Without a doubt, I am my mother’s worst child. All of my siblings have at one point or another shattered my saint of a mother’s heart, but I am the most pain-inducing of them all. We grew up poor, the real kind of poor where we were on Medicaid and food stamps, not the kind of poor I claim to be now when I can’t get Starbucks every day. The first time I remember being ashamed of my mother, I was seven. I’m certain that I'd been ashamed of her before, because I had lied multiple times about who my parents were before then, but this is the first memory I have of it happening.
             Toys, clothing, and even school supplies were usually hand-me-downs, but during the book fair, we were allowed to select one book, and; as long as it wasn’t crazy expensive, my mom would sacrifice something that she needed for the house and buy it for us. I was perceptive, so I knew that my mom was giving up some needs to fill our wants. Around book fair time, we didn’t have any paper towels and we ate bean tacos every day for a month, but I didn’t care. I was selfish and, I got a brand-new book all for myself; that was all that mattered. 
             On the day we received our book fair catalogs, I ran straight into the living room and sat on the stained carpet. Careful to not tear the sacred pages, I whipped out my catalog. The newspaper pages held so much promise, and I couldn’t wait to find my new book. I scanned through the pages, tracking my finger across the colorful pictures to make sure I wouldn’t miss anything. I wanted to make sure that I was getting the very best book. Seemingly hours later, I finished going through the catalog. There was nothing that interested me in the under $10 price range, and I couldn’t combine my money with with one of my siblings because they hated everything that I loved. With a sigh of resignation, I walked over to where my mom sat on the lone, threadbare couch and plopped down next to her.
             “¿Qué vas a comprar este año?” she asked me, excited to see.
“Nada,” I answered, holding out the catalog for her to peruse. “Everything this year was too boring or too expensive. Can’t buy anything with no money.”
             “Hmm,” my mom said as she grabbed the catalog from me and began to thumb through it. My mom didn’t speak much English at this point, so she let herself be guided by the images. 
             “¿Y este?” she questioned, circling an Eric Carle book with a blue pen she’d picked off the sofa’s arm.
“That’s for babies,” I sighed, rolling my eyes.
             Suddenly, she got really excited. She circled something a few times and leaned over to show me. 
             “Mira! Arthur!” she exclaimed.
             “Arthur? I didn’t see an Arthur book,” I said, grabbing the catalog. I was obsessed with Arthur. An Arthur book that I had skipped? I was giddy. “Ugh. Ma,” I said, wrinkling my nose, “It’s a CD-ROM. No es un libro, es para computadoras. We don’t have a computer. How can I use a CD-ROM without a computer?”
             “Oh,” she responded. She colored in the whites of Arthur’s eyes with the blue pen, her own brown eyes filling with tears, seconds away from brimming over.
             I rolled my eyes again and walked away.
             I went to bed that night disgusted. All I could think was, “She is so stupid. How can anyone be that stupid?”
Elizabeth M. Villalta is a writer and educator based in Dallas, TX. She grew up two blocks from the library in Sanford, NC and spends her free time reading, traveling, and taking pictures. She holds an undergraduate degree in social work from North Carolina State University and a graduate degree in education from Southern Methodist University. She's previously been published in The Chachalaca Review and Huizache.

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