Baby Boy’s Crib Sheets
You come into this big blue world silently. Your mother clenches the bed rail and grinds her teeth. She remembers a story her grandmother told her once during a Christmas dinner some years ago. I would have had twelve children, but the eighth didn’t cry when he was born. The migraine does not allow her to see your little chest heave. The doctor asks your father if he’d like to cut the cord. As the doctor hands him the scissors, your father thinks back four days ago, when the high school principal handed him a diploma. He barely made the GPA requirement. They bundle you up and hand you to your mother. Her pale index finger brushes against the coral flush in your cheek. She glances through the hospital room window and thanks the sky. The nurses take your parents’ silent baby for a moment. Your father chuckles when he realizes the error. We’ll have to change the crib sheets, they’re blue.
Reflection of the Sky on the Water
It had not occurred to your father, when he buried the hot charcoal into the sand. As you play tag with your uncle, you trip and land on the heap. The skin connecting your thumb and index fingers feel the fierce bite from the burning charcoal. It takes a while for you to react, but eventually your receptors send a message to your vocal chords, and you shriek. They ask you to rate your pain, but you remain silent as they rush you to a drugstore. You stare out the window, and wonder why the ocean is blue.
Chinese Table Covers
Why don’t you call me dad? It is a Sunday. The one day in the week you are allowed to see him. This is the way your memory had always remembered it. Your father asks you again, but you just look down at your half-eaten plate of Orange Chicken and fried rice. Your eyes start to shake, but you say nothing and just think about the man you see the other six and a half days a week. He married your mother two years after your birth. He kisses your forehead every morning before he goes off to the strawberry fields. He thinks you’re asleep, but every morning, fighting back the drowsiness, you make sure to stay awake for that short moment. Your father asks you again, but you look down at the table. You think about the Chinese flag and wonder why the table covers are blue.
It is your twelfth birthday. Months prior, your father had sold his trailer and moved into a motel. As he pulls up to your parents’ house, you feel a lump in your throat. He gets out of the truck and you walk slowly toward him. He never dared step on the property. His lips fake a smile, while his dark brown eyes quiver and hide from yours. He hands you a birthday card containing a one hundred dollar bill. Are you going to miss me? The lump in your throat squeezes your vocal cords. You think about the day at the Chinese restaurant and hug him for a short eternity. For the last time. He doesn’t tell you where he is going, but promises he’ll see you again. You look at the Dodgers cap on his head and remember how he promised the team would win the World Series that year. He starts the engine and as he turns, all you can see is the Dodgers cap, a faded blue.
She is a bright student, but very quiet. That’s what the teachers wrote on the report card. Your parents ask you why you spend all day in your bedroom. You refer to the straight A’s and say that you study all day. They smile and nod suspiciously. You do not tell them you spend your day filling in your self-portrait with Cra-Z-Art crayons, tracing the tears blue.
You feel the area on your hand where the hot charcoal once burnt you, and inhale the chilly air. Standing on the pier, you wonder about the ripped notebook paper with a familiar name and a Mexican number written on it. You stare at the surface of the gentle waves on the water. Red, yellow, and orange light have long wavelengths whereas blue light has a short one. When light reflects on the water, the red, yellow, and orange light are absorbed stronger, returning the blue light. What are you going to do? You ask yourself at least fifty times. You think about the reds, oranges, and yellows of your life, how they have stuck around to brighten your canvas. You clench the paper tightly, careful not to let the ocean breeze whiz it away. Your chest heaves heavily as you remember the one deep shade of blue.
Carla Chacon is currently working toward a degree in English at California State University, Bakersfield. She was a features writer for CSUB’s newspaper: The Runner where one of her articles won an award at the 2017 California College Media Awards. She hopes to become a high school teacher someday to help students find their voice and develop their unique writing styles. When she’s not hitting the books, she enjoys pretending she can play the ukulele she keeps in the corner of her bedroom and, sometimes, you may catch her singing along to musical soundtracks or Barry Manilow.