I followed my stepfather outside into the hallway of the building and he said, “Hey son, please tell me what I can do for you,” his eyes insistent, and then he said, “I dont have time now but think about it and when I return home, you know…? I am not trying to rush things but if you need anything just talk to me. I dont want you to be worrying; you just concentrate on your studies.” That last order gave me occasion to stop and think.
He turned to say something to his family and then motioned to me to follow him dowmstairs. We both bounced down the stairs and in a short while we had reached the privacy of the street like two young friends. He again turned to me and said, “I got to go! But you heard what I said to you.” With those words of encouragement Bobby left me fired up with hope as I stood there wacthing him disappear out of sight.
Standing on Twelfth Street and Crisobal Avenue that morning I was filled with the sense that my stepfather’s attitude had joined my presence and that we were both helping my mother. Although the recent events had been fleeting I had the feeling that we had helped my mother some, to have the sense of being fully realized. For the next two or three days I noticed in her an attitude of victory like one of those ships emblazoned with multicolored flags, decked out for important ceremonies on shore as if to show the world without the need of screaming sirens that, “Now all my children are with me!”
Walking back to the apartment it seemed to me that the events in my life were all that mattered to my stepfather. I liked the scene that morning of the three of us sitting around talking like rational people and how it had been the first time in my life that my mother had actually conversed with me. That had really impressed me. Although Bobby, my mother and I had just a few minutes to be alone and talk before he left for work, my mother had seemed truly happy and, for once in her life, cheerful. She appeared vindicated solely by my presence in the house.
I hoped and prayed in the days that followed that they would be filled with these rare demostrations which seemed for me to be the key in this mission of reuniting with my mother, and a time to remember, for as long as we lived, of the happy feelings if not downright joy. I hoped we would come closer viewing those preciouse moments of my life and hers, until such time as fate would dictate a change or The Volcano would errupt again in our lives.
I had recently been reading the spirit of people who lived dangerously on the fringes of many active volcanoes and how they remembered the happy times. Just then my mind turned to Bobby and how he had read my spirit and understood how my life had always seemed to be a collection of very fleeting hours of these happy times.
My thoughts returned to my mother, however, and of the rebellious nature in her, of her mood changes that I had also seemed to have acquired by way of some special power from heaven to keep on living. I hoped that she might have gained some divine pardon long enough to bring us together one more time in order for her to make amends in our lives.
For now I was bouyant with hope; the first born of my family to come back to a happy reunion to receive such an infusion of good energy between my mother and me in her new home.
We were now five syblings, one sister, four brothers and two adults in a small two bedroom apartment, a master bedroom for the adults and the rest of the apartment to accommodate the five of us kids. There was Aminta, the only sister, Earnie, who’s nickname was Boycito, Alfredo who was by then only five years of age, and Victor the one year old infant who also had been born in Colon the only son of Mr. Bobby Grant.
During the succeeding days, the news got around among their friends and the rest of cousins, aunts and acquaintances, all younger kids than me, that I, their older brother, had arrived and had come to live with them for good.
This story continues.