I aspired to be like Zap. I wanted to be an American Gladiator, strong like Storm or Laser or Thunder. I wanted to wear goggles and shoot tennis balls. I wanted to run across the rotating bridge just to prove I could do it. I wanted to climb the wall too, with a rope. So in my living room, my sister and I would throw all the pillows and cushions off the couch so we could time who could get across the fastest without touching the floor. My mom would get really annoyed. “Put the pillows back on the couch.” We ignored her. She was a terrible audience member. Then we built an underpass, a tunnel-like structure. We put two chairs back to back with enough space to get through. We’d throw a blanket over the chairs and then rehearse crawling under it to check if it was safe and sturdy. Crawl. Crawl. Crawl. My sister would pop her head out on the other side. “Safe, I made it.” “Ok. Perfect.” “Ahhh! I’m so excited!” Then we laid a jump rope across the hallway to pretend we were going to climb the wall.
“Rock, paper, scissors!” “Scissors cuts paper!” “I win.” “I’m going to be Zap.” “Who are you going to be?” My sister said, “I’m going to be Laser.” “Ok. You ready?” We were dressed like American Gladiators too. We put on headbands and spandex shorts while rocking our favorite T-shirts. Maybe a turtleneck. The race began at the front doorstep and we made it super duper exciting. More exciting than American Gladiator. We pretended to run across a Volcanooooooooo!!!!!!!! We pretended to run across a Volcano with burning hot lava that could burn and melt you. “On your mark, get set go!” My sister went up first. She jumped across the pillows like a little frog. Darn it. I was hoping she’d fall in the lava and make me an automatic winner. I was watching from the door. To shake her up a bit, I yelled, “I hope you fall in the lava!” My sister went on to the tunnel. “I hope there’s an earthquake and the tunnel collapses on your head!” She got through like a honey badger. She went on to the hallway. That’s where I lost sight. I couldn’t risk following her and getting burned by the lava. It was too risky. I didn’t want to lose my turn. She claimed to have climbed the rope and finish in 4 minutes.
I thought, “Ok, All I need is 3 minutes 59 seconds to beat her.” My heart was racing. I was scared. I didn’t want to fall in the lava. I was excited. I wanted to jump fast. I wanted to crawl fast. Be fast. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” I didn’t know about Mohammad Ali at the time. But I knew how to be competitive. My sister started the timer, “On your mark, get set, go!” I glided across the pillows, zipped through the tunnel and scrambled across the rope. I finished like a champ. I did the Rocky grand finale. “papapa-papa-pa-papapa-pa, papapapaaaaa, paaaaapaaaaa…” Hands in the air! Jump. Jump. Left jab. Right jab. “What’s my time?” My sister started laughing hysterically, “You didn’t beat me!” I looked at her in disbelief, “What!? Crazy!?” “Noooo!!!” “Dumb.” “Liar.” Then she gave me the stopwatch, “See, look, you finished in 4 minutes 6 seconds.” “I want a rematch.” “Now.” “Anyway, you probably stopped the timer after I finished. All late, like a snail.” “You took too long to press stop.” My sister got in my face with a little sass. “No, I didn’t.” Then I retorted with “Talk to the hand ‘cause the face don’t want to hear it.’” Then she said, “I won.” Then I said, “No, you didn’t.” She said, “I won. I won. Mom, I’m the winner. You were watching right?” My mom said, “Recogen ese tiradero!” “Ahorita!, o me las friego.”
My sister pulled my hair, leaned in on me, and whispered, “I win.” I looked at her and pushed her on the couch. She stormed up and put me in a chokehold. I elbowed her in the stomach and stepped on her toes. Then she ran to the kitchen and grabbed a pair of scissors and started chasing me around the house. “I hate you!” As I ran around without a weapon, I yelled out “I hate you too!” As the fight escalated, my mom grabbed the scissors out my sister’s hand and smacked her with a tennis racket that was sitting on the porch. “I turned around to look back at my sister, and my mom said, “You’re next.” I didn’t know what to do next. I was trapped. How was I going to avoid getting spanked. My sister went in the house and started cleaning up. I thought maybe if I start screaming in the front yard, “Child abuse! Child abuse!” My mom would get scared and back off. So I started wailing like a banshee, “Child abuse! My mom is crazy! Estás loca! Le voy a llamar a la policía!” My mom lunged at me and smacked my mouth. “Cayate! Ahorita. Vas a ver!” “Recoge ese tiradero!” She yanked my hair, “A mi no me vas a amenazar.” “Me recoges este cochinero.” We cleaned. Then we plotted our next game.