Papi sits across from me at the living room table with his hands folded tight. This was the first time I’ve ever gotten in trouble with him and I don’t know what he is going to do. Usually when any of us kids gets in any trouble we get Nana’s slipper across our butts, or thrown at us if we try to run. Or sometimes my mom will actually try to be a mom and uses her belt. But Papi has never beat us.
“She started it!” I tell him, just so that he knows it wasn’t my fault.
“Eso no fue lo que te pregunte. Tell me what happened before Nana comes home.” And spanks you. That’s what he wants to say; I know it. “Why were you and Amanda fighting?” I suppose I can tell him the truth. Amanda is way on the other side of the apartment, our older cousin Yadira, visiting from Florida, keeping her quiet until it’s her turn to sit in front of Papi. Probably telling her lies about me. I just bet!
“I’m waiting…” said Papi, tapping on the table with his cigarette lighter.
As soon as we walked through the door, Amanda grabbed the stereo. She didn’t even ask me if I wanted to tape today, she just grabbed it and said we were taping. I told her I wanted to eat first and she rolled her eyes at me. I know you say we shouldn’t fight, we’re sisters and it’s wrong to fight, and all that, but you don’t know how mean she is. She's worse than Trujillo! One day I'm gonna wake up and find some creepy guys with guns forcing me to wake up just to record another one of her stupid songs. No, she's worse than Trujillo--she's like, like Mommy Dearest meets the Exorcist!
Okay, well maybe not that bad, but she’s mean. I had to scarf down my food because she was rushing me. I didn’t even get to finish my chuleta before she grabbed the plate and said, “Okay, let’s go.” Sometimes I wonder why I bother playing with her. Things never go my way. I’m like her puppet! “Livvy sing this way,” or “Livvy this is today’s topic,” never “Livvy, what do you want to do today?” She thinks she’s the boss of me because she’s older and bigger, but she’s only older by 20 minutes!
And that damn contract I signed. What was I thinking? Oh you didn’t know about that, huh? She made me sign a contract- that I’d record a bunch of songs with her and only her and not try to record on my own. She's in total control and I get to be her lapdog, and you and Nana don’t even see it.
I was not in the mood for singing tonight and she knew it. I wish we could have just stayed home. If mamí had just gotten off her butt and cooked dinner…sorry. But she's another one that's no help. I know she knows what's going on with Amanda and me, but she doesn’t say anything to her.
And you know what? I don't always get all the credit I deserve, but without me, this show would be nothing. I do all the real work, not Amanda. All she does is sit on her fat butt and press a few buttons. No one pays to see a button-pusher. If we were in Hollywood, people would love me. They’d want to be me. Boys would want to marry me and girls would try to look like me.
Other shows wouldn’t be able to compete with my ratings. And it would all be because of me, because of my star power. My show would be seen and heard all over the world. My albums would sell millions of copies. I would get crazy money to keep me in limos and mansions. I’d only date movie stars and famous guitar players, and I can’t even count how many magazine covers I’d been on. I’d be the biggest thing since Elvis, for heaven’s sake! But does she even see that? No.
So here I am, still in this rotten living room doing this stupid show with Amanda. She should get down on her knees and thank me for all the good stuff I've brought her. I bet, if we tried to get into the Palladium she’d only get in because she’d be with me? No way a bouncer would let her in- just look at her. She's like 200 pounds, easy; she can't dress and always looks like she's ready to fight somebody.
Who wants to dance with someone like that?
And still she gets me in this living room whenever she says and acts like it her right to tell me what to do. Who does she think she is?
Plain and simple-she’s jealous. And why not? Can you blame her? I mean- look at me and look at her. She can't even carry a tune. I’ll be on top, and she can join the rest of the world and lick my rhinestone-studded boots.
Okay, so then she gave me the "ten-minutes-to-show-time, hurry-up-and-finish-eating" wave. Can't I have a minute of peace? Is digestion not in my contract? I just knew I had to sing that stupid theme song again. God, shoot me for ever saying I would do this. I should break out on my own. Get a new manager. Sign a bigger contract. Get out of this crappy studio once and for all. I could be Anita in West Side Story, or Rizzo in Grease. Maybe I'll let her be my limo driver. That'll take her down a notch.
I went into my dressing room, you know, the bathroom? And she just came right in. So I said, “Ever hear of knocking, Lardo?” I snapped. It was just too much! I mean, knocking- it’s not a new concept! She looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Who you callin’ Lardo, stupid bitch?” Yeah. She called me a bitch, Papi, I swear to god.
Then she said, “Hurry up so we can tape the new song,” and I said “Why don’t you go choke on your new song; I'll be a big star one day, without you, thank you very much,” and that’s when she hit me. See, right here on my arm where it’s all black and blue? That’s where she hit me first.
I can see Papi is listening to everything I say, and I know he’s making mental notes so he’ll know what to tell my mom when she comes to get us. A few times he made this horrified look on his face, so I know he can sympathize with what I have to put up with.
Finally, someone understands what I deal with everyday. He sees that this wasn’t my fault, that she pushed me. She started it. She always wants things her way. If I let her push me around forever, I’ll never be the star I know I can be. Maybe they’ll send her away to military school in Santo Domingo and I’ll never have to see her again.
*smooches...dropping more gems into your life*
just wait until you read the whole novel...
Fresh Bruises by Raquel I. Penzo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.