The Salamanca Blues


I had not traveled before my eighth grade Spain trip. My mother and grandparents have traveled so much in their lives, and the idea of joining the clan was utterly romantic. It feels like a bad sitcom episode, but if middle school werenít hard enough, my mother signed up to be a chaperone. I have nothing against my mother, but something about my lack of independence frightened me. Fast forward to Salamanca, and my mother is clutching on to my friend and me. Smile, darling! Youíre in Spain! Thanks, Mom. Iíve gathered. Something about thirteen makes children so snarky.
My mother had enough of my thirteen-dom and started chatting with my teacher. My friend and I decided this would be a fantastic time to leave the group. Under normal circumstances this would be extremely ill advised, however for the purpose of freeing myself from the overbearing clutches of my mother, it was brilliant.
We had passed a kiosk before, that was selling t-shirts,and being a first time traveler and tourist, I wanted one. My friend and I walked up to the man who then greeted us in Spanish. I, being half Cuban and taking both in school and private Spanish lessons, could ask for my shirt myself. My friend, not so much. She wanted a sky blue hoodie. She asked me how to ask for a hoodie. I was at a loss. I had never used that word in Spanish, and translating is not my strong suit. I found one hanging up and asked for one. The man pulled out a pile and asked us which color hoodie. The pile was rather large, with a rainbow of colors: pink, red, spring green, forrest green, sky blue, dark blue, and this poor man could not carry all of it. As his pile started teetering and tottering, my friend spat out, azul!
It was the scream that started the avalanche. The entire mountain of hoodies started to fall as my friend and I looked on in horror. He picked up a dark blue hoodie from the ground and threw it over to my friend as I paid, sheepishly. I looked over at my friend, hoodie in hand, disapproving look on her face. Whatís wrong? It was the wrong shade blue. It says Salamanca. Thatís all that matters. We put on our purchases and agreed to stand tall when we returned. The group didnít even notice we were gone.
My mother noticed our new outfits. I was grounded until I was eighteen.

N Goewey

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