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House of Mango Street Vignettes

The Bus by Stephanie W. (Class of ‘06)
I would wait out by the busy road in the cold misty mornings.  Waiting.  Waiting. Talking to myself or singing a song in my head would make time run a bit faster. Cars drove by.  All kinds of cars.  I looked at the license plates, among the sea of boring a funny one would crop up sometimes making me laugh out loud, the drivers staring.  A man with tattoos made a rude gesture with his middle finger once, maybe that was his way of saying good morning.  Then out of the blurry air came the great yellow bus trundling triumphantly forward.

The dreaded bus ride home was always an interesting experience.  My house in sight, coming closer, closer, we should probably be slowing down now, now would be a good time, your going to miss it, its there right there, back there, please stop you passed my house, yes I can walk from here, really I’ll be alright, just stop, please.  Then I’ll take you home when I’ve dropped everyone else off and circled back (the many chins jiggle).  Thanks, that’s just what I wanted.  

I have never liked bus drivers very much.  They always forget me.

Swings and Skies by Theresa G. (Class of ‘06)
There was a park only two blocks away from my house. I go there many times during the days I get off from school. I like to sit on the swings. At first I sit on the swings and listen to the birds chirp and the wind blow. But, after awhile, I don't want my feet to touch the ground. I want to go to where the birds are.
       I stretch my legs out, then I bend my legs back. Over and over again in that constant motion. I will keep on going. In time, my feet slowly escape the ground I once walked  on. I stretch my legs out and I lean back. The gentle mid-afternoon wind blows against my hair, as I tilt my head back to look up at the sky.   The sky is clear and blue. It is so gigantic that nothing would get in its' way. I want to be up in that sky. That big sky that is away from harm. I stretch my legs out, and I bend them back in. I want to see how high I could go on that swing. I want to see if maybe I could fly and fly up in to that sky. I could soar over all the little things. The people I see every day. And the places' I go every week. Everything will look like ants to me once I am in the sky.
       I am so high I hold on to the handlebars. I don't want to fall. I look down. Bark dust. I could get hurt. I could break a bone. I could get blood all over. I am not going to fall down. I'd rather swing. I'll swing so high I'll be so close to the sky.

I'll be where the birds are.

Abandoned by Michelle A. (Class of ‘06)
I was small when it happened. I just remember waking up one day and
taking her to the airport. She packed all her bags, everything she owned was
gone. We said goodbye to her at the gate, we left before she was even on the
plane. My dad promised that we would see her again but that didn’t seem like
it would happen. We moved into a new, smaller house, where there was no trace of her.
The house was sterile and cold, the smell of her no longer there. I may have
been young but I new exactly what was going on. My mom had left us, moved back to Germany.

Then Kelly came.

She was tall with blond hair and a great smile. She was nice and tried so hard to get my brother and me to like her. But she was not my mom. She did not smell like her, feel like her, hug like her. My dad frequently left to be with her. He was gone so often that my aunt came to live with us. She took care of us but she was not my mom either. My dad was with Kelly, my mom was in Germany and my aunt was with us. That was that, and I soon came to realize that I could not change it.

Shoes
I have trouble looking people in the eye.

It’s scary to look directly at a person. Big judging eyes. They say nothing but always say something. I got use to looking at people shoes, everywhere. That’s how I saw everyone. The different styles. Loafers, trainers, slip-ons, pumps. The different brands. Converse, Steve Madden, Sketchers, Nike.

Mama likes pointy heels with pointy points. She likes the ones that hurt. She always complains about how she has to stand on her feet all day and I should rub her feet then I tell her to wear sneakers at work. My sister Briana likes the same I like. She also likes very ugly shoes too. My Dad just wears sneakers and he thinks he likes his country western boots but he really doesn’t.

At school it’s the scariest so I know everybody’s shoes. You don’t even have to look in their face to know where they fit. Kids are like that. Most of them anyway. I feel bad sometimes for judging them but I’m usually right.

I don’t like being right.

Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Natalie Pruett (Class of ‘06)
It was the weekend. It was Dad’s weekend. We pack our bags and head to a strange, boring place called Fishers Landing housing development. The American Dream, my personal hell. I'm hungry. Dad takes me to Burgerville. We pull up to the drive-through menu. I choose the Tillamook cheeseburger.

“Now Natalie...”

It always seem to satisfy me in ways other fast food could never. I went to the Tillamook cheese factory once.

“I went to the doctor yesterday...”

The ice cream there was okay but the cheese samples were like little pieces of heaven on toothpicks.

“ ...just needed to remove a wart but they said...”

Chocolate, Vanilla, Strawberry. I kind of feel like chocolate but strawberry is always temping. I never get it for some reason. I never get vanilla. That’s Dad’s favorite.

“I have skin cancer.”

There is an overweight woman with fuzzy hair working at the window. 8.25 please. I wanted to tell her what my father just said but that would be weird. Dad is weird.

“It might spread, they have to cut it off.”

I quickly grab the fries and sip my chocolate milkshake. I should have gotten strawberry.

The House that Gives Sucky Treats by Joel M. (Class of ‘06)
I never became close to any of our neighbors, especially the neighbors from the house that gives sucky treats. Every Halloween, my friends and I would step up the freckled pavement to her hideously violet door, and ring the door. Every year we would anticipate just how sucky the treats would be. One year, she gave us the lid to a milk jug, and then smiled crookedly and watched us like a hungry, thieving vulture as we nervously crept down the steps.

 Nobody has ever been inside the house that gives sucky treats, but the small Asian children enjoy the theory that she houses an unlimited supply of Pokémon and she’s simply waiting for the right moment to set them free so they can dominate the town like deranged, cat-like Godzillas.

She doesn’t hold Pokémon in that house. She holds a child. She doesn’t hold a husband, doesn’t have a job, and doesn’t have a living lawn. She holds only her child, and I’m the only one that knows it. When walking to my friend’s house I can sometimes hear the small Vietnamese infant cry, and a mother scurrying throughout the house like a mouse.

We live in a fairly rich neighborhood, and her house is the only one with a dead lawn. Nobody ever enters or leaves except for the green, battered supermarket van with one bag of groceries. When she opens the door, everyone tilts his or her head to see inside. Darkness and a table is all anyone has ever seen. Her windows are always closed, her blinds always shut, and she loves her life. I wonder if my mom loved her life when I was an infant.

 

 

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