I was only three, but I remember our house in Rancho Alegre. I had a toy that would spew fabric butterflies into the air. I’d lie on the floor and watch them fall.

I remember how hungry I’d get in the morning because my sisters wouldn’t wake up until noon. Our refrigerator was always empty – except for ketchup. French-fry sandwiches were the best food in the world because they were my Dad’s favorite. He’d make them every time we went to Dairy Burger and got steak finger baskets (and that’s what the ketchup was for).

There was a dish near the door filled with spare change and stray nuts and bolts. I’d count the money and put it all back. I liked the metallic smell on my fingers, but I didn’t like the taste. Bleh.

I remember the giant cucarachas that lived in my dollhouse in the garage. Barbie never wanted to go in there and neither did I. Cucarachas lived inside our house and I didn’t like that either. My cousin Ben told me I better sleep with a pillow over my face so one wouldn’t crawl in my head. So I did.

My sisters and I would play wedding. I was always the groom. I would do pretty much whatever they said, until Mom and Dad got home.

I remember someone drove by and shot a gun once. Me and my sisters hid behind the couch. Scawy.

The walls were made of wood panels. You couldn’t run your fingers down them or else you’d get a splinter. I remember the carpet would turn into lava. We would have to jump on the furniture to get around.

I remember sitting on top of the tank of the toilet, crying, because I was afraid to flush. My cousin Gracie told me that if I pulled the lever too hard, the toilet would suck me down with my poop. Gracie would never lie to me.

I remember our 200 year old neighbor. She watched me while my sisters were at school. She made me arroz con pollo and baked me cookies all the time. She’d curando me with an egg when I got sick and I always got better.

I wasn’t allowed out of the house after dark because of the a girl in the red shoes. She’s been dead for 20 years and she needs a new best friend and my Tia Elva says I am perfect.

I remember always waiting for Mom to get home. She worked during the day and went to school at night so we could move away from Rancho Alegre. When Mom finally got home from work, she’d hug me and hold on to me forever. I remember the smell of the blush on her cheeks. It’s the same now and it’s the only thing that can make me feel better in the whole world.

I remember a lot of things about our house in Rancho Alegre, but I can’t remember if I’m remembering any of them right.

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Teresa Longoria

I have an incontrovertible sense of humor. There is beauty and magic in everything around me.

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