Helping Mom


Mariela Vargas, Co-editor

The sound of the aggravating alarm traveled into my ear, causing pounding into my head.

What time is it? – oh, my back.

3:05 a.m.

The brightness of the screen lit my face into a wide awake stage, quickly but carefully I got up. It was time to help my mother with our catering business.

* * *

The boisterous sound of the blade cutting through the thick layers of the loud onion kept me up. The stench of the meat, being marinated by my mom with a thick red sauce, filled the house. I couldn’t keep myself up, my legs and back were weak, drained. Blink after blink my neck fell forward. No, I can’t fall asleep. At least not now.

My hands ache, but not as much as my back does.

“What time is it?” I asked desperately, in hopes to have this complete by one.

“12:35 a.m.” said my mom, who has been doing this a child. At least she could stand it.

I let out a dramatic sigh, “Okay.”

One by one, the stench of the onion got stronger as I cut them, I could barely keep my eyes open.

Minutes passed, they felt like hours.

Finally, they were cut. Task after task we continues until we were drained.

The clock’s small handle was placed at the one.

I followed my mother upstairs as we both looked forward to one thing, laying down after working for three hours straight.

* * *

I washed my face with cold water to wake me up more than I already was, I continued to brushmy teeth, the usual.

I placed my hair into a bun, I watched the clock tick by until it was time for me to be downstairs.

0 am
“Good Morning,” I said in a joyful tone, hoping to bring some amusement into this lifeless morning.

“Good morning, are you gon’ eat? You won’t be able to eat until later, so if you are, do so now,” my mom said, strictly.

I fixed myself a bowl of cereal and sat down as she went on with today’s agenda.

“We can start with the carne al pastor, we have 35 orders to do, they need to be done by 10 so we can arrive at your dad’s job at 11. After we get home, we start on the other set of carne al pastor and fajita,” she spoke in a more relaxed tone.

“Those two have to be semi-cooked so when we arrive at the party, we can serve them warm. We need to be at the party around 3:40 p.m. so we can be done setting up at 4:30 then start feeding the guests at 5 p.m.”

I stared at her with a blank expression in kind of a shock.

“What? It’s not like you haven’t done it before,” she smiled at me.

I smiled back, “I know.”

I took the last few bites of my cereal, washed my plate and carefully washed my hands.

I walked towards the garage, I slipped on my thick white rubber gloves and placed my headphones into my ear so I wouldn’t hear the sizzling sounds of the meat being cooked.

I wobble my head to the beat as I place each slice into the steaming griddle.

The minutes ticked by and all I felt was I getting too hot in my hoodie and my patience getting thinner.

As I finished, I let out a sigh of relief. Walking inside felt like a pleasure.

“Hey ma, are the tortillas ready?” I said as I put the meat down.

“Yes, hurry it up.”

I raced as I realized we had half an hour to get the 35 orders assembled. I felt my heart race as my mom reminded me, we had minutes left before we left.

As we finished the last few, we raced into the car and all I was worried about was making sure that not the slightest drop of salsa dropped. As we got to our destination, we made sure everyone was fully satisfied.

We began working on the last few things we had to do within the next few hours. Hours passed but they felt like an eternity.

Arriving to the party I felt sick. I hadn’t eaten anything since that morning and I passed the hungry stage and went straight to the disgust of food stage.

“Hurry up, we’re late,” my mom spoke loudly as I had been zoning out.

As we finished setting up, we realized there were people already waiting on us.

“Ok,” I said impatiently.
For the next three hours my ears were stuffed with “hurry up” or “the table to your left” and even “not her, the lady in red.”

On the way home I felt tears, I just wanted to go home and sleep. Walking into my room felt good, I laid down for the first time in almost 22 hours. I sighed and went to sleep, knowing I had to do the same next week.