Vignette by Arianna Rodriguez

Arianna Rodriguez

I walked up to the big lime green home my family calls 57th. I see kids in the yard, people on the porch and people standing on the sidewalk. The street is packed with cars. I see Trucks and vans and two doors and 4 door cars all up and down the street. As soon as i set out of the car I hear Reggaeton, “The Kings, yes, sir” ring in my ears as my family dances and sings Aventura. I walk inside the big white door and get greeted with a very loud “HEEY”. All of a sudden every area on my body is being squeezed by my big fat Tio Papo. The jokester of the family as some would call him. I look to my right and there is family squished on the sectional in the living room. I look to my left there is family waiting to go out the door. I hurry and keep walking, making my way to the dining room, there’s little cousins squeezing and taking turns on the dusty desktop computer. All of my tias are sitting at the big table, and my abuela is there too. I make my rounds to them getting squeezed, some cheek kisses, and a couple butt and tummy pinches to show how big i’ve gotten. It smells like powder deodorant and Jennifer Lopez perfume. My cheek now feels sticky from the lip gloss and chapstick. My throat feels tired from saying “bendiciones” at least 13 times in that one room. I make my way to the kitchen, There’s family at the rice pot making plates of food. I’ve got a couple of drunk cousins tackling me over giving me hugs and showing me their affection. This room reeks of tequila, lime, and corona. Everyone laughs for a second about how much longer i have until i can be in this room with them. I get the school and boyfriend and future questions. At that time, I look behind me and I see my dad and the rest of my family coming in strong behind me to finish off their rounds as well. Seeing them I now feel rushed. I keep walking and head outside the side door that leads to the yard next door. I hear the basketball hoop ringing as my family continues to smack it. I see at least 10 of them playing separating teams by shirts and skins. I walk over to the grass, and I see my abuela’s lovely garden that we’ve all helped maintain over the years, purple, yellow, pink, white and orange flowers just blossom in this little area. I see kids running and playing tag. At that time I see my little sister fly past me and join them all. I watch for a second and then finally I head over to my age group over by the basketball hoop. The smell of cement, rubber and dirt fly through my nose. The noise of the music, laughter, and yelling pass in one ear and out the other. In these moments, right before the dancing takes over the basketball court, I feel the happiest. My chest gets warm and I can’t help but smile until my face hurts.