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When the Moon Is Up: “Life Gives Us Lessons to Recognize Our Mistakes”

“Life Gives Us Lessons to Recognize Our Mistakes”
By: Gissell
When the Moon is Up

One day I got mad at my mom and brothers because of lack of communication. I was fourteen years old, and my brothers Angel and Henry were four and five years old. We shared the same room. My brothers and I could not have our own space because my mom and stepdad do not have enough money to buy a house or rent an apartment with three or four rooms.

Everything began when I heard my brothers making a lot of noise. I was lying down because after I finished cleaning, I felt a little tired. My brothers woke me with their yells, and I don’t know about you, but when I’m sleeping and someone, without need, just wakes me, I wake up angry. Then when they didn’t let me get some sleep, I stood up, and what do you think that I saw? Well, let me tell you. What I saw was their toys on the floor. They were play-fighting and yelling. I felt frustrated by this; I really don’t like to see things out of place. After I saw what they had done, I felt upset, and sad too because they were not appreciating what I did. I asked them, “Why did you make a mess again after I had cleaned the house already?” They didn’t answer me. Then I asked them again, but this time I was a little more upset. In fewer words, I yelled at them. My mom was in her room. When she heard me yelling, she came to our room to see what was happening. She asked me what was the matter, and I told her that I had cleaned the house and that Henry and Angel made their mess again. Also I told her that she never punished them, that I always have to pick up all their mess in the house, that they are annoying, and that they don’t like me. The anger made me yell at her. My mom, with a sad look and a sad voice, told me, “If your brothers don’t like you and if you don’t want to live at home with them, you can leave. I will not have you living with us if you do not want to.”

I felt something strange inside me. I didn’t want to yell at her, but I did. I didn’t respect her, and I guess what I was feeling inside me was remordimiento because I didn’t respect her as my mother. After she told me that, my eyes were full of tears. I started crying, but I didn’t look my mom in the face again because I didn’t want her to see me cry. I wanted to demonstrate to her that I was strong and that whatever she said to me would not affect me; but inside I knew that I wanted her to tell me, “Hija, I don’t want you to leave, I want to have all my hijos together.” That didn’t happen.

I put my shoes on and I left the house. My mom didn’t stop me. I guess she let me go because she wanted me to learn from my decisions. When I left home, it was between 6:30 or seven o’clock at night. It was dark and quiet; there were only five or six people walking on the other side of the street. I just heard the sounds of cars driving slow because the street was small and if they drive fast there could be an accident. I thought that one of the cars would stop and kidnap me, or something similar. I started feeling a little scared and lonely. I started feeling that I wanted to cry.

I had no idea about what I would do by myself on the street. Walking, I started thinking that maybe if I had tried to solve things in a good way, talking with my mom and brothers about how I felt when I saw that they didn’t appreciate that I had cleaned the house, talking instead of shouting and blaming them, it could have been better for everyone. No one would be experiencing this bad time. I felt guilty and I wanted to go back in time to fix my mistake.

I stopped at a gas station. In front of it was a taco truck. The owner of the truck had Mexican music playing. There were a few people eating tacos. On the other side of the street a few people were filling their tanks at the gas station. Also there was a public phone. I sat down by it, and suddenly the smell of the carne asada from the taco truck came to me and it smelled delicious. I had six dollars in quarters in my pocket, and I asked myself, “How much were the taquitos?” because I was hungry. But instead I decided to call my grandma in Honduras to ask her what I should do. I decided to call her rather than anyone else in my family because I know that she has had more experiences in her life, that she wants the best for me, and that she would tell me what was best. In addition, I trust her more than any other person because I grew up with her.

She is like my second mom, and when I lived with her, I felt safe and loved. Before I called her, two young Black men dressed in elegant suits passed near me. They saw me sitting by the phone and asked me, “Do you need help?” I told them, “No, I’m fine.” They looked like good men, but I could not accept their help because I didn’t know them and I didn’t know their real intention. They left but then after a few minutes they came back with some food that they had bought at the taco truck. They gave it to me and I said thanks. They just said, “You’re welcome,” and kept walking.

After they left, I called my grandma. She was sleeping. I knew it because her voice sounded sleepy. She was happy that I called her. Then she asked me, “How are you, hija?” I told her that I left home because I had a little argument with my mom. When I told her that, I heard worry in her voice. She told me to go back home, get into my bed, and the next day talk with my mom to fix the problem because we had to regain the time that we had lost together….To be honest, I didn’t know my mom much, and she didn’t know me. 

We had spent seven years without seeing each other, but that’s another story.

About the Author
Gissell is sixteen and living in Los Angeles with her mom, step dad, and brothers. She likes to walk to the beach. She wants to be a teacher or a doctor. She likes to watch scary movies. She likes to go to church, but only on weekends. Her favorite foods are baleadas or pollo con tajadas from Honduras. Her favorite dessert is milk and white chocolate. Her favorite drinks are natural juices or smoothies. She loves to eat tacos made of lengua, asada, pastor, or labio. She loves her family and likes to spend time with them.


Each year, 826LA works with a different LAUSD high school to give a group of students an apprenticeship-like experience in writing and publishing through the Young Authors’ Book Project.

For more information about 826LA’s In-Schools Program and the Young Authors’ Book Project, click here

Photos Courtesy of Alex Rapada Photography.

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