His Journey

Not Lemonade

It is a very unusual Monday a very cold and cloudy day. Anthony squints his eyes and looks at the small clock on the top of the three bricks that are stacked nicely as a table. It is almost six. He does not want to but he has to go  and it is almost half an hour walk to the school. He looks to the other side of the room where her mother sleeps on another torn rug on the floor with her three years old sister. “She must be so tired from working.” Anthony murmurs. I have to study hard and do good in the school to get a good job. Hopefully my mother can take break from hard work and live a peaceful life. Hope is good ! He walks into the kitchen to grab one baleada for breakfast. He opens the container but it has only two. Anthony closes the cover gently. I will save those for my mom and my sister.  He hears the voice of his caring mother.“Anthony! Come eat your breakfast.”

“ I am not hungry and I will take one fruit if we have any.” His mother bends over and looks into the straw basket. There is one small papaya and one chicozapote. “which one you want son?” Anthony picks the chicozapote from her mother’s loving hand.

“Thanks mom and I will see you after school and I will help you in your work too. Bye.” His mother hugs Anthony.

The road is very quiet except the cooing of few pigeons on the grass, black birds skipping from branches to branches and jumpy hungry squirrels. Anthony walks slowly towards the school with a small blue backpack. His anxious eyes wander. A few feet from the main street at the junction an argument is going on between a  boy and a tall man. Anthony walks faster to hear the conversation.Suddenly he hears the sound of the gunshot. The body of the boy falls to the floor. Anthony runs to help him. The tall man stands there. Cruelty flashes on his eyes and it turns towards Anthony. “ What did you see? The boy did not listen to me so I had to do this.” He laughs. His whole body shakes. Anthony turns sharply and looks at the face of the boy. He is fifteen years old Kenneth from his village. Last year the gangster killed his father and uncle too. His eyes are blank. His voice comes out without rise or fall. Anthony gathers courage. “ Why did you do this? I will inform this to the police and I am not scared of you.”

“Really! I have seen you in the village with your mother many a times. She sells baleadas in the market. Am I right?” He says in a very deep voice and walks closer. He puts the gun to Anthony’s waist. I am from Barrio 18. You don’t want the same fate like Kenneth so do as I say. You did not see anything.Tomorrow you meet me here at the same time for further instruction.” The man leaves on his motor bike.

Anthony stands there. His shoulder shaking and hands clenched. His eyes flexed wide as from blasts of photographic power.  He sucks his breath like iron popsicle. For a long time he could not move. Anthony takes a big gulp of air as he could and held it to push back at the fear. He turns back and runs blindly towards his house.

 

 He stops at the entrance of his house and pants.  He leans at the fence.A few years back the gang killed his father so Anthony does not want to risk his life or of his family. He leaves with his mother and sister with three small bags in hands and a few lempira. It is a very long night. They cross the river with some other family in a small boat then swim half the way. After the long treacherous journey  they reach at the boarder.As they stretch their cramp, stiff, tingling leg muscles,the careful intelligent eyes of the border patrol catch them. But Anthony is happy that they have survived and his family is safe. Life has given him lemon but he wants to change it . He still has a high hope to stay in the new country and continue his education.

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