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Rebellion

September 29, 2002
  • Chapter 1
Chapter 1

REBELLION
Now Enrique's anger boils over. He refuses to make his Mother's Day card at school. He begins hitting other kids. He lifts the teacher's skirt.

He stands on top of the teacher's desk and bellows, "Who is Enrique?"

"You!" the class replies.

Three times, he is suspended. Twice he repeats a grade. But Enrique never abandons his promise to study. Unlike half the children from his neighborhood, he completes elementary school. There is a small ceremony. A teacher hugs him and mutters, "Thank God, Enrique's out of here."

He stands proud in a blue gown and mortarboard. But nobody from his mother's family comes to the graduation.

Now he is 14, a teenager. He spends more time on the streets of Carrizal, which is quickly becoming one of Tegucigalpa's toughest neighborhoods. His grandmother tells him to come home early. But he plays soccer until midnight. He refuses to sell spices. It is embarrassing when girls see him peddle fruit cups or when they hear someone call him "the tamale man."

He stops going to church.

"Don't hang out with bad boys," Grandmother Maria says.

"You can't pick my friends!" Enrique replies. She is not his mother, he tells her, and she has no right to tell him what to do.

He stays out all night.

His grandmother waits up for him, crying. "Why are you doing this to me?" she asks. "Don't you love me? I am going to send you away."

"Send me! No one loves me."

But she says she does love him. She only wants him to work and to be honorable, so that he can hold his head up high.

He replies that he will do what he wants.

Enrique has become her youngest child. "Please bury me," she says. "Stay with me. If you do, all this is yours." She prays that she can hold on to him until his mother sends for him. But her own children say Enrique has to go: She is 70, and he will bury her, all right, by sending her to the grave.


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