A Story for Him by Nohemi Samudio Gamis
Elena forgot her gloves in the morning. In the afternoon, she came home with warm hands and a busted lip. The warm hands came first, then the busted lip, then the warm hands again. She said it was important I knew the order of how things went down. I asked her questions and she answered some, but said she wouldn’t tell the whole story until her dad came home. “Elena, quien te hico eso?” I asked, and she told me a boy from her class had done it after school. She walked away after that; went into the kitchen to wet a paper towel and started cleaning off the blood on her lip and chin that had dried up on the walk home from school. We wait, the two of us sat on opposite ends of the kitchen table, for Luis to come home. When he does, Elena walks calmly to him. “I was holding hands with Abir and Malak because it was cold. Jacob wanted to punch them, so I let him punch me. Then Malak cleaned my lip with her hijab and we held hands again.” She says firmly, tilting her head up to look at Luis and he looks down at her. I look at the two of them, one after the other. Elena is on the verge of tears and Luis has a look of confusion on his face. “Y esas quienes son?” he asks her. Elena simply shakes her head and walks away from him, walks into her room without looking back at him, door shut behind her. Luis turns to look at me and just shakes his head, mumbling something about Elena acting out recently. He goes to the kitchen counter and starts flipping through the envelops of bills, he doesn’t ask me anything else about Elena. He doesn’t go after Elena; all he did was ask her who those two girls were. If Elena had answered, he would have remembered Abir and Malak were the daughters of one of his coworkers; the one he had punched in the face for whispering in Arabic to another worker while looking at him. The man he avoided seeing every morning across the fence when he opened the front door to go to work. Elena would have reminded him that they were our neighbors, that they had always been our neighbors, that they had been here as long as we have. Luis forgot and I didn’t speak up to remind him.
Nohemi Samudio Gamis is currently an English major in her junior year at Fresno State. She is a twenty-one-year-old proud Mexican woman with a love for all things Marvel, science fiction, calligraphy, and classical music. In recent years, Nohemi has ventured into creative writing and hopes to continuously write throughout the remainder of her time at Fresno State and in the years after.
Artwork by Nou Lee. Nou Lee is a former aspiring crazy old cat lady-to-be who has given up on her dreams of feline grandeur. The attempts of her two feline children at art and literature have yet to bear anything of note or worth. If missing or dead, it is safe to assume she was done in by aforementioned children.