My father takes me down to the arroyo when I am so small that I do not yet reach his waist. My feet fumble across flaking desert skin and he pulls me along gently by my hand and tells me to be careful of small cacti and the bones of dead jack rabbits. He does not let me straddle the rift where the earth divides into repelling mounds of sand. Instead, he slips his hands beneath my arms and swings me around in a half circle, his red face wrinkling into a smile.
That morning, my father had crept into my room with the sun and shaken me into consciousness. “Get your sneakers,” he had whispered. “We’re going on a treasure hunt.”
It is minutes later now and we are trudging down an overgrown trail, tactfully descending the deep slopes of New Mexican land. Everything smells strongly of mud and salt and soaked manure from the horse barn down the road. I almost trip over a weed, but my father steadies me and says, “Almost there, baby.”
The arroyo is different than I have ever seen it. It is scattered with long, silver puddles. In the pink glow of the rising sun, the sand looks shiny and slippery. Around us, green tufts of vegetation burst from the earth in unpredictable patterns and yellow wildflowers with thin stems knock softly against each other in the wind.
My father tells me to wait and he steps down into the wet sand. I watch as his sandals sink deep into the ground and leave long footsteps. He crouches suddenly, and digs into the earth with a discarded stick. Then he stands, approaches me, and places in my hand something slimy and smooth.
“A pottery shard,” he says, in explanation. “From the Native Americans, who lived right here a thousand years ago. The rain washes them up. If we’re lucky, we’ll find all the pieces of an entire pot.”
I look down at the strange triangular stone and wipe the sand from its surface. He lifts me up in his arms, carries me back toward the house.
My father gives me a book about Georgia O’Keeffe for my fifth birthday. We read it together and he bounces me on his knee and licks his fingertips before turning the pages. He points at a landscape that looks like a rumpled tablecloth and tells me, “This is why we’re here.” I steal a flashlight and flip through the book under my covers at night. I touch the same glossy picture and whisper, “This is why we’re here.”
When I am 6 years old, the Sunday school teacher asks me what my father does for a living. I tell her he is an artist like Georgia O’Keeffe. I do not know that I am lying. I do not know that he hasn’t sold a piece in months. I do not know that my mother sits at the kitchen table after I go to sleep and cries because the mortgage is past due and she can’t figure out a way to tell me that this year, Santa Claus just might not make it.
For Christmas, my father gives me a sparkling blue stone he found in the arroyo. I say thank you and pretend I mean it. Later, I stand on the edge of our brick patio and wind up my arm and throw the rock as far as it will go. It disappears inside the bristles of a pine tree.
I do not say goodbye to the arroyo before shutting the car door and stretching the seatbelt across my chest. I do not say goodbye because I think that I won’t miss it. We are leaving New Mexico. We are going to New York where my father will get a real job and we will become a real family. We drive alongside a cliff, the rock rough and jagged and sprinkled with a thousand tiny diamonds. I press my finger against the glass. This is why we’re here.
When I am 16 years old, my father takes me back to New Mexico and we go once more to the arroyo. The neglected trail is long gone now and we stumble in our tennis shoes over dried up cacti and colorless desert flowers. I am too old now to hold my father’s hand. He walks a few steps ahead of me and I do not see his face.
The arroyo is bone-dry, littered with dented soda cans, beaten strips of tire and mud-stained garbage bags. Many monsoon seasons have left the sides of the arroyo tall and smooth, except for the dried roots of long-dead plants, still lodged in the dirt, which reach out toward us like skeleton hands.
My father crouches over and his shirt draws taut across his back. He delicately parts the earth with his fingers and searches for something that he will never find again.
“No more pottery,” he says. He looks at me and squints his eyes against the sun. “It must have washed far away by now.”
Suddenly comes to me the vague image of my father in ripped jeans, pressing a pottery shard into my palm.
I wonder if he, too, has washed far away.
New York City Essay
1741 Words7 Pages
New York City
Every time I hear this song it makes me long to leave all of my responsibilities and head off to the city of dreams. A trip to New York has been a dream of mine since I was a little girl. I have always wanted to visit the place of tall buildings, history, and where culture is intertwined with its people. I have wanted to live the fast pace life of a New Yorker, where I could stand outside and see, smell, and taste all of the experiences that this city has to offer. I have been building and building this ideal image in my mind for so long. If I ever get to New York, will I be disappointed by the city that never sleeps? The city that is a part of almost every movie I watch. Can New York live up to the expectations I have…show more content…
My husband thought this to be a bit corny, but not me. How exciting it was to hail my first ever cab to the city. The taxi ride itself was long, but I was to busy to care, because I was taking in all of the sites like a vacuum. The true moment of the taxi ride came to be once we entered the city of Manhattan. The taxi driver was true to form by honking, speeding when allowed, and not caring if we cut off anyone during our drive. The traffic from the airport to the city was a big jumbled mess. I have never experienced traffic this bad before. I was so excited once our taxi man paid the toll to get into Manhattan. Paying that toll was like gaining access to a secret society. The city, it people and the buildings welcomed us with open arms.
The sounds of the city penetrated the walls of the cab as we drove through the streets of Manhattan. I could hardly wait to partake in the action that was happening outside. The buildings themselves were an amazing site to behold. The buildings took on personalities of their own. Each building was bigger and more graceful than the next. When lights were added to the mix it was a dazzling combination. The city itself felt like a great big hug, and I felt overwhelmed by its power. The city allowed me to become part of it just like many others many years ago who immigrated to this awesome city. As I was looking out of the cab I finally got to see in person the sight of all sights; Times Square. The main juncture of