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Fierce Fiction: ole!


A small Miranda story by Aimee Swartz

Fridays were Fiesta Night at our house. Friday was my favorite day of the week because I also got to eat pizza for lunch at school; we never ordered pizza at home because my mom she didn’t trust people in uniform, except the clergy and that was more of an outfit. It was true, you never could tell about people these days, Carla agreed. On Fiesta Night, we ate what my mom called “Mexicali” – crumbled hamburger on corn chips, cheese, and maybe some side dishes, depending.  I loved Mexicali. My mom said I could invite Tammy for a sleepover but for some reason Fiesta Night seemed like a secret.

At the store that week my mom had bought paper plates and napkins with little green cactuses on them. I set the table and before I started shredding the cheese, I put on my cowboy hat. For some reason I associated cowboys with Mexicans. I had already chopped the tomatoes and onions and emptied the can of black beans into the pot when my mom walked into the kitchen. The first thing I noticed was that her eyes were pink like she had been crying. The next thing I noticed was that she was wearing the red scarf that she had made me last Christmas. We had actually made the scarf together—that was the year when we did a lot of mother-daughter things, like knit and go to church.

That was also the year my favorite color was red. My mom had found a red cowboy hat—the one I always wore to cook Mexicali—in the half-off bin. It was too big and since it was wool it itched my head even through my hair. But I wore it almost every day that year. Carla said I looked like a cartoon but could not remember which one. But since I began wearing red, I had started to feels sophisticated, even in my cowboy hat. Especially in my cowboy hat. I had a pair of red corduroys and a red-hooded sweatshirt and I liked to wear those together. I also had a red backpack. And I wrote in red pen until my teachers said only teachers could write in red pen. Then I still wrote in red pen in my notebook at home, the one where I made my sister into a different person.