La Bodega

The lights go out.

It’s time for Papi to close la bodega.

For my sisters and I, that means we finally get to spin. Spin around in countless circles until we begin to feel dizzy.

La bodega is finally empty. No one bustling in and out. The open floor is ours.

Spin! Spin! Spin!

Spinning in circles on the floor that has kept Papi busy the past 14 hours, everyday of the week. There is no rest. There are no weekends off. There are no family dinners on a table. There are no summer vacations.

But we have all the candy and chocolate Mami will allow us to eat, and all the ones she won’t ever find out about.

We have lots of ice cream and a wide selection of sugary drinks.

We have real-life math lessons, “$5.79, please…..Mami, how much change do I give back?”

We have five in the morning Saturday trips to the fish market with Papi.

We have an entire neighborhood of bodega goers watching us grow, “You’re getting so big!”

And when the lights go out, we know it’s our time.

Papi! Look at us!

Spin! Spin! Spin!