Walk of Shame
Updated: May 10, 2021
By Desiree Carrizosa
[TW// SA, r*pe]
The mud beneath her feet squished between her toes. Her chanclas stuck to the mud like suction cups and popped. The salt from her tears reached her tongue, causing her to spit on the gravel. She wiped the spit from her dry lips and noticed a drop of blood on her hand. She didn’t mind it, she was trying to get out of the street.
The walk down the street to her grandma’s house was short, but she felt like she had been walking for miles. The street lights faded into the darkness of the night, even the purple light from her grandma’s door was nearly invisible. Her vision was blurred, the blinking purple light the only thing on the street she recognized. She felt blisters on her feet and the rough wind blowing her long, curly, coffee-brown hair behind her. Her brother’s words, “Are you okay, Alina?” faded into the back of her mind because all she heard was his voice.
Alina always looked older than she was. Her “grown-up” features, like her pink plump lips and her hazel brown eyes that fluttered with her long, curled eyelashes, made her an object rather than a little girl. A ten-year-old who could pass for fifthteen suffered more than anyone else her age. Looks from older men and negative comments from her judgemental Tia lingered in the back of her mind. “Chola” she would call her. “She looks like one of those ghetto cholas you find on the corner, who aren’t selling paletas” These comments floated all around her mind, but she disregarded her judgemental Tia.
Her mama and dad weren’t together. “Your mom is a crazy bitch,” her father would shout before he slammed their heavy, wooden door, while his daughters played with their Bratz dolls in the living room. Her mama would come into the living room with tears in her eyes and just say, “We’ll be okay babies. We’ll be okay.” Her mama was sweet, always had a soft smile that made wrinkles near her honey brown eyes and cheeks, and the same hair as Alina. Her dad was tan, with a bushy, black mustache, and eyes that were dark and cold. He even had a tattooed flaming skull on the back of his neck that made his community know who he was. The roar of their screams bounced off the walls and hurt her ears and forced her to flee under her bed for asylum. Her sister’s cries echoed from the hallway. Five years old and she already feared her father’s voice. Her dad’s metal fists were used as a weapon against her mama. A splatter of red from her mama’s busted lip was stamped on their living room walls. Fist-shaped holes and cracks were also used as wall decorations. In his days of rage, her mother was not the only one who suffered from his metal fists. Her brother, her protector, always felt the wrath of their father’s drunken nights. Three months ago, her mama had had enough and finally threw him out.
It had been three months since Alina saw her father. She didn’t really notice his absence because he always came and went, one day he was here and the next he wasn’t. Then, on a random Friday afternoon, Alina heard a familiar knock on her front door. She creeped on her tippy-toes to open their heavy, wooden door because she knew who it was. She wasn’t ready to hear the screams, she wasn’t ready to hear her mama cry or her brother’s yells defending his mom, she wasn’t ready to hide under bed, and she was not for him to come home. She finally reached the heavy door, her dad felt her presence and yelled, “Alina stop screwing around and open this fucking door!”
She flinched and hurried to turn the rusted door knob that led him home. He walked in as if nothing happened, as if he didn’t make her mama get three stitches on her bottom lip, as if he didn’t swing his metal fist across her brother’s adolescent face, as if he was a good dad.
Mama was cooking her famous red enchiladas surrounded by salsa, filling the house with a spicy scent. Red salsa, lechuga, con queso fresco, on top of the tortillaed dish with aguacate on the side; it was her Dad’s favorite meal. Her father sneaked behind her mother in their kitchen that was decorated all over with roosters. Roosters were stamped on the walls, the kitchen towels, and even their refrigerator. He wrapped his violent arms around her waist and attempted to peck her cheek with his sinister lips. Her mama broke free of his violent barrier and extended her arms to push him off her. The yelling began again.
Her mama yelled, “Get out of here! No one wants you here! We don’t need you, cabron!” His eyes weren’t cold anymore, his anger flooded his eyes and he clinched his hand into a fist. Alina saw his fist and was reminded of the splatter of blood that was stamped on her living room wall.
She rushed to shield her mother from her father’s rage, she wrapped her arms around her mom and screamed, “STOP! DON’T TOUCH HER!”
Her father halted. He saw the fear and pain in Alina’s eyes. “I am just here to take the kids to my mom’s tonight, they’re having a barbeque,” he said.
Her mother was hesitant, but she allowed him to take her kids because they were his too.
Alina and her siblings sat in their father’s dented, faded Honda civic as he drove forty-five minutes to their grandmother’s house. Alina watched the other cars on the freeway, she noticed a maroon minivan filled with laughing children and two smiling parents. She wondered why her family wasn’t filled with love and happiness like the family in the van but instead was shattered. There wasn’t a word said throughout the entire car ride, but instead just the rhythms and tunes of Rick James playing from the radio. The slight left turn onto Envoy Avenue changed the mood in the car because Alina loved her grandparents.
Alina and her siblings hurried out of the car and were met by their grandma in the driveway. Her grandmother wore a pastel, pink t-shirt and white capris that showed the scar on
her shin that she got from working at the strawberry fields. She embraced them with a warm, tight squeeze and even gave them a sweet kiss on their cheeks. Her dad didn’t even step foot in his mother’s house, deciding that the party up the street was more appealing. Two hours passed and there was no word for her father, but Alina loved spending time with her grandparents. The clock struck 7:30 and her father came in drunk, demanding for Alina and her siblings to come to the party to see some of his old friends. Alina and her brother were hesitant, but their little sister was a daddy’s girl and wanted to go with him. Alina could not let her go alone so they decided to go.
The party was only up the street, about seven houses to the left. The house had a metal, rusted, white fence and gate that made an eerie squeak when it opened. The music was loud. Rick James’ “Give It to Me Baby” was playing and Chicano couples were dancing to James’ funky chorus. They maneuvered their way through the dancing maze and made it to the food table where two bald men with tattoos and bushy mustaches were drinking bottled modelos. One was short and the other was taller.
Alina’s dad said “Aye fuckers, these are my kids”
“No mames, fool these are yours?” the tall one said.
The short one locked his eyes on Alina. He took another sip of his beer and squatted down. He said to Alina, “And what is your name mamas?”
Alina felt a little uneasy and whispered, “Alina…”
He had a slight smirk that hid his teeth and said, “That is a pretty name, Alina.” Alina took her sister’s hand and moved closer to her father.
Her dad laughed and said, “She doesn’t like you, fool.”
Alina was confused, why could’t her father see that his friend made her feel uncomfortable? Her father and the two men continued to talk while Alina and her siblings ran off to play with each other.
Alina lived in a toxic environment but that did not affect her and her siblings' imaginative and playful side. The three of them played all sorts of games, whether it was hide and seek or cops and robbers but their all time favorite was their cooking game. They scavenged the yard to find elements that would make perfect ingredients for their entrees and desserts. Her brother was the head chef that always added his signature ingredient to all of his dishes because his sisters refused to touch the wiggly worms that hid in the mud. Her sister was predictable. She made mud pies that contained green leaves, shiny rocks, and sticks that were once branches.
Alina was more imaginative than her siblings, making cheeseburgers with large rocks as buns, leaves as lettuce, yellow flower petals as cheese, and dried mud as the meat. She also added sticks as french fries. They played and showed each other their unique dishes and pretended to eat them while their dad was around the corner smoking weed and drinking his tenth beer.
Alina and her siblings played until the wind became cold and more men started to come and drink. One of the women at the party approached them. She looked nice. She had straight brown hair with blond highlights and wore bright red lipstick that was smeared a little on her left cheek. “It is getting a little cold out here, come inside and I can put a movie on for you guys,” she said. They smiled and followed the woman into the house. She led them to white-walled room that had a bed with a soft, navy blue comforter and three white pillows. She turned on the T.V and handed the remote to Alina’s brother.
He surfed the channels for about five minutes until he stumbled upon his sisters’ favorite movie, The Addams Family. The three laughed at the scene where Wednesday Addams electrocutes her brother. Soon after, Alina’s sister began to rub her eyes, so Alina covered her with a soft blanket and kissed her on her forehead. Within five minutes, she was fast asleep. Alina and her brother continued to laugh at the movie until he walked into the room.
Their father’s short friend that showed an interest in Alina creaked the door open and smiled at the children. “Your dad is looking for you, mijo. He’s mad so you better go to him.
Don’t worry I’ll stay with your sisters until you come back,” he said to her brother. Her brother looked concerned, but with his dad’s anger issues he did not want to risk it.
“I’ll be right back, watch the baby,” he said, pointing to their sleeping sister.
Alina nodded her head and whispered, “Oh okay.”
“I will be quick, I promise. You know how Dad gets when he drinks,” he responded. He looked back at his sisters before he left and walked towards the music and lights of the party.
The man then closed the door and sat on the bed next to Alina. “What are you watching?” he asked.
Alina looked down and put her hands together and whispered, “The Addams Family…”
He chuckled and put his hand on her back and said “I never seen that before.”
Alina was silent, her face turned away from him. He took his hand and grabbed her face to turn her towards him. She began to cry and he said “Shhhhh, don’t make any noise or I’ll hurt your sister.” Alina thought of her five-year-old sister and knew as an older sister she needed to protect her. He wiped her tears from her cheeks with his rough thumbs and said, “You’re so beautiful mamas,” and leaned in to kiss her on her soft, pink lips.
She squeezed her eyes and lips shut. He moved his snake-like hands in her pants and underneath her underwear. His fingers violately went inside her, and she screamed because Alina never felt pain like this before. He quickly took his hand and covered her mouth. He then licked her cheek and put his fingers into her mouth. She gagged and he slapped her. “Don’t you dare throw up on me,” he said. He stood up and began to jingle his pants. He had a dark stare in his dark eyes and he licked his lips. The sound of his belt unbuckling made Alina cry more as she turned to her side. She had never been so scared in her life and all she could think about was when her brother was coming back and if her sister was next. He pulled down his pants and underwear and exposed himself to her. She turned away and covered her eyes with her hands and tried to go under the blanket, but he grabbed her by her legs and said, “You don’t want to wake your sister do you?”
She looked at her sweet, sleeping sister and laid still. She closed her eyes and pretended she was in her warm bed at home with the Build-a-Bear her mom gave her one Christmas. Alina lost all hope and said the prayer that her grandma taught her. She whispered, “Our Father who art in Heaven,” until she heard her brother calling her name. The man heard too and rushed to get his pants on and buckled his belt. He told her that if she told anyone that he would come back to do what he did to her to her sister but next time he would finish.
Alina rushed to hug her sister when her brother walked into the room. Her brother saw Alina crying and demanded to know what happened. Alina looked at the man and noticed the same dark stare as before and said, “I was showing him a cartwheel and I hit my head on the wall.”
The man nervously laughed and agreed and rushed back outside to the party. Her brother came next to her to check to see if she had a bump on her head, she shoved him off of her and told him that she wanted to go back to their grandma’s house. Her brother picked up their sleeping sister and carried her outside as Alina followed.
They passed their father as he was smoking another blunt. He didn’t even realize his children were about to walk by themselves at 3:30 in the morning. As they were walking out, Alina saw the short man and he smiled at her and took another aggressive drink of his bottled beer.
Alina felt as if she wasn’t in her body but instead watching herself from above. The mud beneath her feet squished between her toes. The salt from her tears reached her tongue causing her to spit on the gravel. She wiped the spit from her dry lips and noticed a drop of blood on her hand. She didn’t mind it, she was trying to get out of the street.
The walk down the street to her grandma’s house was short but she felt like she had been walking for miles. The street lights were fading into the darkness of the night, even the purple light from her grandma’s door was nearly invisible. Her vision was blurred, the blinking purple light the only thing on the street she recognized. She felt blisters on her feet and the rough wind blowing her long, curly, coffee-brown hair behind her. Her brother’s words, “Are you okay, Alina?” faded into the back of her mind because all she heard was his voice, all she heard was his threats towards her little sister.
“I’m… I’m okay, just sleepy.”
They reached their grandmother’s house. The door was unlocked.
They walked inside. Her brother put their sleeping sister in the guest room and covered her with a blanket. He looked at Alina and said “Alina, are you sure you're okay?”
Alina aggressively said, “YES! Just leave me alone! I’m tired!” She didn’t want to yell at her brother but he left her with him. He left his sisters with him.
“Okay, damn. Go to sleep then,” he said as he walked out the room towards the living room couch. Alina went straight under the covers and began to cry. What would she tell her mother, her father? He is his friend and her parents already fight on a daily basis. She closed her eyes but she felt his rough, cold hands on her thighs and his beer breath on her lips and the tattoo on his arm that looked like a scribble of writing.
She cried herself to sleep that night, and almost every night after that for the next ten years, and never discussed it with another soul because after that night she never saw the short man again. Maybe he went to prison, she thought, or even got shot or overdosed. She doesn’t know where he went, but she made sure she never left her sister alone because she prayed that a man would never touch her sister like he touched her.
About the Author
Desiree Carrizosa, Coppin State University
Desiree Carrizosa is a junior English major at Coppin State University. After graduation, Desiree hopes to become a teacher. You can find her writing or wiping the dirt off of her face after softball practice.