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The day was a normal fun filled day with Tío Lupe flipping burgers and cooking Carne Asada on the grill with a cold Corona. Manuel, Baby Joey, and David were trying to rap and the clapping of my little cousins was encouraging them. As usual all the tías were gossiping about who is getting a divorce, and who would get married next.
After everyone went home we cleaned up the spilled pops, beers, and suckers stuck to the dim gray rugs. Once we finished, I started to get tired and decided to go to sleep. I woke up to the sound of the house phone ringing.
Due to my sleepy haze, I was slow to answer it. I greeted my grandma on the phone and she asked to speak with my mom. I ran and told my mom that my grandma is on the phone. Right then there was something in grandma’s voice, but I wasn’t sure what was wrong. Mom picked up the phone, and in that cold harsh moment, my mother’s scream pierced my ear.
“My baby, my baby.” Is all she could manage to say.
Right then there was something in grandma’s voice, but I wasn’t sure what was wrong. Mom picked up the phone, and in that cold harsh moment, my mother’s scream pierced my ear.
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Then mom told me to get a jacket on. Told me to get my little sister and put her in the car.
I still didn’t know what was going on as we pulled up to a hospital. Once the engine was off, mom leaped out of the car, swung open my sister’s door and told us to get out. Grabbing my sister’s car seat and my hand, she ran inside. In the lobby were the rest of them: my grandma, my grandpa, Tía Abby, and Tíos, Lupe, Steven and Danny.
“I need to tell you something.” Mom said.
I was 9, I don’t remember every detail of the things she wore, but I can picture what she would’ve worn. It was past midnight, so she was probably wearing her purple polka dot pajamas. She wasn’t wearing any make up. She probably did that thing she always does when she’s upset, she looked down at the floor.
“Tia Maggie was shot” She said.
The man who had shot my tía was her boyfriend’s friend. To me he wasn’t even a man, in my mind he was a dark eerie shadow, a mixture of PCP and meth. This shadow was yelling at my tía and she had enough. She went to a room and called her boyfriend, telling him that she was about to leave because “his friend is an idiot”.
Just then, the shadow came in the room and locked the door and began to say some very foul words. My tía said she had enough. The shadow shot my aunt in the head. It took him a few minutes to realize what he had done, but by that time it was too late, someone broke open the door to see what the noise was. The shadow man ran away. The police found him hours later in a different location.
To me he wasn’t even a man, in my mind he was a dark eerie shadow, a mixture of PCP and meth.
I can’t help but think about how things could’ve been different. If my tía had left her party, and agreed to come to our party. She would have been one of the first once there, eating Carne Asada with the tías and gossiping. She would have danced with the boys as they tried to rap, maybe even tried to spit out her own rhymes.
There will always be that one part of me that wonders if she made the right decision to go to their party instead of ours. I can only hope it was a part of God’s plan.
Words by Victoria Sandoval
Images by Jessi Proulx