Dear Cathy, May 5, 2017
You were my first friend in the neighborhood, or at least my friend “until next Tuesday” because that is when you moved away because the neighborhood “is getting bad”; something you said when my family moved into the neighborhood. Away from people like me. The other day, when I was listening to you complain about our neighbors, it seemed like you had no particular interest or sympathy in how I would feel, listening to you talk negatively about the neighborhood.
“I am the great great grand cousin of the queen of France”, you said trying to make yourself seem superior to everyone in this neighborhood. Joe the “baby grabber”, is not “full of danger”, but friendly and playful. Those two girls who you said were “raggedy as rats” are my true friends now, yes I did “want to know them”. They have not simply become friends with me because they think I need a friend or try to use me because they have no one to talk to. They make me feel welcomed, and like a part of this neighborhood; something you never did. I’m sure Alicia had no particular interest in you before going to college and doesn’t talk to you because she knows the type of person you are.
You have cats, and cats, and cats. “Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats. Cats on top of the refrigerator. Cats taking a walk on the dinner table.” Cats to keep you company, because you have nobody else. You pass your opportunities of creating friendships by judging everybody in this neighborhood, while you are not perfect either. You thought I would be a good target to keep you company until you moved away. But that is not how friendship works. And now, I, Esperanza, has decided to make my own friends; real ones.
Simply because we are Latinos, doesn’t mean we are bad people, doesn’t mean we don’t have feelings, and we don’t understand what you mean by “the neighborhood is getting bad”. But now, you only have your cats to keep you company, and have to “move a little farther north from Mango Street, a little farther away every time people like us keep on moving in.”
Your limited-time “friend”,