NANA ( A novel published in episodes)

 

Chapter IV:

 

My sister got suspended for three days. She fought with the girls and yelled at the coach. They were talking about it in school.  A girl from her school told me.  I looked for her when we got out  but she was not at the gate.  Ramirez was near Chelsea High when some girls asked him about his brother. He said he was doing fine but he did not want to come to school. One of the girls turned to me and said: “ it was your sister! She was mean to him.” Then she told us about what happened at school.

My friend told me that his brother was in love with my sister. My sister has changed a lot  she does not talk to me the way she used.  When I came home that day she looked so angry I did not say a word to her. I felt proud of her. She yelled at them.

My father took her to school. She did not stay at home three days. She started school the next day. My father told them that they harassed her and that she was calm by nature. Ramirez also attended the meeting and said he was sorry he created that situation. I heard my father talking about it to mother.

My father has been teasing my mother all night about  her literacy exam. She refused to tell him the results. He asked us to bug her about the result. My sister seemed reluctant to join me while pulling my mother by the sleeve and chanting: “ tell us, tell us, tell us , pleaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaase!” in Arabic. My father however seemed to be anxious and he seemed to really want  to know. Under my father’s pressure and possibly because my father was about to cry as he was begging her to   ask my mom, she did join me reticently then she soon  joined the chanting. Suddenly my father shouted: “ I know she came top if we flip the list bottom up. ” My mother  shouted back at him: “No, the opposite!”

We all shouted simultaneously: “Yay!’’

My parents went to sleep soon after and so did my sister. While I was watching T.V, I heard my sister crying and I had to wake her up. It was eleven o’clock p.m. My sister did not go back to sleep but strictly asked me to go to bed. I was about to sleep anyway. I was tired myself.

My parents wake up the next day early in the morning since my mother had to start work early. On the way to school one of Ramirez friends  met us and asked my sister if she was free after school. My sister became very tense and said in a very sharp and angry tone “No!”

My friend was also with us and he asked  the guy to take a hike  for he heard what the girl said.

 

The  guy did not pay attention to my friend but he leaned on my sister and said in a strange tone: “ give me a chance babe, I can rock your world”

My friend pushed the guy on the abdomen with both hands till he was about to fall: “ She told you she did not want to get out with you, didn’t you hear that!” I did the same as he was about to hit my friend and said “yea, you heard him”

My sister grabbed us both by the hand and ran and we did not stop till we got to my school. My father warned us not to get in trouble again and told us that he would find a new school for Radia. He might even consider a boarding school.  We will just have to be careful.  He asked my sister to exactly repeat what the guy asked her and asked me to repeat all the details of the fight. He  told me to never get in fights unless  in self-defense. He told my sister to try and let a guy know that she is not interested without getting into fights. My mother asked my sister  whether he was a moslem and if he wanted to marry her. My sister’s face became very red and started crying. She yelled at all of us: “ Why are you all bothering me this way!”  I stepped away from my parents and my sister. I taught my mother was going to hit my sister. She did not.  She looked at my father and said: “ I only wanted to know if he wanted to marry her.”

During lunch mother told my father that she was going to start English literacy. Her manager told her if she did she might allow her to become a cashier. My father started laughing and said: “ Next time you will tell me you are going to college!” My mother laughed and said:  “ and I will start teaching you!” She also told him that I was a good math teacher and that now she can do even multiplication and subtraction. Doha told her she would help her get a G.E.D. My father’s face looked different as she was talking and he told: “ No way, you will do that!”  When she asked why he said: “ Then in no time you will file a divorce because I will be no good for you, just like that friend of yours,” and stormed off to the bedroom. My mother did not follow him she looked at my sister and jovially asked her to wash her stinky face. When she did  not, my mother yelled in English: “ wot the heg you waitinfo?” and laughed loudly as my sister sprang to her feet while giggling. I jumped to my mother’s lap and asked to her: “ Talk in English, talk in English”  She held me in her arms and said: “ wot do you wan?” I found her accent very funny and found the way she messes up the words funnier.

It was the first night I had a nightmare. My mother had blond hair just like Doha’s . She was wearing a coat. A  tall blond man was with her. They were walking hand in hand. I ran after them and grabbed my mom by the sleeves, she did not look at me. The blond man tossed a quarter in my hand. The blond man looked like my dad but he was taller and had blue eyes  that turned very red when I did not let go of my mom’s sleeve.

Next morning was Sunday. My father did not wake up early while my mother was in the kitchen preparing breakfast. My father looked sad and did not talk much. It was not until lunch that he asked us if mom´s idea to prepare for a G.E.D. was a good one. My sister said it was a good idea and did not say much. While I said in Arabic:  “no way you will do that” as if I were my father and I sat silently. I did not want my mother to divorce my father. I did not want her to marry another man.

My father had to meet the principal many times as Radia started to complain from time to time about the problems she had in school. She ended up meeting the social worker who in turn met with both my parents, myself and teachers and visited us in our own house.  She suggested that Radia writes a paper about  high schools in morocco and present it in class.

Ramirez was not the only friend I had. I had two classmates who became my best friends and we started walking together to school. I told my parents that I had  to go to the library every Saturday morning to play a card game. My sister accompanied me;  she had to do some research for her paper and we did not have a computer or the internet. While in the library, a girl bumped into my sister and told her: “watch out, bitch!” My sister became slightly red and  stepped aside.

She then sat by my side while I was playing with the other kids. She did not do the homework and did not talk all the time even on the way back home when I asked her money for a ‘slushy’ from the 7/11. She handed me the money and walked all the way home silently as if she were some zombie. Once we got home she got a blanket and threw herself on the couch. I felt hungry and I asked her to prepare me some food; she did not answer and yelled at me when I  uncovered her face and told me: “ go and prepare your food alone you are not a baby!” and pulled the blanker on her face. I did not. I did not want to burn myself. My mom never allowed me to get near the stove and neither did Radia. There was no cooked food in the fridge so I grabbed some bread and pulled my  school things and yelled back at my sister: : Do your homework Rad, you do not want to be expelled.” She did not answer. I smiled at myself. My voice sounded old as I yelled.

My parents came back home they asked me what was the matter with Radia and why she was already asleep.  I told them that a girl yelled at her in the library; only then I felt bad I yelled at her also.  My friend  told me that everybody knows that she and his brother are in love. I thought that  she was in  love. They show stories  of people in love all the time in cartoons. Many times daisy became sick because she was in love. I love Micky Mouse. My sister and I do. I did not tell my parents what I thought. It was her secret. I promised if she told me I would not tell. She did not.  My father held his head in his hands and sat at her feet. My mother wondered what was the matter. “ I am going to  transfer the kids to boston!”He said. “ No way you are going to do that I protested!”

He told me that was the only solution and that he did not want her to hang out in the streets alone. Since driving us to school still does not seem to solve the problem, moving us to Boston would be one solution.  Rad suddenly started crying aloud as if she were a baby. My father asked mom to calm her down and went to his room. We did not have dinner and I did not want  to ask for food although my belly started to make some funny sounds.

The next day my father drove us to school and met with the Principal. We had to stay home for  a week before we started our classes in Boston. My sister was enrolled in a private school for the remaining semester while I was enrolled in a pilot public school for kids with advanced skills. Mine was the math project class. Either my father or his friends drove us to school.  My father told my mom that Radia’s  school was very costly since she enrolled late and he did not have chance to apply for financial  aid but the principal promised him to have her considered for financial aid for the fall. My father had to  borrow money from his friend and so did my mom. They had  started working longer hours. My mom’s English became better as she started taking an English literacy class. She also continued to have me help her with math. She started doing her homework on her own and   also insisted that my sister did the same. She started dividing  housework chores and assigning us each a task herself included. Then we sat all around the table doing the homework. My father sometimes sits on a chair for hours watching us then goes to sleep. My father writes and speaks both languages.

 

 

 

Written by J.Ouriour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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