A lady in the crowd
Excerpts from "Red"
Two years ago, Karen Lopez, gave me a red journal as a gift. “Red” is one of the first journals that have been completed. It holds experiences from my cringe worthy freshmen year. It all began around the Christmas holidays.
Dear my lovely Anne,
Thank you for showing me people can change, for being here and giving me advice; which you truly don’t need to tell me… It’s something you see in a person’s eye dull and drained out, but I can tell your eyes have once been like that. Now all your eyes glint is optimism. You’re the first person that I know has been through hell and back. You continue to have the strength to stand up make something out of yourself, instead of presenting yourself useless to life. Somehow, I can see that you know when you’re doing something wrong. You decide to go with the moment, because it’s easier to go with the flow, rather than to face a cold reality check. I know I can sound as a mom, but as a true friend, I won’t agree to always make you happy. If anything I’ll say what needs to be said whether you like it or not. I seriously wish you the best. Advice to you: STAY OUT OF TROUBLE! Or stop being trouble… Hope you become anything you desire! Merry Christmas and happy New Year.
...Now finish your story.
Entry 1: SAN QUINTIN, 12-21-13
I'm leaving the town we all know far too well. Farewell California! Just imagine my joyous voice. Finally I'll be thousands of miles away from Calexico! I feel like this town has never been a place where I belong. Saying that I'll miss this town would be an obvious lie. I can only imagine coming back, for I'm already rolling my eyes at that obnoxious thought.
Entry 2; HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE, 01-01-14
It is early dawn at San Quintin. The New Years party has finally reached it's climax and the party has died out. I’m the only soul awake in this household; the sunlight shall peer through the windows in a short hour or so. I’m fully aware that we’ll come back in a week. Either on Saturday night, or Sunday morning. I have high hopes that it will be Sunday.
Tonight's party was a blast! I met many noble people with a hilarious sense of humor. This party was filled with pure energy, homemade food was served, the music blasted through the speakers, and people had a fun time. There was karaoke and for some odd reason these people pleaded me to sing for them. "Free style in English," the crowd chanted with their notable Spanish accents. Why would I sing in a language they don't even understand? Beats me, but I’ll give the people what they want. I got off my seat and suddenly a wave of nerves came over me. Every person had their eyes on me; it was too late to back down. These folks wanted me to entertain them, so be it. I sang "Someone Like You," by Adele. Of course my notes were off key but at least I gave it my all. The easygoing crowd went wild and they cheered me on. A random woman in the crowd even shouted, “esa chica esta perfecta para mi hijo!”
Then the host of the party nominated all of the people who sang tonight. The winner of the karaoke category would be chosen by the audience. To my surprise I had the most applause, lucky me I won! The host gave me an orange retro styled purse. What mattered the most didn’t involve a cute handbag, it was the look of pride my mother's eyes.
By the end of the night, everyone continued socializing. Talk was cheap and my mind drifted off. I focused on my surroundings and spotted a handsome young man sitting alone close to the bonfire. My skin felt frozen cold so I walked away from the crowd and sat next to him. He asked me if I was the one who sang Adele and I said, “Si soy ella.” His cheeks turned a dark shade of red and we continued talking. Soon enough my amateur flirting skills shut down. I gazed into the fire and I found myself in a trance. My mind was completely lost within the burning fire and the many sparks that flew up towards the sky. These dancing flames were so dangerous and beautiful.
The party’s over now, my are exhausted from dancing all night long, and my throat feels dry from talking and constant laughter. It’s nearly 5 AM and I must get some beauty sleep, because tomorrow we’re going to the beach. Goodnight!
A DAY SPENT IN THE WATERS
It was a one hour ride to simply arrive at the beach. The long ride was worth it. My eyes came upon an extraordinary sight. That was the moment I learned that the ocean is an art no man is capable of creating. The sunlight reflected against the crashing waves, and the pleasant scent of fresh air reached my nostrils. I felt a new feeling I’ve never felt until now: tranquility.
Regina, Niko, and I walked the opposite direction of Carlos, and Bianca. I walked towards the ocean and felt layers of goosebumps decorate my entire body. My toes slowly sunk into the sand. I went deeper into the ocean. The water covered my knees and my red mini skirt got wet. It was a cold January and only we’re insane enough to shower in the cold ocean.
We walked for what seemed like hours, and out of nowhere we discovered some reefs. Thousands of tiny seashells were lying on top of the shallow waters. Krabs we’re scurrying around the moist ocean floor. Niko stepped on a circular sea creature as it squirted small amounts of water. I followed her footsteps and began stepping on the unknown sea creatures too. Time slipped away and the sunset was nearly gone, so we walked back to our car.
Words aren’t enough to describe today’s masterpiece. It is a rare moment when I feel true happiness; and I feel blessed to be in a happy place with my life. The ocean hid behind the mountains as we drove back to San Quintin.
This pueblo has grown on me. These new people surrounding me have earned a special place in my heart. I’m joyous that I’ll probably see them in a year or so. From the depths of my soul, I truly wish I didn’t have to go. I can picture myself having a life here and I’ve never traveled to a place that makes me want to stay. The people here don’t carry an ambitious eye. They’re the most noble people who wear their hearts on their sleeves. I haven’t memorized all of the names of the people I’ve met but one things for sure; Niko has won the key to my heart.
Regina, Carlos, Bianca, Chuy, and I went out to eat at a restaraunt. We feast upon delicious tacos de carne asada. Then we went to the movie theater and watched “The Hobbit”. When we got home the clock read 10 PM. Niko and I decided to go for a walk. She opened up to me and told me her entire life story. I was astonished that when she referred to her past she called herself ‘ignorant’. She asked me how it’s possible that I speak about life as if I was an elder. I laughed at the thought of being an old soul, but I’m just a normal girl who loves to read books.
I woke up early and took a cold shower to wake me up. All of us ate our last breakfast at Niko’s house. We packed all of our belongings and hugged our new family. For the second time in a row, I found myself saying farewell to another town.
The several hour ride began and we blasted the radio at full volume. Then we arrived at Tecate and to eat lunch. We ate seafood from a restaurant near the shore. Soon enough we were back on the road.
I came to a sudden realization that happiness only last a while. I questioned why it has to be this way. I couldn’t describe the reasons why; but I know I don’t belong in Calexico. Call it instinct, intuition, or for the experience of being accepted with open arms by a family that felt like home. This trip has changed me and my heart will always belong at San Quintin.