"What do you mean weíre stuck here?" I yell at the pilot.
"Iím sorry, but the hurricane is causing a massive storm system. We canít make it to Chicago for a few days
at the least." The pilot answered.
"A few days! We open tomorrow!" I exclaim. This isnít happening. "If youíre sure, then weíll drive."
I say, sounding determined.
"Thatíll take you a few days too. Weíre up in Maine." The pilot sighs.
"Iím sorry. Iíll call you if at anytime thereís a break in the storm. The best you can do is go into town
and get some rest." The pilot offered.
"Alright. I wanna be the first call!" I demand before turning around. I storm off down the small airport
terminal. This canít be happening. Damn, we shouldnít have stayed that extra day in London. Damn Julie and her
"Maria! Over here!" Jess calls to me. "The rental car place is this way."
"Do you realize that our understudies will have to go on now? That means Megan will be playing Maria! You
know how bad she is! Whereís Jules? Iím gonna kill her for her shopping habits!"
"Calm down girl." Jess says, placing her hands on my shoulders, restraining me. "Julie is at the
car rental place, and she feels horrible. If we wouldíve known there was a hurricane, we wouldnít have stayed the
"Ugh! Iím just so frustrated! I need coffee! Does this airport have coffee?" I sigh.
"No, I already asked. But this lady gave me great directions to a little shop in this town. Once we get the
car, weíll head over there and then to the hotel. Can you believe this town only has one hotel?" Jess asks
as if it was a crime.
"Itís a small town. Probably has some corny name too." I reply rolling my eyes.
"It does! Oh God, what is it? Itís on the tip of my tongue. Like Melody or God, something musical." Jess
"Harmony?" I choke out. It canít be. No, it couldnít be.
"Yes thatís it! Howíd you know?" I can tell my face was growing pale by the minute. This isnít happening,
I say to myself, willing myself to believe it. Jessí hand reaches out and grabs my arm, jolting me back to reality.
I look at her, and I can feel the tears pooling in my eyes. Gently she guides me over to the side of the terminal,
and we sit down in two tacky red chairs. "Whatís wrong? Why did you go somewhere when I said the place is
Harmony? What arenít you telling me? Címon Maria, weíve been friends for years, talk to me!"
"My nameís Paloma." I say, causing her to stare. "I used my middle name, Maria, to escape the memories
of my home, here. This is my home town. This is where my family is." I admit. I can feel the tears splashing
down on my face.
"I donít understand. I met you father and brother in London. How can your family be here?" Jess asks,
confusion evident in her voice.
"My mother, my other brothers, my sister. They all live here." I sob.
"But you never talk of them. You only ever mention your father." Jess replied.
"Thatís because my family sent me away. My dad and brother had already left, and I Ďmessed upí in their opinion.
So they sent me away. They never contacted me, the whole eight years Iíve been away, they ignored me. So I donít
consider them my family." I sob even harder.
"Címon, weíre going to get the car, and youíre telling me the whole story!" Jess commands, helping me
up and to the car rental place. Julie was just getting out of line and walked towards us. Regret and fear was written
on her face, but it immediately changed to worry and concern as she approached us.
"My God, whatís happened?" Julie asked, enveloping me in a hug.
"Something. Sheíll explain in the car. Did you get it?" Jess asked.
"Yep." Julie said, leading the way to find it. We walked into the parking lot and followed her to a new
black Grand Am. Julie unlocked the doors, and we got in. Julie driving, Jess in the back, and me in the passenger
seat. I recounted the whole tale I told to Jess to Julie.
"So Maria, I mean Paloma, tell us how it happened. Why were you sent away?" Jess asked placing a hand
on my shoulder.
"I was fifteen, and kinda a wild child. I had just entered high school, and Luis, my second oldest brother,
had graduated the year before. He had went to the police academy and came back. It was... He was perfect. The perfect
son, student, athlete, everything. I was constantly compared to him. By teachers, parents. ĎPaloma, why canít you
get good grades like Luis?í or ĎWhy donít you go out for volleyball instead of the musical? Luis would choose sports
any day.í It was horrible! I couldnít handle it, so I started doing other things. Partying, I just wanted attention.
My mother worked two jobs, my brother was a young cop, so he worked long hours. But when he did come home, he rode
me so hard. And Theresa and Miguel, my younger siblings, were to young to really pay attention to me.
"Then I met Zack, and we just clicked. It was like we understood each other. I basically gave up everything
to be with him. One night, me and him went down to Lighthouse Park. I had had a really bad day, and he tried to
make me better. He kissed me, and things started getting hot and heavy. We were about to, you know, when low and
behold, Luis super cop shows up."
"Oh! Caught by your brother!" Jess commented.
"That wasnít the worst of it. He scared Zack off, and then took me home. Mama was still working so he started
yelling at me." Tears over came me again, and I paused to push past them. I needed to tell this to someone.
I had carried it around for so long. "He told me I was an embarrassment to the family, and mostly him. He
told me he had never been so disappointed in me, and that he didnít want me to influence Theresa or Miguel. So
they scrapped together and bought me a one way plane ticket to Spain. I had never felt so unloved in my life. The
worst thing was that my mother had gone along with it. She didnít have the nerve to say no to him.
"I can barely remember my brother and sister. Miguel was about eight, and I think Theresa was ten. Iím not
sure. But the point is, they ripped me away from them. Iím just so scared Iíll see them again. I donít want to."
"Paloma, what about your dad and brother Antonio? Didnít they have a say in all this?" Jess asked.
"They were already gone. They had left years before, disappeared without a trace." I inform them.
"Weíre here. Címon, I bet a cup of coffee will better your mood, then weíll go to the hotel and stay there
for days." Julie said as she pulled into a parking space. I look at her and smile. Jess touches my shoulder
and I wonder, how did I get such great friends. I open my door slowly and hop out. Almost immediately Jess and
Julie run to give me a group hug. With their arms around me, we head into the small coffee shop.