Solar Systems

Emmy wished she could sit in the courtyard after sundown and look upon the earth’s ceiling, sink into the solar system. She could barley see the sky from her bedroom. Abuela was forever reminding her that she should be grateful for her bendiciones (blessings). The fact that she had a roof over her head was far more important than staring up at an invisible one. More than being told she had to make something of herself, Emmy was constantly reminded by her Mother and Grandmother that she had come from nothing. So the small latch window which permitted only fragments of light and swirls was simply that, something better than nothing.

Growing up she had listened to stories about the days when abuela and mother had scrambled for food, how they had built their home with their bare hands. It was usually on a Sunday afternoon, when all the Feijoada had been eaten and the pack of cards put away. A gentle silence would fall over the room until one of her only two elder relatives filled the space with reminiscent words. Sometimes she felt guilty for all these things she had that she had never worked for, that she often took for granted, somehow they disconnected her from her family and yet still made her different from everybody else. She lived with a generation that refused to accept the world they had once belonged to was gone, yet belonged to one that refused to acknowledge any reality past or present, besides their own.

Emmy rolled over onto her front and reached to the dresser for her sketchbook and favored 525 grey shading pencil that she had stolen from the Art room at school. She flipped to her sketch of the courtyard sweeper, thickened his outline, smudged the patchwork pattern on his flat cap and gently blackened his pupils. She liked to draw on her bed because it was comfy and sitting upright reminded her of being in class. Being proper in any sense of the word was something she was not, and pretending otherwise was too much like hard work. Brushing a handful of canary curls off her face, she led the pencil tip to the top of the page and begun etching above the sweepers head, creating the cosmic world as she imagined it.

© elenaxtina.com, 2015 in Skies over A Shanty Town

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