Every September in Guadalajara...
the poor neighborhoods flood, especially if you happen to live at the bottom of a hill -- we did. A corner studio with a kitchenette feet from the bed. One queen bed where my mom and dad slept, and an arrangement of chairs at the edge of the bed where four year old me slept, that was my bed. It was once I was older that I thought it fortunate that the bed and chairs were the same height. When I first told someone this out loud their eyebrows frowned. I then realized it wasn't as funny as I thought it was.
The rain filled up our studio every September, but so did other things.
Things that bore more effects than wet furniture and shoes. My father was an alcoholic and this moment, was the moment I was certain he would kill my mother:
You always got home when I was sleeping.
On good days I would wake up trying not to make noises that would wake you up, and on bad days like today, your yells or my mom’s would wake me up. I heard her shrieking first, begging you to drop her. I immediately located you across the bed from me. Ivan was sleeping in the middle of the bed and I rushed my way towards you both, my feet submerged inches in water. My mom’s body was being sustained against the wall by your hands. They were wrapped around her neck while her eyes were bulging looking at me; her four year old daughter, to save her.
Now beneath the both of you, your words were louder as
you called my mom “pendeja” and “perra”.
I tried to pull down your arms but I wasn't strong enough. You didn't even acknowledge me crying and yelling at you to stop. Your entire body smelled of alcohol, a smell that I was too familiar with. You randomly hit her head with your opposite hand, as my mom made attempts to stop you. She yelled at you to look at me, she told you that I was watching. You didn't care, I had experienced worse. I reached and grabbed, and pulled, and screamed. My mami was going to die. Maybe the neighbor would come and knock again, maybe Ivan will wake up crying, maybe, maybe, maybe…
There is no end to this moment. This is all I remember, this is all I have. My mom’s bruises the next day, could have been a memory from any other day.
Nayely Monroy - San Francisco, CA.