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Wild Dogs. Chapter 4: The Walk of Wonder

A Serial Novel of Hope and Resilience Told from a Young Girl’s Perspective


Author Delia Noble is back with the fourth installment of Wild Dogs, a story centered on a child finding moments of beauty, joy, and love in a difficult world. To read previous installments, please log on to https://www.heartofhollywoodmagazine.com/blog/categories/wild-dogs-novel


A Novel by Delia Noble | Edited by R. A. Stermer


Today is a special day, I can hear the fireworks close and far away. The night did not go like I was thinking it would. I guess I really was feeling to be around people but if that were the case I would probably not be writing right now. I have not been writing for a while, so I think perhaps I needed to be on this page.



I close my eyes and softly say “Delia, go back”. The first thing I see is myself, at around ten years old, carrying a newborn baby in my arms and going down a set of seemingly endless precarious wooden stairs leading to another house in a barranco (ravine) where my mom is with my aunt making food. I call out to my mom and she reprimands me in shock, because I took the baby and went down these stairs without her permission. She tells me about the possible danger and not to do it again. I listen to her but in my head I’m thinking that I was hungry and tired of taking care of the baby in the room by myself. I stay quiet because I know that no explanation will do.


I don’t want to get too serious about this incident, but I will say that the relationship between my mom and my aunt was not so good. We were staying in a very small room; four kids, a newborn, and my mom. I do remember seeing my father enter that room, going to see the baby and holding it in his arms. I was very happy to see him, but once again he disappeared into the mist.


I was not sure if us coming to the North had been a good idea. None of us were going to school, there was no food at home, and my mom was upset most of the day.


One day I was playing outside and I saw a spider crawling in the wall covered in dirt. After a while I became tired of putting these spiders in my hands and playing with them, so I decided to wander around. I was not sure where I was going, I just wanted to walk, so I did. After a while I realized that I had walked farther than I had intended. By that time I had reached a park that was at least twenty minutes away from where we were living. The park was full of people carrying bags, coming and going. I remembered being at the same park, years earlier, happily playing with my father. I did not know those days would never come again.


As I continued walking I saw the main street and a market covered with tents. I could tell that was where the people were coming from. I crossed the busy street with cars going to and fro. (I felt like I was doing something exciting and adventurous). I did not have any money to buy anything and I did not know how I had ended up there.

I was watching the men and women picking up their tents, carrying things to be put in cars, and cars moving around with various items in them, when something caught my eye. I saw a girl with worn out clothes, maybe a few years older than me. She was handing empty plastic grocery bags to three other younger kids. I walked toward her and she looked at me and asked “Are you new?” I am not sure what she was referring to, but I took a bag from her hand and then she walked toward the tents of food and waited along with the other kids, and then she said “Go!”. The kids started running and grabbing everything that was left on the floor. There was smashed fruit, as well as clothing and aluminum cans. Anything that was on the ground was a “Go!”. For a moment, I was in shock, but then my body reacted and I began running quickly and doing what all the other kids were doing. I was completely exhilarated!


I was ecstatic! I had a bag full of canned food, lots of lemons, tomatoes, and fruits. I believe that I even got some candies and gummies! I thought to myself that this was a good day as I started to walk back home.


I didn’t know how much time had passed but when I returned home my mother was beside herself. The door was open and she was on the bed at the other side of the room. She put the baby down and came dashing towards me screaming “Delia, where on God’s earth have you been?” I was paralyzed and the only thing I thought to do was to open the bag and show her what I had brought. She held me, cried, and told me that I should never do that again. But, a week later she decided that we should all go together and we did.


 

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I learned how to be fast and furious. My curiosity had been awakened. Often, while digging in trash cans, I would find unique things. I was especially attracted to beautiful things. Anything with carvings or other decorations caught my eye. One day I found a small, broken musical carousel that I kept as my most prized possession. That market served as our oasis for quite some time. We picked up clothes and food. From time to time, a vendor would run us off or tell us not to take anything until they had finished packing up. I thought this was reasonable, but there were a lot of kids who would not listen and the vendors became angry and called us names. I could go on and on about this circus but suffice it to say that’s what it was.


My brothers and I would obey and wait. Mom was not always able to come with us because she was continually trying to find a job, without any luck.


I love people. And when I think about people, I think about Ana, the girl at the market who handed me a bag and looked into my soul. I think about her and her brothers and I wonder where they are now. They became my friends and we foraged for food together in that marketplace. At times we were rivals, fighting each other for a box of cereal, especially if it was a box of Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes.


Not every week at the market was good. Sometimes, if you were not quick enough another kid would grab your goodies. I became something of a wild child and I made sure that my bag always had something in it, whether it was potatoes, dry pasta, beans, or smashed fruits. I was determined to take something home.


I wish I could go back in time and stop the motion of my hands and let go of the box of cereal for the other kids. I see the cardboard box being torn apart, the bag of cereal being ripped open and the frosted flakes flying in the air. This was a battle and the marketplace was our battlefield.


Blurry memories intertwine and time passes…


I see my mom moving, cooking, tears falling from her eyes and I see her efforts of trying to find a job by knocking on people’s doors and being turned away. One image overlaps another image, in my head, and then I see her sitting in a chair making flower arrangements and dressing us in school uniforms.


I’m going back to school! I have a big smile on my face but there is sweat on my head and neck. It must be summer, because the sweat is all over me from walking on concrete streets, dirt side roads, and even over the hills in order to go to school. But it doesn't matter because I have a new friend named Rosa and I like to play with her.


Rosa has beautiful long black hair that’s tied with a big blue ribbon bow. She looks like Snow White and her clothes are clean. She brings some of her toys and she does not have to walk to the school because her dad or mom drop her off and she is a very nice person and shares her lunch with me and I’m very happy to have a friend like Rosa.


But Rosa will fade away.



Back at the marketplace, my friend Ana asked me what it was like going to school. I learned then that Ana and her brothers did not go to school and they did not have parents and there were no plans for them to attend school in the future. I felt sad for Ana because in some respects she was my hero and the leader commanding other kids to help themselves. Ana had a mysterious strength. Sometimes she would be very rough and would pull your hair, and other times she would sit next to you and ask you how you were doing. Ana was happy that I was able to attend school sometimes. She gave me notebooks, crayons, and pencils she found and would tell me to “do good” so that someday I could become a teacher or something else. I would nod my head to say yes, but at that time I didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to become. I just wanted to run around and play with other kids.


Ana will always live in me and I will always think of her.


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