All posts filed under: volume four

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 …

Image for Miracle Man story by Alex

Miracle Man

It is another sunny day in southern California. While walking down the pier I can feel the cool ocean breeze and smell the hot dogs and cotton candy. I feel thirsty all of a sudden and I crave a tall glass of ice cold orange soda. Kids are running around excited about going on the rides. Along the beach I can see people laying on their towels working on their golden California tans. Beyond the pier I see a few sail boats slowly glide across the blue ocean. It was late 2009 when I first started to get headaches and started feeling out of sorts. I figured it was just temporary and it would go away eventually but it did not. Then I noticed a small bump on the right side of my neck, sort of like a pimple, which I thought was strange. The headaches continued and the bump on the right side of my neck kept growing. I was able to feel it now like a small pea. In a few weeks it …

Image for Charro Story by Salgado

Charro of Caratacua

It was not what I expected, a day at the beach, waiting for the sunset. The day before, my grandfather arrived at our front patio after being picked up at the airport, wearing a sheepskin jacket, stubbly faced, looking frail and gaunt, but with a big smile when he heard my voice greet him at the door. “Hijo, eres tu?” He said, extending his arms out toward my voice. I responded it was I and asked how he was. Fine, he said, still kicking. He then asked about my mother. I hadn’t seen him in years. I’d heard he’d been sick in Mexico and thought about asking him what that was all about. Instead, I just accepted he was well enough to make the trip like always. Still, he was an old man now, weak, and, unlike the memories of my youth, a shadow of his former self, a horseman from Mexico. We’d be spending the next day together before he’d have to leave to visit other relatives in California. As we chatted over dinner …

Image for Warriors Story by Fabiola

Warrior of East L.A.

I remember Flaca walking into the computer lab with her white t-shirt, khaki shorts that met her tube socks at her knees, her fancy leather black belt, her slick dark sun glasses and her checkered red and beige long sleeve shirt. She looked like a cholo. She took her time walking across the room, scanning the computer lab as though preparing for battle. When she finally reached my desk, she handed me a referral from a government program she was forced to enroll in and said, in a low voice, “Hey Miss. I’m here to get help with my Math and English, so what do I do”? I was recruited into the tutoring program by my trigonometry professor at East Los Angeles College since I often enjoyed assisting classmates. I remember Flaca sitting in front of the computer simply staring at the screen. I thought she was struggling with the operation of the computer. I learned later that she would come to class intoxicated and brought her happy juice. It was a thirty- two ounce …

Image for Piece Story by Susanna

A Piece of Myself

When I was a kid I would tell others I was from somewhere else. Hawaii was a place I had visited and loved when I was 13. The Hawaiian and Tahitian music and dancing, the beautiful racial features, and the mellow, peaceful ways of the islanders captivated me. I had met a young native Hawaiian surfer, Dustin. I scared the pants off my mom and her boyfriend Bob, after staying in the water with Dustin on our surfboards for close to four hours; they couldn’t find me. Finally, I was telling people I grew up there, even though I was a native Angelina and had only spent two weeks on the islands. I started to believe it. At 16, I ran away from home and crossed illegally into Mexico. I dropped out of college in my late 20s to go live in Spain with my boyfriend, a Spaniard, to study flamenco and become a professional belly dancer. Then, on one of my visits home from Spain, I was handed a treasure chest full of old …

Image for Cross One Day story by Brian

A Crossing One Day

Returning to the United States from a two-week trip to México City, we crossed into El Paso, Texas. My friend José and I sat on a charter bus that maneuvered through narrow streets of brick buildings, bisected by railroad tracks. “We lived two blocks away,” I said to José, staring out at the desert and mountains that surrounded the city. “Before that, we lived in Ciudad Juárez.” El Paso was dry and the buildings were short. We left the bus station and walked to the apartments where I’d spent my childhood. The only trees in our neighborhood formed a border around Armijo Park across the street from the apartments. We stood at the entrance to the apartment complex and I noticed fresh paint on the mural of the Virgin Mary. We crossed the street and talked on a stone bench outside the Armijo Recreation Center. My family and I moved to Ciudad Juárez from Los Angeles in 1993. I was seven years old and my brother Deren was five. My mother wanted to be with …

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White Avenue

My mother was right. Choose your friends carefully, she said. As I trudged down White Avenue at 2:30 am, I remembered that. “There you are! Let’s go to a club!” The big blond girl had burst into Patrick’s room in our apartment earlier that evening where he and I were playing hearts while the guys took bong hits and lines of speed. Kimberly, the rotund, cherubic-looking girl who seemed bred from large-boned Midwestern stock, was prone to giving herself embarrassing nicknames. She had just spent too much time trying to get over breaking up with her first college love, only to grow moody when he started dating someone she deemed trailer trash. I looked over to Cheryl, my former roommate, the one I considered my third best friend and shook my head. “I’m broke,” I mouthed. Kimberly didn’t like hearing that I had no money. She thought my best friend spent too much on me. But I had no parents who were paying for my education. All the money I made went straight to tuition, …

Image for Salvidas by Yanndery

Salvavidas

Becoming a lifeguard was something my pool rat friends and I looked forward to from an early age. It was the ultimate goal. My friends and I were part of a world very unlike the one we were born into. We were on the swimming team in East Los Angeles. We spent as much of our time as possible in our bathing suits under the sun. Hierarchies at the pool were formed based on swimming speed and technique. The faster and more experienced a swimmer was, the more popular he became. We had power and control over this part of our lives and we looked up to those in the red-and-white uniforms. The lifeguards had gone through it all: swimming lessons, swim team and passed all the tests. Those who were our coaches were the most revered. They had wisdom to impart, and had everything figured out. I wanted to have everything figured out as well. My journey to lifeguarding began as a child during trips to the public pool when my dad would get …

Image for Reflections Story by Olivia

Reflections

Working as a Bracero in the farmlands of California, Miguel had heard about the city, its crowded streets, its restaurants and its nightclubs. Nearly a year after arriving in the United States he was transferred to an orange-packing facility in a rural town that was close enough to make a weekend trip. At the bus station, Dinah Shore’s “Hit the Road to Dreamland” played on the radio while he ate pancakes and eggs over easy. He boarded the bus and found a seat next to the window. On the drive he fell asleep. A fellow Bracero nudged him several times to show him the ocean but Miguel just opened his eyes for a moment and fell back asleep. As the bus got close to downtown, he awoke, straightened up and pasted his face to the window. The bus snaked through Chavez Ravine as Miguel got his first glimpse of City Hall in the distance. The white stone tower was the tallest building in town. He leaned forward in his seat, willing the bus to move …