Saturday, December 27, 2008

Can you imagine?

Te imaginas, ¿ser madre a los catorce años?  Mi madre tenia catorce cuando tuvo Anita...
¿Y tu padre?
Dies y nueve...

She was fourteen when he was nineteen.  They lived where age did not exist, as parental rule imposes age and its boundaries; having no parents, they knew no boundaries.  She was a child raising brothers and sisters, some young enough to be her children even at her tender age.  They knew no other mother, but when she left, she was only fourteen.

He had no siblings to care for.  No one attached to him, needing him.  Still a boy, he made a house for his child-bride, carefully laying out the steel structure for the tiny house.  The site overlooked the river, and he positioned the windows to take advantage of the view.  She would always love washing the dishes, as she could see the sun setting over the river, as the coquis sang their twilight ritual.  She bore him a child at fourteen.  Anita.  

He took jobs in construction, she stayed at home.  At the end of his life, he was still a strong, young man.  He left twelve children of varying ages, the middle ones clocking in at fifteen, sixteen and seventeen.  He had imposed the order of age, on the girls especially.  Each male child had a female child to protect, and each child must be home at that arbitrary time: when Father arrives.  They had their own roll call, with each child in his and her proper place at the proper time.  By the time he left, there had already been defections amongst their ranks.  His child-bride had taken experimental drugs to prevent a thirteenth child.  He found them and flushed them down the toilet of their three-bedroom, solid concrete abode.  It had seemed luxurious when he constructed it, but now the tin roof leaks and it is difficult to find a place for twelve children.  Eleven.  One of the girls left home at fourteen.  He had pushed her, insisting that she not see her boyfriend, for he was nineteen, and this was unacceptable to him.  His bride had helped her daughter, remembering what it was to be fourteen.

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