first adult cry, winter 2002

It was Sunday afternoon. I know this for a fact because she was in the kitchen cooking for the entire week, and Sunday was the only day she had time to cook. For the next week, we would eat my favorite soup—Pozole. I was at my little black desk writing, when I decided to go into the kitchen.

“Ma, can I have my own room for my thirteenth birthday?”

She was at the sink washing radishes; she stopped for a moment and turned to her left.

“Pleeeease” I hugged her as I looked up into her glasses.

“I’m sorry baby, I can’t give that to you right now. But maybe I can get you your own bed. Do you want your own bed?”

No. I want my own room. I want to bring my friends over and hang out like a normal kid.


I knew there was nothing she could do. She’d already told me she couldn’t afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment. Even buying a second bed would be too much of an expense for a housekeeper trying to make ends-meet. I don’t know why I even bothered asking.

I sat back down at my desk and turned my spinning chair toward our living room, analyzing our shoebox apartment. Everything blurred. My face burned and I began to taste the saltiness on my lips.

But this was not the cry of a child—the one a kid cries during a fit because he knows that with that cry, he will get whatever he wants—that loud, hysterical, annoying cry. No. This was different.

This was a silent cry— the type of crying you try holding in because there’s no point. No one can help you. No one can take away your pain. It was my first adult cry.

I stared at the queen-sized bed we had shared since I was born and then to our brown wardrobe, patched with all our family photos. I’m not staying here forever. I slowly shook my head and angrily wiped the tears off my face. I’m fucking not.

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