I remember

From Esmeralda Santiago's When I Was Puerto Rican because I remember: 

"I wondered if it were true, as Mami claimed when she and Papi fought, that he saw other women behind her back. And if he did, was it because he didn't love us? My eyes watered, my mouth filled with a salty taste, but if I cried, Abuela would hear me and think I didn't want to be with her. From the stoop, I could hear the rhythmic clicks of her rosary beads and the soft hum of her voice reciting prayers whose music was familiar to me, but whose words I'd never learned. And I wished that I knew how to pray, because then I could speak to God and maybe He or one of His saints could explain things to me. But I didn't know any prayers, because Mami didn't believe in churches or holy people, and Papi, even though he read the Bible and could lead novenas for the dead, never talked to us about God. 
I determined not to cry, because if she asked me, I didn't want to tell Abuela why. But the pressure was too much, and as the tears came, I looked around for something with which to hurt myself so that when Abuela asked, I could show her a reason for the tears. I put my hand in the doorjamb and slammed the door shut. 
The pain burned across my knuckles, through my fingers, and a scream, louder than I intended, brought Abuela to my side. She hugged me, walked me to the sink, where she poured cool water over my hand, dried it with the soft hem of her dress, rubbed Vick's VapoRub on the pain, and held me against her bosom. She half carried me to her chair, pulled me onto her lap, and rocked me back and forth, back and forth, humming a lullaby I'd never heard." (pp. 92-93)


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