A bead of sweat trickles down my forehead, stops indefinitely on an eyelash, and interrupts my shoveling. I glance up at the sun; it glares back. It is the summer, and I have just completed my junior year of college, but I have been here before. Memories of the summer after graduation rush back to me, and I remember why I said that I would never do this job again. “Why did I come back to this?” I think to myself.
So basically you have aversion to hard work. I mean otherwise you wouldn’t ask this question.
Dad shouts from the backhoe something about needing more water in the tanks. Always smiling, Ernesto carries out the task at hand in his drenched t-shirt. He looks at me for a moment and smiles; I haven’t noticed that I have been staring at him with a smile that signifies approval, empathy, respect.
“Approval”. “Respect”. Dude, this is so patronizing and self-righteous, its not even funny. You have a habit of approving day laborers???..
I take a drink and am lost in a moment of thought that could be a revelation: here is a man that left his home and family behind in Mexico and works in the Texas heat virtually without end,
And virtually without pay. Hahhahahahahahaha
yet from him I have never seen the slightest sign of disgust.
He has to smile to his masters – Gringos. That’s their rule #1.
I wipe the sweat from my face with my sleeve, to no avail - the sleeve itself is already soaked. I am hot, very tired, and angry.
So hard work makes you angry. Even after revelation with the day laborer. Hmmmm.
The job is done. We load the backhoe and head home. Mom greets me with a smile and says that dinner is ready.
Not so much for Ernesto.
She is delighted that I am home from college and, for the moment, I am too.
You don’t like to work, but you do like to eat.
Hunger overcomes my desire for a shower and I eat in dirty clothes. Dinner conversation flows into politics and the election. I am from Texas, the countryside, and my parents have lived here for their entire life; after twenty years of the same, I travelled nearly 2000 miles to attend one of the most liberal schools in the nation.
And now you are full of sh…….. oops yourself.
We have our differences, and it is in this dinner setting that they are brought to the surface. Political discourse becomes ideological, and this leads to a discussion of my personal choices. I sense in my parents disappointment overshadowed by admiration.
Admiration???.. Dude, you really are full of s***.
I take a shower and look in the mirror. Who is it that I see? I am proud.
Well, I am speechless.
I sit on the porch and watch the sunset; rays of pink and purple fill the sky. The door opens and I look to see who it is: one dog, another dog, mom.
I like that order.
Pine scent fills the air; my mom takes a seat and we talk. Things between us have changed for the better.
That’s probably because you changed for the better. Imbued with those liberalistic ideas.
It is late and I will be waking up before sunrise for the remainder of the summer. After only a month, I miss my college friends more than ever. A mosquito bites my leg as I walk back inside and I am reminded of when, at the age of eight, one had bitten me near my eye during the night; I was so swollen the next morning that my mom let me stay home from school but only on the condition that she could call me the elephant man for the rest of the day.
You have a screwed up family dude.
I go to bed but thought continues. My mind wants to stay up despite my body’s objections.
And it wants to enjoy one more time your image in the mirror.
It’s been a hard day, like the many before it and the many to come. I think to myself again, “Why did I come back?” but I am no longer at a loss for words.
Well, I am…