Los Sures, Part 16: Duerme Con Los Angeles

¡De noche, a la luz del alma!

That night we stayed at Papi’s parents’ farm. Mami and Evie slept in one room, Papi and my brother and I were in the room next to them. Although there were no doors. There were no screens in the windows and mosquitoes were everywhere. Papi showed us a big piece of material tied above the bed — he said this net would protect us from the mosquitoes. He told us to get under it quickly and not let any mosquitoes inside, or else they would bother us all night. It was hot and uncomfortable in the room, under that net, and some mosquitoes had gotten in with us. They attacked me, biting one arm after the other, then my face, then my legs, and my toes.

Even though I was being attacked, I was happy to see my father sleeping. Because he did not live with us, I had never seen Papi sleeping before.

The coquis kept singing, and it was like an old, old song. I finally went to sleep. And had no bad dreams. Then in the middle of the night I woke up because I had to pee.

I tried to make it go away. I was scared Papi would get angry is I opened the net and let in more mosquitoes but then I thought he would get more angry if I wet the bed. So I waited and waited. And then I had to go really really really bad.

Papi had taken the outside edge of the bed. So I had to climb over him. I moved slowly, crawling over his belly, and he did not react. I slid out of the net. And then they attacked me.

I walked as fast as I could in the dark to the bathroom. When I came out, Papi’s mother was standing outside. She said something in Spanish I didn’t understand then smacked me on the head and pointed back to the room. I heard her spit behind me.

When I got back to bed, Papi was awake. He got out of the net and opened it for me. “C’mon, the mosquitoes are going to get you,” he said. He did not seem angry, so I was happy and got back under the net as fast as I could.

That night, for the rest of that night, we all slept in the same house for the first time, like a family on TV. In the morning, Papi drove us back to Ponce, then he flew back to New York by himself.

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