Hispanic Heritage Piece written by Naomi Franco
“Wait, Lulu! Don’t go that fast, slow dow–” Skin hits the pavement, and soon the sounds of the bike bell mix with the cries of small Lulu.
Luna Sanchez and her sister, Marina, were fortunate to have awoken to the sight of a clear and sunny morning. The night before they were able to convince their parents to let them go bike riding in the nearby park. Luna Sanchez has become adamant about learning how to ride a bike before her 10th birthday, which was approaching in just 3 short months. She refuses to be the only ten-year-old who doesn’t know how to ride a bike. Can you imagine how embarrassing that would be? As a result, her sister Marina had become her professional bike instructor for the past few weeks. So far they’ve been able to successfully get Lulu to ride down the driveway. For a girl who was scared of taking off the kickstand for a week due to her fear of falling, they considered this a huge success. Throughout today’s lesson, Lulu was able to turn the bike with no panic and had been able to keep up with her sister. It was as though Lulu had awoken a hidden talent. No more was she the little girl scared of taking off her training wheels. She was now a confident cyclist speeding down the road on her way to victory. It wasn’t until after this that Luna learned the danger of overconfidence.
Towards the end of the playground, there is an area overtaken by benches and tables. These are usually occupied by the families that are constantly surrounding the area during the summer. Groups assemble to play dominoes at the tables, grills are stationed nearby to start up the fire for an Asado, and the chairs become overtaken by tías running to learn the newest chisme. Due to the constant use of the area, the pavement has started coming up. Bits and pieces of the blacktop will come up once in a while, creating small indentations in the road. To a normal parkgoer, these small cracks pose no problem-the same can not be said of the newest cyclist superstar.
Clouds have started forming overhead as superstar cyclist Luna Sanchez is heard screaming in victory as she approaches the end of the playground. As a last exercise, Lulu and Marina agreed to race to the edge of the playground. While Marina knew she could easily outrace her younger sister, she didn’t see any harm in slowing down and enjoying the scenery of the park. Would she ultimately lose the race? Yes. Would she be declared the best older sister in the whole world for coaching the newest Tour De France winner? Also yes. As Lulu approached her finish line she took a second to turn around and witness by how much she had passed her sister. “Vamos Mary! Abuelita puede caminar mas rapida que tu” Lulu giggled out as she turned to look at her sister.
“Wait, Lulu! Don’t go that fast, slow down–”
Before Marina had even finished her sentence Lulu Sanchez could be seen flying through the air as one of her wheels hit a hole in the pavement. Only a small cry for help could be heard before the inevitable thud of Lulu Sanchez indicated her return to the ground. Blood and pebbles littered the legs of Luna and Marina could do nothing but bike faster. Once she reached Lulu she was quick to reach out and try to comfort her. “Shh.. shhh Lulu it’s okay, I promise you’re gonna be okay.”
“Mary my leg, my leg, I can’t feel my leg”, Luna cried out.
“Lulu you have a small cut.”
“I’m never going to walk again!”
At this moment Marina remembered who exactly she was trying to comfort. One thing to know about Luna Sanchez is that she tends to over-exaggerate. Luna sees the world as her stage, so when something happens she needs everyone to know. When she retells her stories the descriptions tend to become exaggerated. One time she had successfully gotten their dog to sit and she proclaimed to be able to read the minds of animals. Marina knew there was no point in arguing with her sister right now. The rain had started to fall and she knew that the best decision would be to carry Lulu and hurry back home because a hurt Lulu is one thing but a Lulu with ruined hair is much more frightening.
When they arrived home they could see their mother in the doorway waiting patiently for their return. As soon as Luna saw her mother she was quick to jump off of Marina’s back and ran to the safety of her mother’s arms. “Mami! Mami! Mi Pierna!” she cried out as her mother embraced her. Their mother held Lula in confusion and she looked to her eldest for an explanation. After putting the bikes down, Marina ran inside to the safety of her warm hacienda. After getting scolded by her mother about being outside in the rain and how she must take a hot shower soon in order to avoid getting sick, she explained what had happened at the park.
Their mother was quick to scold Luna for going too fast and not looking at where she was going. But after, she sat Luna on top of the bathroom counter as she looked through her medicine cabinet for something to clean her cut. After a bandage had been placed, their mother rubbed the top of her knee and said “Zana, Zana colita de rana. Si no sana hoy sanará mañana” then kissed the top of Luna’s head. “There it’s all better. Now you be careful next time, okay?” Luna shook her head and ran to the living room ready to regale her dog about the wild adventure she had. As the rain began to lighten outside, Mrs. Sanchez could be heard shouting about the importance of wearing socks inside in order to prevent catching a cold. The Sanchez home was soon littered with socks and VapoRub, while the pain caused by pebbles became forgotten.