THINGS MY FATHER TOLD ME
Ahora mire. If your brother calls, hang up the phone. If you see him walking down the street, turn around and go the other way. If he tries to talk to you, don’t say anything. If you see him at school, tell your teacher. If you’re walking home from school and he offers you a ride, keep walking. Call the police if he follows you to the house. Don’t leave the back door unlocked. Don’t leave the cars unlocked. Don’t give our phone number to his friends. If you see his friends by the school or they come by the house, say you don’t know him. Say you don’t know where he is or if he’s alive. Don’t give his friends any money. They might give it to him. Don’t pet any dogs. They’re dirty. If you see a dog and it belongs to him, leave it alone. If he comes to the house and I’m not here, don’t open the door. Don’t look out the window. Even if he knocks on the door and asks for a drink of water, don’t give it to him. If I’m asleep, wake me up. It’s okay. I don’t want him here. He is not welcome. If he wants some money, don’t give him any. If you come home and he’s in the house, run to the store and call the police. Some girl might come by and say she has his baby. Say you don’t know anything. We don’t have any money. If your sisters, mother or other brothers talk about him, you walk away. If they ask you about him, say you don’t know anything. If they want you to give him something, throw it away. Check the mail. If anything comes for him, don’t open it. Tell the mailman he doesn’t live here. He never lived here. If you get a Christmas present or a birthday present from him – I don’t care if it’s a bicycle, one hundred dollars or what – throw it away. Throw away any of his comics. I know you have comics under the house. Throw his away or I’ll throw them all away. Don’t want to hear his name or see any pictures of him. Don’t think about him before you sleep. You might dream about him.
The day your brother Augustino left home is the day I died.