She was frozen with fear. Her tan skin looked like a pale white, her long brown hair was frizzy, and her eyes wide. He came towards her, his hands open wide. "Leave Catalina. Stay somewhere else," He hissed. His face wrinkled angrily, and his eyes filled with malice. His breath smelled of tobacco and alcohol. She picked up her backpack next to her and scurried away, but she winced with pain. He had grabbed her hair. "Well, not so fast Mija. There's a punishment for even being here." he slapped her face, his grubby hand red from the force. "Adios Mija, don't come back." He let go of her hair and left the kitchen, stepping on shattered plates from his tantrum minutes ago. Her hand immediately reached her face. It felt hot as if knifes had sliced it. She opened the back door and mumbled under her breath, "My pleasure, papa."
It's not easy to run in unbearable heat, let alone run in chanclas, but she ran her backpack bouncing with every step. As if her life depended on it. She ran, her eyes watering. Tripping over rocks and crossing streets, which were crammed with tiny houses. Catalina passed her school, friends' houses, and church but kept running. The road thinned to a little path and then Catalina slowed. She walked towards a lonely brick, standing tall. She stepped over it and kept on walking. The sound of rushing water came faintly. As she walked deeper into the jungle, it intensified. She kept walking and finally reached it. The river.
She sighed longingly. She squatted and put her hand in it, the water pulling it. It was warm, as always. She walked towards a blanket. Putting the blanket over a near tree branch, she discreetly changed into a swimming suit in the "changing room". She smiled, looking at it. Her friend Maria had bought it for her birthday. She chuckled, recalling the memory. But then a flash of the hate in her father's eyes passed in her mind. She shuddered, suddenly cold in the scorching heat. She left the changing branch and went to the river.
She waded through the water. Catalina looked around for people, but no one was there. There were usually kids using the boulders in the water as diving boards. But she could find none. Her eyes traveled to the other side of the river and she saw him.,
He looked familiar. He had brown messy hair, was unusually pale (probably a foreigner), and was pretty slim. He looked normal, uninterested but normal, but his eyes betrayed him. He had sad brown eyes. He looked as if he had a mask on and Catalina knew how suffocating it felt, hiding your real thoughts and feelings. Her friends called her 'Lina' but Catalina despised it, but she was too cowardly to say anything. The 'Lina Rodriquez ' from school was popular, cool, and snarky. All the boys fell for her, so much that she hated it. She often wondered how her friends would react if she actually acted like her actual 'Catalina' self.
She looked at him intently, wondering where she had seen him before. She started to think of possible names, 'David? No... Israel? No... hmmm..' She bit the edge of her fingernail. Curiosity got the better of her. "Oye, do I know you from somewhere?" she yelled across the river, over the sound of the rushing water. He looked taken aback, his eyes widening in surprise, but ignored her. But she saw that he had hear her. She smirked, mentally putting on her 'Lina Rodriquez' personality. "Ay, do we have a 'strong but silent' type?" she yelled, teasingly. That seemed to do it. He turned pink, his eyes squinted, and his hands in the air. He took a deep breath, and Catalina realized that he was going yell at her. She winced and braced herself.