My father thought I’d be pregnant by the time I reached my fifteenth birthday. I know this because my mother repeated the last words he told her before they separated over and over during my adolescence. It was easy for him to say that. After all, he moved back to the Dominican Republic and left my two sisters and I to be raised by a single mother who barely spoke English and worked minimum wage jobs to make ends meet. He thought we’d end up raising ourselves, end up in some older boys bed, drug addicted, with an infant as our prize. My mother, however, would not let that happen, reminding us of this every time she thought we were straying off the path.
Once, my high school sent home a postcard stating that I had not been attending my math class. “Have you been cutting school, Larissa?” she asked me while shaking the postcard at me. “ No! I think that was a mistake. They do that all the time.” I told her. She looked into my eyes, accepted my answer and walked away. The next day, during math class, my teacher received a note asking me to go to the main office. I walked into the main office and found my mother staring at me with the postcard she had been shaking at me the day before. “Muy bien,” she smiled “just making sure you are where you’re supposed to be.”
That was my mother.