Thursday, March 29, 2012

FLIP YOUR SCRIPT: "Where Did I Go Wrong?

Note to Readers: Students continue to participate in the research project I launched last year called "Flip Your Script." In each case, the student is asked to write a personal story about a difficult relationship. If the student is willing, he or she then "flips" the story by rewriting it from the perspective of the difficult person. What follows is Part One of a Flip Your Script exercise. The writer, UAlbany undergraduate Emely Nova, will now decide whether she can flip it, and how. -- Claudia Ricci

By Emely Nova

The ground was white, the sky was white, and snow was falling, falling hard. I opened my mouth and tried to catch the snowflakes. They were cold, freezing cold, sending chills throughout my body. I threw myself in the snow and yelled “Mami look I am making a snow angel.”

Mami smiled and said “Come on mi amor, let’s go, we still have to pack.” I did not want to leave, I loved the snow, I loved how it turned my neighborhood into my own personal winter wonderland. I stayed playing in the snow, this time I attempted to throw a snowball at Mami and she gave me that look. The look that tells me everything she is thinking without her saying one word.

That look requires me to stop immediately before I get into big trouble. I froze and dropped the snowball and marched my way up to the third floor. By the look on my face, Mami knew I was upset because I couldn’t play in the snow. She knew that I loved the snow, but she also knew that there was one thing I loved more than anything and that is going to the Dominican Republic to visit Papi. My mother reminded me it was time to come upstairs and pack because our flight was only a couple of hours away.

Immediately, I forgot about the snow and all I thought about was seeing Papi.

It was December 22, 2002, and Christmas was in a couple of days. As part of my family tradition we would be traveling to the Dominican Republic on the 23rd of December. We did this every year, and every year I would be more than excited to see Papi waiting for me at the airport. It never failed; he was always up front waiting for me with flowers and my favorite Dominican candy, dulce de coco. However, to my surprise this Christmas was going to be different, the events that would occur from midnight on would be events that would forever scar my life.

It was 11:45pm; I had just gotten out of the shower and was walking towards my room. Mami had just finished packing our last luggage, the phone rang. I stared at Mami, and as she answered the phone, her facial expression changed. She went from having a big smile to looking angry and sad at the same time. After seeing Mami’s expression I ran to my room to pick up the other line; my heart was racing. I knew something had gone wrong, and plans had changed. However, not once did I think this situation was going to involve my father.

At first, all I heard was a lot of yelling, and then I heard the voice of my drunken father on the other end of the phone. I couldn’t believe what he was saying; there was no way my father would ever bail on me, especially not on a day like tomorrow.

“I have something I have to tell you,” Papi said to my moher.

“What is it, Robert?” Mami replied.

“I can’t pick you and Princesa (me) up from the airport tomorrow, see I am stuck in a sticky situation.” Papi was stuttering.
Mami started to get irritated; she couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of his mouth. “What are you talking about? What did you do now?”

“Well, my wife called me today and said that she needs me to pick her up at the airport tomorrow at 12 pm, which means her flight arrives at the same time yours does. Now I cannot pick you two up at the same time, because I have yet to tell Princesa about Marilyn.”

“Listen here Robert, you asked me not to tell Princesa about your new wife, I agreed because I understand that you were waiting to be face to face with her to explain that you had gotten married. I didn’t mind lying to her since I thought it would be best for you to tell her. But now you are asking me to tell my daughter that you will no longer be waiting for her at the airport? How do you want me to tell her that? Do you understand that news is going to crush her? That is all she has been talking about in the past two weeks. You know that is all she looks forward to, is to see you. Maldita seas, how can you do this to her?”

Robert was quiet; this time that bastard didn’t have anything to say.

“Robert answer me! Dammit!!” Mami yelled at him.

“Please help me? I didn’t know this was going to happen. How could I possibly imagine that you guys were going to come home on the same day.” Robert sounded worried.

“Robert, I will speak to my daughter and I will tell her everything she needs to know. I will tell her how you got married and how you didn’t want to tell her. How you can’t pick her up because you now have to pick up your wife. I would not bad mouth you, because I am not trying to brainwash her, and have her hold it against you…”

Before Mami could finish her sentence, though, I interrupted her. “You don’t have to tell me anything Mami, I heard it all.” My voice was shaking; my heart was being shredded into pieces.

Robert, surprised hearing my voice, said “Princesa, wait, I can explain…”

I hung up the phone before he could say anything else. I sat in my bed puzzled. I wanted to cry but I couldn’t get my tears out.

My body felt cold, my hands and feet were frozen. It was like my world had come to a stop, my body just stopped working. I felt a huge hole in my stomach, I wanted to throw up, I wanted to scream. But I just couldn’t do anything. I wanted to punch the wall, I wanted to call him back and listen to his explanation, but I just couldn’t do anything. Mami came into the room and sat on my bed. I jumped up immediately and started getting dressed. She knew something was wrong but I refused to show her any emotions. Not because I was mad at her, I just felt like from the moment I heard Roberts’s confessions I was alone in this world.

I just couldn’t trust anyone. I understand that Mami was only trying to protect me, but I wished now that she had given me the heads up.

“Mi amor, are you ok?” Mami’s voice was quivering, it seemed like puddles were forming in her eyes.

“I’m ok Mami, but not now please.” I gave her a blank look. She got up and before she could leave the room, I told her “Mami, everything is going to be ok. We are better off without him anyways. Everything happens for a reason. OK?”
Mami smiled and said “Te amo, mi amor, don’t ever forget that. No matter what happens I will never leave your side.”

I hugged my mother and then continued to get ready to go to the airport.

The ride to the airport was a quiet one; we did not say one word. After boarding the plane, Mami noticed that a woman was staring at me frequently. I had a feeling that this woman had to be Robert’s wife. Three hours later we arrived in the Dominican Republic; the woman who kept staring at me decided to stay back and hold a conversation with me when we were exiting the plane. I noticed that Mami started to get angry, and told me to keep it moving and not to stop to speak to anyone again. I did exactly what she told me.

As soon as I exited the airport, I saw Mami’s side of the family. I was happy to see them, but at the same time, I was a bit distracted since I was too occupied searching for my father. I knew that he was supposed to be in the airport, and as angry as I was, I still was hoping to see him.

My eyes wandered the airport a couple of times, and my last time around I saw him and he saw me too. We made eye contact and right when I thought he was going to come say hi to me. He turned around and hugged his wife -- that same women who had bee staring at me since our first encounter, the same women who had tried to speak to me before exiting the plane. That WOMEN was his wife.

His actions crushed me; I have never been more humiliated in my life. I never felt unwanted before, I felt invisible. How could he do this to me? Once again my body froze, he made me feel like the world was ending. I felt like someone was stabbing me in the heart repeatedly. Each stab took my breath away. I became weaker and before I knew it, tears rushed down my cheeks. Mami was disgusted with Roberts’s actions. She hugged me, and whispered in my ear, “It’s OK, mi aikmor, you still have me; I will never leave your side. This is something we both will get over. Remember what you said to me last night, EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!”

Writer Emely Nova is a student at the University at Albany, State University of New York.

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