Hola! My name is Esteban Rodrigo, but most people call me rey, a nickname given to me by my father Hectór. Es que before I was born my father worried I would be a girl because mama said she felt “la energia de una princesa adentro.” Apparently, she would hum to me her favorite love songs full of beautiful things like nubes de oro and women in satin dresses. My mama tan linda, I’ve seen photos of her when she was young with hair colored coffee, streaming down to her hips, I can almost hear these armonias when she tells me this story.
Father would get so angry at her for these tunes she said, that once he smashed his plate full of huevos fritos onto the kitchen floor right in front of abuelita. But mama says that when I was born a boy father squeezed us both so tight, she worried I would grow to be as squashed as her famous arepas con crema. He proclaimed me his king-un rey poderoso-and it stuck. Today, I cannot imagine this version of my father, he is a stoic man with more loyalty to the navy than his own wife. My father is a puppet of the great USA if you ask me, he’s left mama for gringolandia to train at the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
While he fills his head with un montón de mierda, I continue my studies in school here in La Plate at the National University. Though I’m A few years older than some of my peers, at 25 years, I still have many close friends. I had to start my schooling late because father wouldn’t support my education at this institution so I took a few years saving money working in Raul’s bookstore and as a bartender at La Taberna. Mama wanted to help pay but she’s not accustomed to working outside of domestic chores and I feared Héctor might find out. But Raúl has been so good to me and gives me discounts on all of my school texts so that I can just barely afford to take my classes, he is un viejito but still sharp as a whip, a jokester. It is truly una benedición that I happened to befriend Raul when I was just thirteen years old after wandering into his store with allowance money after school. Thank god I had the sense to keep him a secret, even then. In university I study architecture and philosophy-which father thinks is a load of communist crap. Hopefully, I can find the time to write in here as I continue to work at Raul’s, help mama en la casa, and keep up with my schooling and clubs. Hablamos Pronto!
Estaben Rodrigo REY