Author: Sarah Alvarado

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Sonias

1984 “I bought a theater for the house,” Manuel beamed. He had been waiting outside the apartment complex to catch Sonia when she pulled in. “What’s that?,” Sonia asked eyeing the huge box Manuel was holding. Manuel started for the door with an impish grin. Once inside he tore open the box and began connecting the contraption to the TV, “it’s a VCR!” They had two kids named after themselves – Manuel Jr and Sonia Veronica. Sonia worked at a cafeteria downtown. Manuel drove a furniture truck. Sometimes he took four year-old Sonia Veronica with him. He never came home late and always helped with the cooking, the cleaning, and the kids. The family was close to leaving their small yet happy, $170-a-month apartment in Huntington Park. They had been saving to buy a house for four years. The neighborhood wasn’t bad, but Baby Jr.’s clothes were always being stolen off of the clothesline. As soon as Manuel finished he realized he had no idea where to find VHS tapes. The young family piled into …

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Alice

“Where are we going? I’ve never been down this way before…” “When you’re in class do you understand what’s going on?” “Yes. … When the teacher asks a question I’m usually the first one with my hand up.” “Yeah – but do you really understand what’s happening? I’m just wondering if you’re slow… because right now you don’t seem to understand what’s going on. We are going down the 15. The 15 is another way to San Diego.” Mortified and hurt I sat quietly. I didn’t know that Temecula was not along the 5. The girl intent on making me feel like a fool was my best friend Alice. Alice and I became friends at a time when my heart was aching and raw. My long-time boyfriend had just left me. Every waking moment was like being lost in a cold, isolated tundra. Tears were always waiting behind my eyes. Weekdays were filled with the business of school and work, but I couldn’t bear weekends alone. Alice was in the same situation. We were drawn …

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Tia

Joanie was the firstborn of nine – the love child of a young girl and an adulterous older man. Her mother, Rosana, had two more children with this man but finally left him when she accepted he would never leave his wife. As the years went on, more siblings were born with various fathers. Rosana was one of the few things they shared. She was young; she drank and knew men. She wore tight black pants, tight low-cut blouses, black hair teased high on her head, and a tattoo on her bosom. Once Rosana’s mother got fed up with the borderline negligent situation in which her grandchildren lived. She rescued them from Rosana’s house and resettled them at her own place. Eventually, though, the children drifted back to their mother one by one. Joanie was their shepherd. She strived to be a good example and take responsibility for her flock of little brothers and sisters. She gave them the love and attention that Rosana did not. Joanie strived to get her siblings to church; she …

Image for The 10 Story by Sarah

The 10

I don’t want to go to my Dad’s house. I can’t pinpoint why. I always feel guilty when I don’t want to go. I feel guilty about a lot of things. I am guilt-ridden beyond my years. But I need to be present for Dad. Sometimes I need to be present for Mom. Today it’s Dad. He called yesterday, and the day before that, and even before that. He confirmed and reconfirmed our plans. He wanted to be certain. We have plans. He’s so excited that we have plans. I’m going to go down there. We are going to see Straight Outta Compton: Me, him and my brother. It’s gonna be great. Our high regard for ’90s rap music is something we can easily talk about. We can remember way back when this song or that came out and where we were living and how great it was. I liked the ’90s. I was a kid. The world felt amazing, I was born in the best state in the U.S.A. and the U.S.A. was the …