In my neighborhood, there are houses that are appropriate for four people at maximum. That would be where I and my family live in. It is a fair-sized house of one-story residence. The furnishers are cheap yet beautiful that matches with the brown sofa with heavy oak arms. The bathroom is clean though my dad leaves his clothes in the floor. Most of the time, one must keep up after him. The tub and the towels are dry. On the wall the medicine cabinet is above the sink that has a mirror door and behind it there is toothpaste, spare soap and shampoo.
In front of our house, there is a house I entered before, the rooms matched the furniture, like the walls, as if it had been chosen by a stylist. The coffee table appear as if it was just bought last night.
Every morning from Monday to Friday, I hear the alarm at seven twenty a.m and tap “Dismiss.” I would stretch and then go back to sleep “five more minutes” I would say.
I felt like my cheek was tingling for a moment when I looked up, it was my mom. She stand still with her arms cross and then she unfolded her arms and pointed at the clock. I got up in a rush and changed into my uniform, brush my teeths, untangle my hair and put my hair in a ponytail.
I left home at seven fifty a.m. When I am leaving home, I look at the houses in the front and notice the elegant cars of 2006-to-2014. I turn around and see my neighbor having trouble turning on his car.
My neighbor has a short-temper and a delinquent presences so people distance themselves from him. Often the kids playing outside, in summer times, stop in the side walk and go around his house, avoiding eye-contact.
There are rumors about him that he hospitalized his wife. So, when people see him they see a wild dog loose in the streets.
When I was a kid, I was curious like any other kid would be, I wanted to find out whether the rumors were true or false accusation.
I would creep to his backyard and observed him from the window. I would return day after day until I was spot.
I was terrified. To be honest, I kept repeating “I gonna die…mommy!,” I slapped my myself and say, “no… not today.” Just when I calm myself, I felt clammy fingers grasping and jerking my arm. I turn around and it was the neighbor, he just wanted to warn me about the dangerous equipments he has in the backyard.
He happened to be a gentlemen who has never been married to a woman.
People just made the accusations because of a vertical scar on his left eyebrow and his sanpaku eyes make him look like an intimidating delinquent that caused many misunderstandings. This also lead to trouble in his work.
So dad took him under the wing.
In the mornings before they left for work, brother and I, would go to his house and play in his front yard.
Because of people’s misunderstanding, they began labeling him “a molester” or “predator.”
This was the first time, I saw dad turned into shrek. He yelled at the people, “don’t you have better things else to do than making false accusation…you damn *****”
“Good morning, sir” I said to Nick, the neighbor.
“Good morning to you, too” He respond, “Going to school?”
I nod and wave good-bye to him when a Toyota vehicle drive passed.
Now that I think about it, she had a 2006 Toyota Yaris.
In the past, I used to babysit two children, they were the children of my sister’s friend. The girl was a year older than the boy.
From time to time, I began to notice bruises on the daughter’s arm. When she caught my eyes on her arm, she covered her arm with her long sleeve.
Two weeks later, she would often come late for her children. Though I charge per hour, my sister told me not charge her for the extra hours.
That was when the rumors spread. Single parents are doom to poverty because one incoming is missing, poor kids they are fatherless. Just like mother and daughter …they have bad luck with men … She could afford a Toyota but she can’t afford food on a plate, poor kids.
Each day, the car began to look less valuable and her smile from the first day she bought the car, began to fade too.
I would often open my mouth but words wouldn’t come out. I would lower my head in shame, it was difficult to talk. The pressure of the silence was drowning me. I felt trap in the corner of the sofa as if there were chains on me, I couldn’t move a muscle. I just sat there.
I noticed her dead eyes. Her children would often talk, but she would only nod. As if there was no soul in her body.
I heard from her friends that she was working as a cashier in Save A Lot and as a waitress in a local restaurant. She have no free time.
“Mommy is a good mom”
One day, her daughter told me, “Mommy is a good mom, she just works hard for us to have things…like…um, school things”
“I know, “ I said to her.
She smile and nod in agreement.
The Truth of United States
I came to realize that her efforts were meaningless. No matter how hard she worked, at the end of the month she had no money.
I came to realize that it is not easy to move from middle class to upper class. One must be talented to do so, or sell their soul.
Like she did, she worked 48 hours per week, and only have a day for her children. When she was done with work, she was drained. Where she sat down, she sleep.
Very often I would hear, that people immigrate to United States because it offers better lives than any other country, but they soon come to realize that the beauty in the surface is just half of the picture. United States is the land of labels and of unfairness rather than the land of opportunities.