I Took My First Breath To the Sound of Gunshots

Her View From Home, 07-01-2021 https://herviewfromh ... -gunshots/

“No, you’re not going,” said my father, the stinging sternness in his voice only supplanted by his sharp, hard stare.

I rolled my exasperated teenage eyes at him.

“But why? All my friends are going. It’s safe! I’ll stay with my friends, I promise. Please, dad,” I begged again.

The argument had just begun, but already, my body was trembling, and my throat knotted. This tightness in the pit of my stomach travelled up to my face, flushing it red and wetting my eyes. Anger always made me cry.

But my dad wasn’t going to budge. He rarely did. And again, I found myself stomping back to my room and closing the door on the unfairness of the world.

I was that kid—the kid who rarely was seen at parties, who never drank or smoked. The girl who would stay out past her curfew, knowing full well she would get in trouble with her parents, but too ashamed to tell her friends she had one. Sure, I had boyfriends, but the negotiations that went into that were of epic proportions.

I failed to see back then that my parents’ overprotectiveness stemmed from their own background and experiences. They were a young couple with a two-month-old son when the war erupted in my native country of El Salvador back in 1979. Barely out of adolescence, a new baby in their hands, they were thrust into the savagery and atrocities of a war that would last well over a decade. The war left its terrible blood-encrusted mark on our country, but on our people as well. It left it on my parents, who seldom talk about the war, but its impact on their young minds would forever change who they were and affect the parents they would be.