On ancient grudges

“Two households
both alike in dignity…” William Shakespeare

One house shelters a small family. The sticky palm prints of a child. Eagle feathers. Drumbeats. The other house shelters a smaller family. The pesky bites of fleas. Dog fur. Drumbeats. Two different lifestyles. Two different realities. But as with all life, worlds collide.

Fifteen is a milestone for most Latinas. It means a huge party, an ornate white or pink dress, more freedom. Fifteen for me was painful. My father had struggled with employment issues since I was twelve. My mother battled severe pain and heightened anxiety. I self-mutilated and wrote poems about suicide.

That year felt like a lifetime. In it, I experienced love, hope, envy, anger, obsession, deception, betrayal. Not only was I ridiculed for my morbid tendencies, but I became notorious for my inability to speak the truth. I lost many friends and I gained one enemy.

An enemy. It’s an ugly concept. Someone’s hatred creeping like ivy over your life. Anger like venom entering your bloodstream. The resentment fossilizes in your heart and you bear this person nothing but ill. An enemy is what you become to yourself when you hate another.

So now I have received the forgiveness of my old “enemy.” We can be lighthearted about it now, the amusing dramatics of adolescence. It is strange to me, how easy it was to repent, how easy it was to be received back with open arms. Perhaps our two households will open up to one another. Perhaps I can heal now.

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