Jordan’s mom turned off the lamp on his dresser. He was a brave little boy but he still wasn’t comfortable sleeping with the door closed. She walked out and left the door open a crack; the light from the hallway making a thin strip of light across the carpeted floor of Jordan’s room. She stood there for a moment and watched as her son rolled to his other side, facing away from her, snuggling into sleep.
Jordan closed his eyes and hoped he would dream that night. He would tell his mom his dream before breakfast, just to prove his grandma was worrying over nothing. What could go wrong?
Grabbing the nightlight from the hallway bookshelf, Jordan’s mom plugged it into the outlet that was halfway between Jordan’s room and the bathroom. Thomas the train’s round face lit up and illuminated the hall. She turned off the hallway light and walked past the bathroom to the other electrical outlet that was between the bathroom and her bedroom. Here she plugged in another nightlight. Like a trail of bread crumbs, there was a trail of light for Jordan to follow in case he got scared in the middle of the dark night and went looking for her.
Her room wasn’t a bright as Jordan’s, which was a shrine to his favorite show; it was calm and peaceful and all hers. She walked to the bed, only six steps from the doorway. The lamp by her side of the bed cast a soft light, perfect for reading. She tucked herself in and reached for her book, with all the best intentions to read, but her mind traveled to when she was Jordan’s age.
It had been a few days before Christmas and the Santa Ana winds had kept it warm. It was perfect weather for bike riding, if she had had a bike. A purple bike, with plastic streamers cascading from the pure white handles and a little wicker basket in front to put her lunch pail: that was all she wanted and prayed for. One night, in her dreams she had felt what it was like to have her dream bike. She rode down the sidewalk of her palm tree lined street, the eyes of all the envious boys and girls staring at her from behind lace curtain covered windows. It made her pedal with a sense of pride. When she woke up early the next morning she got up looking for her mom.
“Mami! Soné que tiene una bicycleta! Sera verda?” Her mami was in the kitchen, making breakfast when she had told her that she’d dreamed of getting the bike. Could it be true? she’d asked.
“Mi hija.” Her mami had curly hair that went halfway down her back. That morning she was wearing it in a ponytail. Her shorts were plum purple, the same as the bike in her dream. “Tu sabes que no se habla de suenos antes de desayunar.” She frowned, and her smooth skin was no longer perfect.
Her mami, which is Jordan’s Mamita, just raised her hands up in the air, scrunching up her thin shoulders. The gold bangles on her wrists made musical sounds as they clinked together.
“Porque asi me dijo mi mami, como su mami le dijo a ella.” Because that’s what her grandmother had told her mother and her grandmother’s mother had told her before that, she’d replied
Jordan’s mom held her closed book in her lap. She pushed back the covers and brought her right knee to her chest. Lifting up her pajama pants to reveal the faint, faint scar on her knee.
She had received the bike she had wanted so badly for Christmas. How her mother and father had managed to afford it, God knows. But at least she got it. She took it for a spin as soon as she had the chance and remembered the pride she’d felt in her dream, just the same as she felt on that first ride. There was a hill at the end of her street which she envisioned herself flying down, her long black hair trailing behind. Her legs weren’t used to going up big hills, so she’d had to walk it up. At the top, she sat down on the bike’s never used seat and took a deep breath. So, this is what it feels like to be at the top of the world, she thought. She kicked herself off and soon was speeding down the hill. But she couldn’t control the bike, it was going too fast. Panic coursed through her veins. She crashed into a neighbor’s garbage tins and flew off the bike, landing hard on the concrete sidewalk. The skin of her knee was scraped clean off and her arm had been broken. The neighbor had to carry her home and her mother took her to the emergency room. While the doctor stitched the gash on her knee, she thought of her dream turned nightmare.
No debes de hablar de tus suenos antes de comer el desayuno.
Jordan’s mom put the book back on her nightstand and turned off the light. She hoped Jordan wouldn’t make the same mistake.