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I took this shot and thought “what great pals they must be” Nothing about their clothes, or the way they stood, or what they appear to have been saying, or where they were going, gave me the impression that they were best buds. I just thought it would be nice to assume they were, for the sake of it being a nice thought. I have incredible friends, whom I’m eternally grateful for, and I think everyone should have that. I bet these two are as thick as thieves in their own way, so I wrote them some haikus.


A peckish feeling

Low rumble in my stomach

Seeking an answer

One can be lonely

Reach out for good company

Eat ramen and talk

Remember that time?

Ridiculous pair are we

Expect nothing less

Laughter flows throughout

Warm broth greets hunger kindly

No concept of time

Perfect adventure

Look forward to many more

I’ll let you know when

Great Divide

A look inward; deep down into the compressed maze of muscle, tissue, organs. I look at my heart and tug a string. A low note. Barely audible, but I can feel it, vibrating gently. I try to gauge what melody it belongs to and hope that it’s a happy one. I pluck again, and on the second listen I hear it. A melancholic song about confusion, shame, fear, longing. It’s a familiar song, but I don’t enjoy listening to it, although I know I should hear it more often. So I listen this time, making sure I pay attention. I owe it to myself to know.

The song ends and I think on it. My name. Yes, it began with my name. First, then last, repeating continuously: brandon mata brandon mata brandon mata brandon mata.

I thought harder and it sounded more: English Spanish English Spanish English Spanish.

Then: American Mexican American Mexican American Mexican.

I couldn’t make it out fully though. Trouble is, I don’t speak Spanish fluently.

“What are you?”

Mexican-American. Practically first generation. (Then I show the math) Mom’s full Mexican, Dad’s half, making me roughly three quarter this one quarter that. The fractions don’t mean much though. I can’t even roll my ‘R’s.

Speak Spanish to me. I hear the words and immediately I cannot interpret. Quickly, I replay the words in my head and suddenly it makes sense. It’s almost deja-vu. From the outside perspective I look lost for a moment and then reply “Oh, Im doing good, thanks” Most of the time I reply back in spanglish, some of the time just english. More often than not Spanish comes rushing out from someone and I only hope Mom is there to translate. “¿Porque no te hables?” Well, you see, I’ve been told I used to, but it never sounded that great, and I caught on to that. As a kid I decided “I’m no good at it, so I should stop trying” I didn’t want to be made fun of. Now that child’s fear has turned into this man’s stubbornness.

It’s too late now, I tell people. I lost it. In honest, it’s still because I am afraid. I am “75%” Mexican. I don’t want to be rejected by 75% of myself. So at family gatherings I continue to listen to the roundtable discussions of gossip and dilemmas, but I only listen and try to think of the words to say. Everywhere else, I make it a habit to find any connection to Hispanic culture. “Oh no, you don’t want to buy carne asada from Vons!” “Oh yeah, right, my last name means ‘kill’ in Spanish” “My favorite Mexican artist? Selena, duh” “Hey, illegal immigration is a complex dilemma, and I don’t appreciate you making it sound so one sided”

I want to know my heritage, to embrace my culture. I know it’s on me to make a genuine effort. I owe to myself to know. I’ll continue to play the song that I’ve ignored before. Maybe, the song is in Spanish, maybe it always has been. I aim to sing it one day, hopefully soon.

An excerpt from one of the many short stories in my mind

“Dez got on the main road and as effortlessly as he could drive, he began to lose himself in thought. A haze crept over his brain as he drifted from thought to thought, ‘If I wanted I could be a fireman right?’ remembering that time a friend had described the rigorous physical tests firemen endure. Sure, he probably had to tone up some more but he could pass those tests if he really tried. Dez had gone his whole life as a king of hypotheticals, a master of ‘what ifs’ because he always came to the reasonable conclusion that he could, if he really tried. Would he be a fireman though? He thought more seriously now. Firemen have a real chance of dying on the job. Run into the flames and never come back. Dez realized the amount of courage he would need to really be a fireman and he wasn’t interested in a deep analysis of himself to conclude he could be that courageous if he really tried.

The thought was put to the back burner and he came to a stop light. One lane over, Dez locked eyes briefly with the man at the wheel and became transfixed. The man broke eye contact and stared at the red light ahead, while Dez continued to study the man. ‘He almost looks like me’, he pondered. ‘I wonder where he’s headed; where he’s coming from’ Dez became suddenly aware of everyone and attempted to fathom every possible story they all had. Where they’re from, where they’re going. The light turned green and Dez shook off the brief existentialism. As a speeding SUV barreled into Dez’s tiny corolla, Dez stopped thinking about anything at all.”

So it begins

They say “write what you know”, and for someone like myself, I wonder what the hell that might be. So for now I come to one definite conclusion: I am average. I know average things; I’m the common layperson. Now what does that mean for the future content here? Not too entirely sure, to be honest, but I like to talk about a variety of things: inner monologues, daydreams, television, film, hypotheticals, short stories, confessionals. I mean, it’s your typical blog, but I look to find a uniqueness in me. Maybe.