Senior year was off to a
An intolerable home
A non-existent father. A mother I couldn't stand. A
teacher I couldn't stand. No social life. No idea how to pay for college. However, just when it could not
possibly get any worse, it got worse.
Out of nowhere came a distraction for which I had absolutely no answer.
Despite my disfigured
face, I had a perfectly healthy libido. I had the same problem
wrestling with lust that plagues most teenage boys. My
problem was that I lacked the courage to approach a girl my own age
and take action.
Out of nowhere, I was
presented with a slam dunk opportunity to solve my problem.
One day shortly after
Thanksgiving in 1967, I came home to a huge surprise... two attractive
Mexican girls my age
had just moved into my house. I was informed they would be sleeping
in the two upstairs rooms on either side of my room.
When I saw these two
girls, I immediately went into
It was obvious from the
moment I met Linda and Janie that they were no strangers to the
company of men. I was instantly aware of the
possibilities. Indeed, at the mere sight of them, my body
sprung to attention. However, considering how my
acne problems had removed me from even the slightest contact with
girls my age, I was not in any way prepared to know how to proceed when
these two sexually active
women were dropped practically in my lap.
Up till now, I had
been able to cope with my monk-like status due to my avoidance of
all available females. The attractive girls at my school were
so far out of my league that I gave them a wide berth. The SJS
girls were wonderful eye candy to say
the least, but in another universe when it came to thoughts of
touching one of them. I put the odds of a meteor striking the
earth and the odds of me kissing a St. John's girl at roughly even.
I had zero experience with girls.
Therefore one can also assume
when it came to dealing with my burgeoning sex drive, I had absolutely no
I now learned an interesting
lesson the hard way. Magnets are indifferent to each other
until they are close enough. But get them close enough and they suddenly jump together.
As long as a pretty girl kept her distance, my sex drive didn't
bother me too much. But the moment these two girls were within
touching distance, I was on fire. I felt a burning in my loins
so intense that I was instantly in pain. This was a new and
quite unpleasant feeling. I had never experienced this kind of
male frenzy before and it actually scared me a bit.
Embarrassing as it is to
admit, I didn't even know the secret of masturbation yet. With
no father, no brothers, and no guy friends who talked about sex, I
was completely in the dark. How
exactly was I supposed to dissipate this involuntary throbbing?
Nor did these two young ladies make it
easy for me. They began flirting with me the
moment they saw me.
Janie and Linda were the younger
sisters of Ramon, Mom's
live-in boyfriend. Up till now, they had lived in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Ramon had sent word that there were extra
rooms in our house, so come on up. I found it strange my
mother had given me no warning, but considering we weren't on the
best of terms, that was typical of my mother who found odd ways to
Ramon had been around
for a while, maybe six or eight months. Mom had met him
towards the end of my Junior year when
we were still living in the Montrose area. Ramon was a factor
in Mom's decision to buy this crazy house. I think they were
planning to get married. I liked Ramon. Ramon was a gentle, easy going guy. He was the best
since Miguel back in the 7th grade. Ramon seemed to make Mom happy, so that was
good enough for me. Heck, it was a big house. I didn't
mind him living with us at all.
But I wasn't counting on
this development. I nearly fell over when
I saw Ramon's sisters. Both girls were hot! They were also
very close to my age. Janie
was three years older than me and Linda was one
year older. These young ladies were not remotely
modest. I was extremely distracted by having two attractive
girls walk around in shorts and revealing tops. Although both
girls were a bit on the plump side, that didn't bother me. In
my book, they were borderline voluptuous.
On the very first night they were here,
the older sister, greeted me in
her underwear as she came out of the bathroom headed to her bedroom.
She didn't seem to care one bit that I gawked. She just
smiled. My teenage hormones flew way out of control.
I found myself overwhelmed by an instant sexual frenzy that refused
to go away. Her unabashed sexuality was attacking me on a level for which I had
no answer. My go-get-her system and my
don't-you-dare-touch-her system immediately engaged each other in a
pitched Civil War. I felt completely out of control. I turned
and ran to my bedroom in panic.
girl spoke a lick of English. But they knew how to smile.
That they did. They also knew how to let their bodies do the talking.
Despite a list of a dozen reasons I had just created explaining why I should leave them both alone,
I found myself getting turned on against my will. Their power
to evoke my sex drive left me panting and frustrated. I was
worse than a dog in heat. I hated the control they had over
I am going to tell it
like it is. Both Janie and Linda knew full well how to
advertise their charms. I assumed that came from plenty of
The way they dressed, the way they moved and the way they smiled
made it obvious that both girls were experienced in the ways of men.
In other words, they had the right equipment, they knew how to use
it, and they had plenty of practice. I also think they knew full well what they were doing to me. It
crossed my mind that Janie had been a 'professional' back in
Vera Cruz. I think it was her blatant disregard of clothing
that gave me my first hint. Linda? I wasn't sure about
Due to my lack of experience,
I was quite eager to change my virginal
status. The moment I saw Linda and Janie, their
presence and proximity presented an almost irresistible temptation
for me. Their bodies had a magnetic effect on me. I
could not take my eyes off of them. Furthermore, based on the way they flirted with me,
they seemed quite open to any suggestions I might have.
Only one problem.
I didn't speak Spanish.
I smiled grimly at
Languages were my specialty. I knew enough German, Latin, and
French to exchange ideas. But no Spanish.
With no way to
communicate, my remorse knew no limits.
Whatever had possessed me to choose a useless language like German?
In the culture from which these two sisters came,
sexuality was a highly valued commodity. Linda and Janie had learned
how to entice men. And when they first got here, I was the
only man available to entice. Since they were in a new
environment, they understood at a certain level that they needed to
make friends quickly. I was their first choice. Or to be
fair, at the moment I was their only choice.
Thanks to the curse of my acne,
of course I was a virgin.
Heck, I had never even kissed a girl. Now the
opportunity to do some serious catch-up was tantalizingly right before my eyes. The temptation to act was
I was game to
try. But how should I proceed?
I didn't know, so I decided it would be foolish to dive right in
like I wanted to. Instead I decided to give the situation some thought.
In those first few days
and nights, I was so turned on I couldn't settle down. Study
for calculus? Are you kidding? I was
being driven mad with desire. My
body was pleading with my conscience for
permission to take action. I was so busy coping with the
constant battle between libido and conscience that I could think of
nothing but sex.
I could not get these two girls out of my mind.
Plain and simple, I
wanted to have sex. Either one would do just fine, didn't
matter which. The sooner the better.
However, my conscience
made it clear I couldn't just attack them. So how would I go about
gaining their consent? How could I approach
these girls the right way? I went nuts with
confusion on what to do.
The upstairs of my
mother's massive house had three bedrooms. Mom
and Ramon slept downstairs while each girl had a bedroom of her
own. Janie was across the hall and Linda slept next to my room.
There was a door between our bedrooms. Each night, I sat in my
bed staring at that door.
The temptation and the ease of opportunity was
a powerful combination. All I had to do was
wait until the middle of the night, tiptoe across my room and softly knock on the door. But I
didn't have the guts to try.
There were several
things stopping me. One problem was my hope that my first sexual opportunity would be with someone I
cared about. Well, that wasn't going to happen here. Was
I willing to compromise my dream? Probably. The importance of
my romantic dream was
The thought of having my
mother find out was a huge deterrent. Mom was no
saint, but I could not help but wonder what she would say when she
discovered her randy
son was merrily bed-hopping with the Latin nymphets.
And then there was my
conscience. It was wrong to exploit
these girls. I wasn't sure why I felt that having sex with
these experienced girls was exploitive, but that's how I felt.
I had little to offer
beyond a roll in the hay. Perhaps fooling around would have
been acceptable, but I had no way to know ahead of time.
I think I could have put my conscience to
rest if I could have found a way to get explicit consent from one of
the two young ladies. Propositioning women is a delicate task
in the best of circumstances, but my inability to find the words to
express myself frustrated me no
end. In this situation, my inexperience around women really
worked against me.
In retrospect, perhaps the
purchase of an English to Spanish paperback would have done the
trick. From there, a simple
invitation to walk in the nearby park... "Caminar en el parque,
plus a little hand holding might have led to a kiss. Perhaps a
bottle of wine smuggled from the kitchen would have improved the
knows where things could have gone from there? But I was a
rookie and apparently not very imaginative. This idea never
crossed my mind. When it came to
romantic skills, I had none.
kids my age were supposed to get to know each other, hold
hands, develop feelings, kiss a little, fondle some and then begin
to negotiate what to do about
the growing desires. For some reason, the gradual approach never occurred to me.
Let's skip the base
paths. My mind
was fixated on heading straight to home plate. I wanted to
just knock on the door in the middle of the night and crawl into
bed. Would I be
greeted with open arms or tagged out? Fortunately, I wasn't
quite that bold. Smiles and giggles and walking around in
underwear was one thing, but that didn't entitle me to
assume I could just crawl into bed with either girl.
If we could have talked about it beforehand, these girls were
certainly old enough to signal green light or
red light. But how was I supposed to talk to them?
After a week
of near-constant flirting, I still had
gotten nowhere. It frustrated me no end
that I didn't know how to solve this problem.
The presence of my
mother remained the major deterrent. I really
didn't want my mother to know. I had spent all those years
expressing my disgust at her own sexual practices. I sure as hell
didn't want to hear her laugh at me with scorn once I started
walking a similar path. No doubt my hypocrisy would give her
just the ammunition she needed to point out I was no better than
Therefore I strongly preferred my sexual escapades
stay a secret. But without the ability to discuss my desire
I had no control over what either girl would say. How was I
supposed to ask them to keep our shenanigans a secret?
Even if I was lucky
enough to be welcomed into one of the bedrooms, one sister would surely say something to her
other sister or to Ramon,
her older brother. There was little doubt that soon enough the entire house would know what
I was up to. That thought gave me great pause. The
thought of my mother's derisive laughter had a paralyzing effect on
So I hesitated. I cursed
again that I could not speak Spanish!
I assumed given a little time,
could gather enough non-verbal cues to know how to proceed.
Heck, maybe one of the girls would crawl into my bed! That was
the kind of non-verbal cue I was really hoping for. Then I
would be blameless... "Gee, Mom, it was her idea, she took me
by surprise and crawled into
bed with me. What did you expect me to do, push her away?"
I had not gotten a
single night of decent sleep in a week. I just laid there all
night long staring at the door and wondering what to do. The entire time I prayed
door would open tonight and Linda would enter to make a man out
of me. But that didn't happen.
I am not exaggerating when I say I
was being driven out of my mind with desire. For crying out
loud, both girls were right next door to me... alone. And I
knew they liked me. Why else would they go around the house
teasing me in
their scanty outfits ? Why else would they laugh and giggle
when I was nearby? I lay there in torment
all night long trying to think of a way to finesse this tricky
Where there's a will,
there's a way. Why don't I admit the truth? It wasn't
any faint heart or lack of courage that stopped me, it was my
conscience. Right from the start, a part of me was strongly convinced that approaching
either girl for sex was wrong.
There was some part of
me that felt these girls were not fair game. Ultimately that
is what kept me away.
I have been told I think
too much. Probably so. But I couldn't shake the lingering
feeling there was something about this situation that was sure to
I compared my situation to Odysseus
and the Sirens. The Sirens were beautiful naked mermaids who
sang their song to sailors as the ships passed their isle. The
sailors could not resist. They would inevitably draw closer,
so close in fact that their ships would crash upon treacherous rocks hidden
below the surface of the waves. Now the men would die as punishment for their failure to
had some Sirens of my very own. Their song was
pulling me closer. Would I end up
hidden rocks as
well? There seemed to be something I had overlooked.
Mr. Curran, my teacher
friend at school, had told me a joke.
"Experience is a comb
that life throws you after you have lost your hair."
wisecrack resonated with me now. I was almost certain that
my inexperience was hiding something important I needed to know.
I figured it out. What if they got pregnant?
this was all brand new to me, I wondered what the
odds were of pregnancy. Too bad I didn't
have the slightest idea what a condom was. I
had never heard of one. Unsure of the
odds, my fear of
getting one of the girls pregnant added yet another
layer of complexity to my problem. As I
recall, this deterrent was just as powerful as the
fantasy of my
Pregnancy. Permission. These three issues kept
my ardor at bay.
wrestled with this dilemma day and night. So
far I had resisted temptation, but it had been an
ordeal. I wondered if
I might die of sexual frustration. Meanwhile my education had gone into
I recalled the Arabic
saying that the easiest way to forget a problem is
to find a worse problem. By worrying about sex
non-stop, I had found a way to quit worrying about
college and calculus. There was no homework being done and the holy roller music had become
the least of my concerns. I was getting way
behind in Calculus, but all I could do was
think about naked vixens in the bedrooms next to me.
Unless Calculus could help me solve my virtue
problem, it would have to wait.
seemed to be no solution. One week into this
mess and I was still being consumed with intense
sexual desire. I was practically defenseless
against the attack on my virtue that these two girls
presented. I was in heat any time they were
near me. Terry was no help. No
doubt my dog was amused that this time I was the one suffering from sexual
frustration instead of
morning I was reading the paper in the living room. No
one else had risen yet. Linda
came down the stairs wearing shorts and a teeshirt, but no
bra. Watching the motion of her breasts as she walked
down the stairs, I stopped breathing. She sat down next to me much closer than necessary
and picked up the Sunday comics. I was wearing shorts
as well and now our legs touched. The moment I felt
her bare leg against mine, I was instantly turned on.
Her action seemed very deliberate. It felt like Linda
was daring me to touch her.
My hand began to tremble. Just one
little pat. Why not? What's the harm?
It took every
ounce of my self-control not to reach out and
grab her bare leg like I wanted to. I had
to literally clench my hands together for fear I would lose
began to tremble with desire. Embarrassed and
uncomfortable, I had to leave the room lest she realize how
flustered I was. Here we go again. For about the
tenth time that week, I had to go
to my bedroom until I cooled off.
These two girls
would have been a test for any man, much less a lonely, sex-starved boy like me.
My body wanted them in the worst way, but my
conscience and the fear of pregnancy held me back.
said yes, but my brain said no. I told
myself that Linda and Janie were pure trouble, but my body
wasn't listening. The temptation to make
some sort of move was overwhelming. I lived my life in
It didn't help
that they walked around the house in various states of
undress. Did they think I was their brother or
No, I wasn't
their brother. Why were they doing this to me?
I was obsessed.
I craved release from this torment.
night I finally had the chance I hoped for.
week after the girls moved in, I came home from work around
8:30 pm. The house was dark, so I didn't think
anyone was home. As I entered the living room, I froze in disbelief.
lying on the couch watching TV. Janie was wearing a loose fitting
bathrobe that revealed considerable flesh. I
imagined there wasn't much else underneath
Seeing her disrobed like that, I was instantly on
seeing me, Janie smiled warmly. I noticed
she didn't bother to cover up. Without sitting
up, she smiled and patted the couch, an obvious
invitation to join her.
the only two people in the house.
All I had to do was go sit on the couch and
see what happened next. Maybe hold her hand?
If she didn't pull her hand away, maybe put my arm around her?
Perhaps a kiss?
Instead I fled
straight up the
staircase, my usual solution. As I sat
there on the side of my bed quivering with desire, I
ordered myself to go back down there. However
I had to think one last time if this was the worst
mistake I would ever make. That was a waste of
time. This ain't no thinking thing.
My passion was too strong to
knowledge that half-naked Janie had invited me to sit next to her was irresistible.
Linda had taken a direct shot and now Janie.
What was I waiting for?
I got up from the
bed and immediately went back down the stairs.
I was done playing nice guy.
halfway down the staircase when I
heard voices at the door. Mom was home
as were Linda and Ramon.
From above, I watched Janie hastily rearrange her robe
and sit up.
Instantly those inviting curves disappeared. I didn't know whether to scream for joy or cry in
anguish. I was a nervous wreck at the lost
opportunity. I felt like such a damn fool.
Crushed over the missed opportunity I had been
begging for, with an air defeat I made my Napoleon's
retreat to the bedroom.
That encounter with
Janie was excruciating. I could not withstand this neverending tease another minute.
I was in
heat all the time. The
temptation was killing me! I decided the only way to
solve this problem was to get it over with and have sex with one of the girls.
Otherwise I might die from unreleased lust.
To hell with my conscience or whatever my mother
might think of me. This had to stop. I began to plot
what to do. I decided to make my move in the
Each girl had a bedroom of her own upstairs next
my room. The fact that each girl slept
alone was not lost on me. If they had slept
together, it would have taken a mountain of courage
to come knocking. However, their separation made it much
easier. Divide and conquer. This
opportunity presented an overwhelming assault on my will
power to resist.
I tossed in my bed unable to sleep.
Janie was the one who had signaled availability
a few nights ago with her couch invitation. All I had to do was
wait until the middle of the night and tiptoe eight feet across the
hall, then softly knock on Janie's door. If she opened the
door and smiled, well...
was not my first choice. I had
my sights set on Linda, the younger and much prettier one.
Linda watching me
on several occasions. So far she hadn't been as bold
as Janie, but after the Sunday morning move, now I was certain she was interested in me.
room was right next to mine with an adjoining door
between us. I knew the
door wasn't locked because I tested it every day.
In other words, in
the middle of the night, I could just knock and walk in. It was that
easy. As I lay in bed, I stared at that door endlessly. I
could not get the image of Linda sleeping alone in the
next room out of my mind. Did I have the
guts to try something?
I came to the conclusion
that the door remained unlocked for a reason. She could
lock it if she wanted to. I tested that too.
The door could be locked and yet the door remained unlocked.
Surely this was a signal of permission.
was the night. As I lay there in my bed, the only thing
stopping me was me. But I couldn't make myself do it.
finally figured out what my issue was.
At first I thought my biggest fear
was getting caught by my mother. Nope, not any more.
was fear of pregnancy. Definitely a problem,
but willing to risk it.
And of course that
permission issue. It occurred to me that both
girls had gotten more aggressive. Was there a
contest? Whatever the reason, considering the teasing
maneuvers, I had all the encouragement I needed.
was back to that exploitation thing.
the past week, my sex-crazed body had
calmed down a little. I was actually starting
to get used to the girls being here. As each day passed, it
began to feel like they were members of the family.
This is difficult to explain, but I had finally begun to
focus on these two women as my sisters of a sort rather than sexual punching bags put in this house
for my pleasure and convenience.
first, my viewpoint towards the girls had been
purely selfish. Some juvenile part of me assumed they had appeared
out of nowhere as a gift from the Universe to
satisfy my powerful teenage urges.
the more I thought about it... and trust me I
thought about it all the time... the word
'permission' became the ascendant phrase. Deep
down inside, it wasn't my 'faint heart' that held me
back. I was 90% sure that I could walk through
Linda's unlocked door tonight and receive a warm welcome.
cared about her feelings. I wasn't sure why,
but there was some inherent 'hands off' feeling
growing within me. I was convinced that
whatever happened, it was sure to end poorly.
my mother's one-night stands where her sailor boys
conveniently sailed off to Greece or Yugoslavia the
next day, I would have to face this woman in the
morning... and the next morning... and the morning
after that. There would be no walking away
from a girl who lived under the same roof.
exactly did I have in mind for Act Two??
It was my understanding
that Mexican men didn't treat their women well. These girls
came from a very
sexist culture. Given how these two women were used to
being treated, why
should I feel any need to hold myself to a higher standard? Why on
earth was I wrestling so hard with my conscience when these girls
knew full well it was a man's world? Where they came from, a
man took what he wanted.
positive any Mexican
boy my age would have been in and out by now or at least given it a
So why was
I being so careful about their feelings?
I was better than that. At St.
John's, women were respected. We were all
realized I preferred to stay loyal to the values my
own culture had taught me. Now
that I realized Linda and Janie were members of the family,
they had become my equals as well. They
deserved my respect. I
had no business being aggressive in any way, shape
end, it came down this... I was hardly boyfriend material.
Our worlds were so vastly different there was
practically no intersection. Due to the language barrier, I had no way to
entertain them outside of the bedroom. Nor did
I care to try. I wasn't ready to date these
girls or have them as a girlfriend. What was I
supposed to do, take Linda to the prom? As far
as I could tell, she didn't even own a dress.
I had nothing to offer either girl
other than a good time or money... and money would have been an insult.
'a good time'. However, if it was going to be casual sex, I had
to know ahead of time if they were just as
interested as I was. No bold first
moves on my part... I needed a clear signal on their
part that a casual sexual encounter was acceptable.
lofty morals turn to mush when a sexually available
girl leaves her door unlocked at night, somehow my
values held sway.
To be honest, in the
rare moments when my
mind wasn't clouded with sexual frenzy, the thing that cooled my
ardor the most was my fear of hurting the girl. Yes,
underneath my lust-clouded mind, I discovered
a streak of decency. Given the language
barrier, I anticipated the
odds that a casual sexual
affair had about a zero percent chance of ending
here together. What would happen
when the passion cooled?
Given that we lived under the same roof, when the
music's over, things would become very awkward.
analysis, I concluded the only scenario that
would let me off the
hook would be if one the girls took the initiative and crawled into
my bed one night.
I prayed that would happen, but my prayers
were never answered. Well, perhaps my prayers were answered
when Janie patted the couch, but I dropped the ball. Now
that it was my turn to make a move, my conscience
held me back.
I had some sort of chivalry in me
that said these girls were not fair game.
Unless they made the first move, it was hand's off.
In a flash, the problem was solved.
To my eternal exasperation,
nine days after
the girls showed up, Linda
and Janie got jobs as waitresses at a nearby Mexican cantina on
With their looks, I imagine they were
hired on the spot.
One week after that,
Janie acquired a boyfriend.
And how did I
One night Janie brought her new amigo home with her. The
constant sound of that squeaking bed absolutely blew my mind. All
night long!! I think they finally stopped just before dawn.
I was not in the
least bit happy about this development. However, at
least I still had Linda to pursue. Besides, she was
the one I really liked.
It's Now or Never.
Nope, too late on that
front too. The next night
Linda didn't come home. In fact, I didn't even see her
the next day. Assuming that she had spent the
night somewhere, obviously Linda had found a boyfriend
I was incredulous. Thanks to my
inexperience, it had never occurred to me I might have a deadline to make
my move. My big chance
had evaporated. As I contemplated paradise lost, I felt like
a fool for wasting a perfect opportunity.
nights later, I was awakened at 2:15 am by voices on the stairs. I
know the time exactly because I stared at the clock
in disbelief. I could tell by the voices and footsteps there
were more than two people out in the hall.
Terry jumped out of bed and went to sniff at the door for danger.
I frowned. I knew
exactly what was going on. Both girls had
brought their boyfriends upstairs. Sure
enough, I heard the door to
Janie's room open and then I heard Linda's door open
Then I heard a male
voice in the room next to me. I was fit to be
tied. Linda had
brought her new boyfriend here tonight.
I froze when I
heard the lock in the adjoining door click. A horrible
wave of anguish overtook me... shame at having not acted
when I had a chance, extreme jealousy, feelings of
rejection. Even though I had not 'acted', I had still
been flattered by the attention. For the first time in
my life, I felt desirable. Now that both girls had
moved on, I was crushed.
The two sisters and
their boyfriends began to have sex immediately. I was inflamed
with jealousy to realize Linda's bed was being
put to good use, but not by me. Of course I had no business
being jealous, but that is how I felt nonetheless.
I noticed Linda's bed squeaked
just like Janie's.
There were moans of
ecstasy and squeaking
beds on both sides of my room. Stereo!
For the next few weeks,
the upstairs at my house stayed as busy as any bordello. I was treated to
the soundtrack of nightly lust, but without the video. No
problem. I had my
disturbing imagination for that.
I had the empty thrill of listening to
with pleasure as
she had sex
with her new boyfriend next door. I was jealous as
hell. By the way, the private door remained
locked now. I smiled in grim appreciation of the
implication. Nice guys finish last.
I felt like such a
chump. I had my chance and I blew it. Look what my lofty
middle class morals had cost me.
In short order, there were
First Reymundo, Linda's
new boyfriend, showed up with a suitcase. He was moving in. Now there were
six of us in the house... Mom, Ramon, Linda, Janie, Reymundo and
me. Janie was not to be outdone. In short order
Enrique, the other boyfriend, moved in... and brought his two year
old baby son Manuel along for good measure. Now there were eight of us, including
Soon enough there was
news that a ninth
member of La Familia was on the way. Linda was pregnant.
The sobering implication of that
development was not lost on me.
I finally had a reason to compliment myself on my restraint.
However, I was in no mood to pat myself on the back. This situation was
metamorphosis had begun just after Thanksgiving. In the space
of one month, my home had turned into a Mexican halfway house of
sorts. I was going out of my mind.
Christmas, I went to my mother in
Imagine my shock when Mom told me she had not only
given these girls permission to bring their boyfriends into the
house, she could have cared less about my discomfort. Mom made
it clear she was going to let those men continue to stay in my home
whether I liked it or not, screaming baby and all.
aghast. Did my mother have the slightest idea what she was
putting me through? I was furious at her indifference.
I blew up at her.
We had a very ugly confrontation. I could not believe
how hot my temper was. My mother lost her temper too.
In fact, this was the angriest I had ever seen her. My mother
was normally a very gentle person, but now she began to scream at me for my constant selfishness and surly
attitude. She accused me of not caring about her one bit, so
why should she care about me?
"Well, damn it,
Mom, I live
here too. I'm sick of you bringing your boyfriends home with
you, but I never dreamed you would turn this place into a brothel!"
No doubt my words stung.
"Who the hell do you
think you are? This is my house, Richard, and I can do
what I want. You think you are so important, well, guess
again. You're leaving soon. Maybe it is time to quit
thinking about your problems and think about my problems for a
change. I have a house note to pay. I can't wait for
you to leave. I am counting the days. Then maybe I
your room out too!"
"What did you just say?
Rent my room out too?"
I could tell from her
expression, my mother had made a mistake. She had let
something slip. Mom responded with defiance.
"That's right, rent
your room out too. These people are paying rent and I need the
money, so deal with it, Richard. This isn't your home
anymore, this is my home."
That last comment shut
me up. That barb actually hurt a lot because I think she meant
it. I wasn't welcome in my own home.
Mom took advantage of my
hurt silence to continue. She issued a semi-comic ultimatum that
from here on out, she wasn't going to be washing my
clothes any more either. I remember exactly what she said. "And while
you're at it, Richard, you can wash your own goddamn clothes!! I can't stand
the smell any longer."
What she was referring
to was my gym clothes. Because I played afternoon basketball
two or three times a week for hours at a time, I generated a considerable amount of
And with that ultimatum,
the argument ended. I stomped off. Mom had won this round.
The Mexicans were here to stay.
This was the most
vicious fight I ever had with my mother. I was consumed with rage
for days afterwards. I don't forgive easily, so the anger
refused to dissipate.
This fight had an ironic
consequence. Due to her demand that I wash my own clothes, I
would one day get into serious trouble at school.
My mother's words had hurt me a lot, but I wasn't about to
let her know that. Nor was I about to give Mom the satisfaction of
letting her see me wash my own clothes. This declaration became the reason I turned to borrowing
gym clothes at school. I did this because I was determined to snub my mother.
Instead, I simply began taking clean gym clothes from the SJS
athletic department and returning my dirty gym clothes to the hamper in
the locker room. With a new source of clean clothes, I didn't
have to give my mother the satisfaction of seeing me capitulate to
her wrathful declaration. In that way, I kept my hurt pride intact.
Mom and I
stopped talking to each other. Completely. It was Cold
War. Or maybe we should call it a Mexican standoff.
The house underwent a rapid transformation.
First the girls arranged
a Mexican Christmas. Up in my room I heard the strangest song
coming from Mom's record player. It seemed very familiar.
Cascabel! Suena el Cascabel..."
It took me a minute, but
I realized it was Jingle Bells. Linda was
playing a Christmas album with Christmas carols sung in Spanish.
Soon the friends of
Janie and Linda from the bar started dropping in to say "Feliz
Navidad". Mixing tequila with egg nog... I kid you
not... soon the place was a festive madhouse. If I wasn't such
a grouch, I would have noticed they were all having a lot of fun.
Navidad playing in the background, I mercifully excused
myself to visit the Clark family instead. The Clarks were the
Quaker family who had taken me with them on four summer vacations. I
much preferred to have
a Gringo Christmas. Terry wasn't so lucky. He was
overwhelmed by all these strangers. I found my dog hiding on my bed
upstairs when I returned.
The Mexican Merry
Christmas was the precursor. As the days passed and
the gang got more comfortable, friends of La Familia began to stop by
on a regular basis. They came over in the evenings
and watched boxing or wrestling on TV together. Other times it
was the beloved El Tri, nickname for the Mexican soccer team... aka
Thanks to the beer and
cheer, the noise level got so loud I couldn't even hear the organ
music from across the street.
Spanish became the official language of the household.
time ago Mom
had learned to speak fluent Spanish... easier to pick up Mexican
guys in bars that way. Noting how my own lack of Spanish had
handicapped me with the sexy senoritas, I tipped my hat to my mother. From
my vantage point at the top of the staircase, I secretly observed Mom watching the boxing matches right along with everyone else.
was cheering in Spanish no less...
Mi Madre loved it. Mom was now
la gran dama de la casa,
the Mexican Matriarch.
I had no idea all
these years that Mom wanted a big family. Mom was
having a great time.
One night I came home
and the house was alive with mariachi and ranchero music. They
had pushed the chairs and couches aside in the living room. Everyone was singing
in Spanish and dancing. It was Fiesta time at Madre's casa.
I quietly slid past
everyone and climbed the stairs. Up at the top of the stairs
was Terry looking as confused as he could possibly be at the
pandemonium below. He was unbelievably relieved to see me
return. Together we went in my bedroom for sanctuary and
closed the door. Over the din, I could barely hear the organ
music across the street. I was flabbergasted to note things
were so weird now I actually missed the days when I could still hear
the organ music. This house was insane.
For an only child who had
spent the first seventeen years of his life totally alone,
this house full of strangers and their constant amigo visitors was quite a stretch. I had to
wait to use the bathroom. I discovered my peanut butter had
been eaten by someone else. The Wheaties were gone too. Whenever I
tried to study, the shouting at the boxing matches made it
impossible to concentrate. Plus one wall or the other vibrated with the sounds of sex every night. I
couldn't remember the last time I had slept the night through.
One day Janie saw me in
the hall and greeted me with 'Ola! Cómo estás, Senor Ricardo?'
Is that my new name? Janie used to call me 'Rick'.
Except for my mother and Ramon, not one
of my housemates spoke more than two words of English. The few
times I shared a family meal, the language barrier got under my skin.
I sat at the table and couldn't understand a word they were saying.
I had no idea what people were talking about in my own home.
I never sat in the
living room any more. Enrique and his little boy were always
there. I was aghast. Before my very eyes, my
home had become a teeming halfway house for Mexican
immigrants. My entire world had been turned upside down.
shook my head in bewilderment. This
was the strangest situation I had ever been in. It was like
being an exchange student in a foreign land, except I was unable to participate. I didn't belong here, did I? I
had become the odd man out in my own home.
attacked on every level of my being. Having the Mexican
Brady Bunch as my new family flipped my brain upside down. I just wasn't flexible enough
to withstand this overwhelming culture shock. This wasn't my home.
What was I doing here? I felt completely alienated.
I had always wondered what it might be like
to be part of a big family. As they say, be careful what you
ask for. This wasn't exactly what I had in
I ruefully thought how I had always envied
the large Ballantyne family and their seven children. Gee,
that gave me an idea. Maybe
my new family could challenge the Ballantynes to a
Mexico versus Greece. Mrs. Ballantyne and Mom could be goalies.
I had not belonged at
St. John's for a long time. Now I didn't belong in my own
home. I didn't belong to
either world, did I?
The absurd paradox of Prep
by day and Little Mexico by night was unsettling. Every morning I would
drive to school with its privilege and perfect manners. I
would sit in the Senior Room and wonder what my classmates would think if they
knew what kind of life I was living at home.
Every night I would
drive home to holy
roller music, Spanish dialogue, a screaming two-year old, and the
maddening sound of squeaking beds. Trying to cope, I began to
eat dinner at the grocery store, come home as late as possible, grab
the dog, sprint to my room, close the door, and turn on the radio as
loud as I could. Anything to drown out this strange world
I had been raised amidst total privacy. That was long gone.
Sometimes I thought
I was losing my mind.
The lyrics to a recent
hit song ran through my mind on continual
"We got to get outta this place if its the last thing
we ever do."
It was a race
against time. Would I escape before I went insane?