Love, Always

By: Yessi Smith

Adam, six years old

Mom’s belly is growing bigger and bigger, that’s how I know she’s really giving me a little brother and not just joking. It’s pretty cool to know there’s a baby growing inside her. Her stomach’s so big now it looks like it’s gonna explode. Dad says it’s from all the chocolate and pizza she eats. Mom hits him when he says that – not hard or anything and she tells him it’s his fault.

I don’t know how it’s his fault, but I can’t wait for mom to explode so I can see Tommy. I’m gonna be a good big brother, but Mom gets to change Tommy’s diaper. She also said she’d burp him after I feed him so he doesn’t puke all over me. Mom’s pretty cool like that.

So’s Dad. He takes good care of us and promises he’ll still play video games with me after Tommy’s born. Maybe Tommy will like video games too. He should, since he’s a boy and all.

We had to go to the gas station to pick up some chocolate for Mom. She says Tommy wants it, but I think she wants it and is just blaming him since we can’t hear him talk yet. I like going to the store at the gas station with Dad, ‘cuz we’re doing man stuff for our girl. Mom’s really only his girl, but I like it when he puts me in charge of taking care of her too.

I toss a bag of gummies at Dad and he shakes his head at me, but I already know he’s gonna buy them. He’ll even take a few for himself.

I run to the front of the store with Dad walking slowly behind me, but stop when I see a man pointing a gun at the guy who works at the store. I start walking backwards quietly, but trip over a box on the floor, making all sorts of noise on my way down. I can feel my eyes open wider when the man with the gun sees me and I close my eyes, hoping I’ll become invisible so he sees through me.

My eyes open even though I don’t want them to when I feel the man grab me by my shirt. I look behind me when he lifts me up and I yell for my dad who finally sees me and what is happening to me. I know I’ll be okay when I see him run towards me like a superhero on a special important mission, but I can’t hear anything over the sound of my heart beating in my ears.

I crash into an aisle full of potato chips when Dad tackles us to the ground. The pain in my stomach and head is so bad I start to cry. My cries become stronger when I realize my pants are wet and that I accidentally peed myself. Mom’s gonna be so mad.

The tears turn into screams when I hear the gun explode. I don’t want to look, but my eyes look anyway. The screaming and crying all stop when I see the red blood coming out of my Dad’s stomach. I crawl to him when I see the man with the gun disappear through the front door and I rest my head on Dad’s shoulder. I close my eyes so I don’t have to look at Dad’s unblinking eyes and fall asleep with sirens sounding in the distance, knowing this is all a bad dream.

Because in real life the hero doesn’t die. Good always wins.

“I’m pregnant. Hey, so I’m pregnant. Guess what? I’m pregnant! Yay, right?”

I laugh at my reflection in the mirror, but it is a humorless laugh, because, well, I’m pregnant. Nineteen and pregnant. Yep, that’s me. At least I waited ‘til I was out of high school. Brownie points for that, right?

My dark brown eyes laugh back at me, mocking me and the societal statistics I have proven right.

Hispanic: yep.

High school dropout: eh, I got a GED.

In love: sure am.

Absent parents: that’s me.

Teenage pregnancy out of wedlock: nailed it.

Next stop, MTV’s reality show so I can make my parents really proud.

Well, not quite my next stop. First I have to tell my boyfriend. My rock star boyfriend, but for real though. His band, Wasted Circle, are very close to stardom. They’ve been signed by a pretty big label, and after months of listening to their songs on the radio and playing smaller venues, they have their first big show today. They’re not even an opening act, but the main event. Or one of many main events at Ft Lauderdale Beach’s music festival.

I can’t wait to see Josh amongst the fans they’ve accumulated locally. They know him and the lead singer, Adam, by sight. They know the words to their songs better than Adam does. And by them, I mean women. Crazy female fans that shove their tits in my boys’ faces, wanting their best assets to be signed. The life of a rock star, I laugh.

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