cashiers counter. I just stare at the donuts, because they look delicious and I’m hungry. As we start heading back to the van, I can see my sister’s head popping up, looking around, almost like a meerkat. My dad tells me to hurry up, and share my donuts and chocolate milk with my little sister. My mom is up, too, but she’s just laying down, and I can tell she’s thinking, I don’t know of what but she has that thinking face on.
“I got the job.” Dad says to my mom.
“Did you really?” Asks my mom with a total excitement in her voice.
“Yes, I start in an hour.” Dad replies.
When my dad had to head in for work at 7-11, he smiled at us told us, to be good for mom, and that he’ll be back in no time and kissed us goodbye. My mom took us to the back of 7-11 near by the dumpster, and started playing with us and taught us most of the nursery rhymes that I know now. By my dad’s break he brought us soups and something to drink, it wasn’t enough for the four of us, but at least it calmed down the hunger.
That night when Dad got out of work, we met his boss. His boss was a tall, white man, with tattoos on his arms. The man also had a long beard, just like Santa Clause. My parents began to talk to him, I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but we ended up following him to some hidden apartments. Little did I know that he was helping us get a studio to live in for now. The studio was a very small. It didn’t have a door; it was a glass sliding door like the ones in nice houses. As soon as you walk in you would be walking into the kitchen, as you start to heading to the back you would enter the room that was small, it’s as big as a queen sized bed. As for the bathroom, which was even smaller that only one person could fit in it, that even a mice would feel claustrophobic. Although for the first time, in a long time, we got to sleep in a room as a family, on the floor, but it was a lot better than the van.
In the morning, you could feel a different vibe, as if we have done something amazing. My mom had a job interview at a casino, so we dropped her off, and headed back to our new home. My father wanted to explore the area around the apartments, so we went through the back. We found something that gave us even more hope… a mattress. A mattress that was lying next to the dumpster, it was a yellow full size bed that you could tell it was pretty used, we took the mattress to 7-11 where my dad works, and asked to use the chemicals to clean it. After waiting a while for the mattress to dry, we took it home. Dad had told us to keep it a surprise from mom, I was so excited even though I’m not sure why. When we picked my mom from her interview, my dad told her we had a big surprise for her.
“We got Matters!” I blurt out
“Ele! You’re not supposed to say anything until she saw it.” Said my little sister in a disappointed voice that I have spilled the beans. My mom and dad only laughed.
Years have passed, about 11 or 12 to be more specific. Although this is something that seems like a depressing moment, I hope that you’ll see how blessed one can be. Since then we have moved to the suburbs, we own a four bedroom house and we haven’t gone hungry since. I fight hard with this memory, because even though I experienced this, I was too young to understand that we were struggling to live. I have a lot of respect for my parents for fighting hard for my sister and I, and because they never gave up. They could have just said “Ok, we’re doing well let’s just stay here.” But thank God they didn’t, because then I would be living in North Las Vegas. This really can to showed me that if you WANT to move forward, you really can. It will always depend on you, no one else.