By Diego Ayala
Her eyes were still sore from yesterday. She hadn’t bawled like last night in a while, and it was all so unexpected. Her eyes were following the fan, and suddenly she felt as if her head was spinning. Martha had found comfort in Marcos, her son, and her husband, but her daughter and her other son were nowhere to be seen. They stayed locked in their rooms while she silently wept. Martha had a deep pain in her stomach as she picked up the phone.
“Your cousin, Miriam, passed away last night in a coma.” Her mother managed to blurt out through her own tears. Had her husband not been there she’d have collapsed right then and there.
“Diego! Apurate! Hurry up! We’re going to pray with the family!” Martha began pacing back and forth waiting for a response. “Ay Diego, por lo menos no quieres ir a ver tu familia?”
“I haven’t seen them for a while, but…”
“Don’t you want to see your family?”
“Nah Ma it’s gonna be depressing. I ain’t about that depressed life.”
“Well God forbid a funeral to be depressing.” What a ridiculous excuse, she thought. Geez, how could she get this boy to understand? He’s as stubborn as a mule, or should she say his brother. She just wanted the comfort of knowing they’d all go together to a funeral for a relative, but holding true to his nature Marcos went out with his girlfriend rather than with the family. Marcos would choose his beloved friends over his family any day; she didn’t want this one to do the same. Martha knew they were already late for the funeral but insisted on waiting for Diego to get up from his brother’s computer, but as if he was playing a sport, he stayed in position.
“Mira hijo, if you don’t go then I won’t let you hang out with your friends for the rest of the week. I don’t care if you beg.” She shifted her weight impatiently waiting for him to react in some way, trying to get his attention away from the screen.
He seemed to not have listened to her. He just kept clicking away playing his fancy little video games while she hopelessly tried to reason with him. He had the volume on the game was still blasting obnoxiously with no intentions of turning down.
“Ma I told you I’m not going, I have homework…” Lie. “...and I need to do a project with my friend….” Lie. “...and I just don’t want to.”
As if on cue, she repeated what she once said to Marcos, “Por favor, try to understand that I just want the family to be together and you’re tearing it apart.”
“Mira Marcos, don’t you want to see your family?” Martha blurted out as she hurriedly tried to put on her earrings and reason with her son.
“No Mom, I don’t want to see my family. I don’t even like them.” Marcos had just started his match and there was no way in hell she was going to make him go, not even if the devil himself tried to drag him.
“Por qué nunca quieres estar con nosotros?” Why don’t you ever want to be with us? It was such a mystery to her. Even though they were already running late to the party she insisted on waiting for Marcos to get up from his computer, but he was just another player in position.
“Mom forget it, you’re not gonna get me to go, I’m playing.”
“Por favor, try to understand that I just want the family to be together and you’re tearing it apart.” Her voice cracked one final time before she knew he was a lost cause.
Despite her best efforts she couldn’t sway Marcos, but she sure as hell wasn’t about to let her other son go down that same path.
“En serio Diego, this is the last time I’m asking. If you don’t get up and…”
“Gosh dang it Ma, you’re distracting me… now I’m gonna lose!”
“Gosh dang it, whatever… I don’t even care. Ey Ma, you still—”
“Ya no me importa! Do whatever you want. I don’t care anymore.”
She kept walking as tears began welling up. First Marcos, now Diego. She felt abandoned by the ones she called her sons. She had no one left to keep her company. She felt abandoned by her cousin Miriam, and she couldn’t help but wonder… if she would ever feel needed.