Tender Age

by Craig A. Mudie

I want my blanket back.

My Abuela made it for me. It is blue, which Abuela says is because my eyes are blue. Mama’s eyes are blue, too, but Abuela said I’m the first boy in our family to have them. She’s says they are a gift from the saints.

My blanket is warm and soft. Abuela says it is as soft as my hair. I have long, golden hair, just like Mama. Abuela says I’m the first boy in our family to have golden hair. She’s says it is a gift from the saints.

Abuela stitched a big letter J onto my blanket. It is for my name – Jesus. Mama picked my name. She says she chose it because I am a gift from God. I like my name, but some people here laugh at me when they hear it. They do not say it right. They call me gee-zus, and then they laugh. I do not like it when they laugh at me.

Mama and Papa have been gone a long time. I do not know how long, but I have been given food for lunch. It is not nice food, not like we eat at home. It comes in plastic pots, and smells too sweet. I miss the food that Mama makes for me. Abuela always makes us give thanks to God before we eat. They do not do that here, but I have said it quietly to myself, even though I do not like the food.

I do not know where I am. Mama and Papa woke me up during the night, and we got into the car and drove out of the town. I was still tired, and I fell asleep again. When I woke up, Mama was telling me to be a brave boy, and that she would be back soon. She was crying, and she was taken away by a big man with a gun. I do not like the man and his gun.

There are other children here, too, but I do not know who they are. Some of them are crying, like Mama was. My friends Julio and Sergio are not here. We were going to go to the park today to play baseball, but we did not go to the park. I wanted to bring my glove when Mama told me we were going out this morning, but she wouldn’t let me. I thought we might go to the park later, without going back home, so I wanted to have my glove with me. We haven’t gone to the park yet. Maybe we will go after I have dinner. I hope the food for dinner is better.

My shoes keep falling off my feet when I walk about. Mama took the laces out of them before the man with the gun took her away. I do not know why, as she always tells me to make sure they are tied up tight when we go out. We went to a big building with trampolines in it for Sergio’s birthday, and we had to take our shoes off there. Maybe I will get to play on a trampoline later?

I want my Mama and Papa. And I want my blanket back.

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