For those who like a good story told and re-told:
“You’ll be dead by Summer”, the gypsy chiromancer whispered bluntly as her firm hold of my palm slackened, and her thumb ceased the feather light caress of all the lines which were indelibly etched into my palms.
For a few seconds, her statement did not sink into my senses and I just stared at her in a befuddled manner.
“What the f**k”? my friend Carlos swore heatedly, pushing back the rustic wooden chair he sat on so forcefully that it fell over with a clatter. “You are a loony bin”. “Let’s get the hell outta here, Luc”!
We hurriedly left her gaudy domain, all four of us. Jumping back into Ma’s car, we zoomed off to the mall, even though the tinkling sound made by her hanging chimes which swung in the slight summer breeze kept ringing in my ears hours later and something that had been sought out, just for laughs fast turned into a source of discomfort.
Summer was almost upon us and I could hardly wait for the break to begin. The days were getting longer into the night; there was more time to stay awake and less time to sleep. I had worked extremely hard in school for my exams and finally the results were rolling in with accolades. My STAR assessment had come out with advanced glowing commendations and my SAT’s had been cleared. I even secured an admission into my school of choice: Texas A & M where I would be pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering.
Who would have thought it! I was the first in my family to break from the mold. Others had settled for hours of odd jobs here and there, living from one pay check to the next, or earning meager wages under the table, just to keep body and soul together. I did not want to live like that. I aspired for greater things. I wanted to be someone worthy of note.
I wanted to have a real job, a real home without sharing my bed and bathroom with a dozen people or more. I did not want to have a home that was a thoroughfare for drifters coming into town, in search of greener pastures. Not that I have anything against Papi or Tio for helping the extended family, it is just that sometimes, it was a little too much. I always felt that Papi was taking a risk by allowing all those people to use his Social Security Number to obtain work. There were far too many Alejandro’s using the same SSN. More than I cared to know.
As we cruised down the highway in Ma’s small Honda, with loud music blasting from the speakers of the small car, I could feel the zing in my bloodstream,. It was prom and graduation season; summer and fun time. I knew that my parents were saving their Tax returns to buy me a car as a graduation gift. Finally, I would have my own wheels. A truck hopefully.
I could picture nice sunny Summer days at Galveston beach with a cold beer in my hands and my ass planted in the sand. Hopefully, with Sophia, my new crush by my side. Taking a puff from the cigarette that we passed around, I quickly stopped at the new gas station, to refuel. The price was slightly cheaper by a few cents and the change could be used to buy some smoke.
Then, Kevin saw the clairvoyants shop and we decided to step in, just for fun.
To be concluded next week….
© Jacqueline Oby-Ikocha