Dear Universe. God. Let me call you God. I want to talk to you today. My name is Rudolph. I’m an orphan. Well, not really, but that’s how I feel. I’m embarrassed to come to you with my petty request when I know that you must be so busy with all the other problems that are going on in the world. The truth is that I feel lonely. The teacher in school told us that when we had problems, whether big or small, we should find time to write a letter to the Universe. I will write my letter but I really don’t know where to send it. She also said that we should do things out in stages and to gradually move from one stage to the next when we write. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this. I have also worked on an outline so first I want to tell you about my grandma.
My grandma comes to my room every night to kiss me good night. I am already nine and a half years old and my grandmother still treats me as if I were a little boy. She insists on kissing me every time she sees me. I guess she must really love me a lot because sometimes when she’s kissing me and hugging me she hugs me so hard that I can hardly breathe. And many times I have heard her calling me her little orphan. On those times I sometimes see her eyes fill with tears. When I ask her why she cries, she just holds me close and kisses me some more. So that now I don’t want to ask her about that anymore. But I do have other things I want to ask her about.
Recently the other kids in my class have been telling me that I’m an orphan because I don’t have a mother nor a father. At home my grandma has some pictures of me as a tiny baby with a young woman whom she says is my mother. I don’t remember my mother. And neither do I remember my father. But my grandma never ever mentions my father.
Grandma used to tell me that I look just like grandpa when he was my age. We even have a whole album of grandpa pictures as a boy. But recently she doesn’t even mention grandpa who died before I was even born.
Grandma is the only relative I have. Or at least the only relative I know. Well besides my mother. Grandma used to read me letters that came in airmail envelopes. She said those were from my mother. Sometimes there were birthday cards inside the envelopes and sometimes there was even money. The letters made me happy. They smelled like bubblegum wrappers even though there was no bubblegum inside. And the stamps on them were rather pretty as well. But recently there are no letters and no money.
To tell you the truth this is the first time I’m writing a letter to a real person. Well, we practiced writing letters in class one week in school and we all addressed it to Mr. Phillips, the principal. I’m sure that it took him a very long time to read all the letters he got. I want to write a letter to my mother to ask her if I really am an orphan. And to ask her when she ‘s coming back. I’m a big boy now and there’s a lot that I can do. I think I’m missing my mother although I don’t know exactly what it feels like to have a mother. I just figure it must be the same way that having a grandmother feels.
My grandma is good to me but she’s already getting old. I don’t know exactly when my grandma sleeps because she’s always up when I get up and nowhere near her bed when I go to sleep. She wakes me up early in the morning and makes me rush to eat my eggs, toast and banana breakfast. Then she shows me where my lunch is in the fridge for when I come home from school at lunchtime. Then the two of us leave together. I go to school and she goes to work. At school, when the bell rings we all have to go back home at 11:30, eat and return to school by 12:45 sharp for the afternoon part of school.
When I get home to eat my lunch, grandma is not home. I eat lunch alone. But before I eat I always change from my school shirt to an old T-shirt that grandma sets out behind my chair. This changing of clothes makes me dizzy but I do it because it helps grandma. I air out my school shirt and put it on again before returning to school. So, all in all, I change shirts twice a day; once at lunch and again after school.
When I come home after school I come straight to my room to change from my school uniform to my ordinary clothes. I put my white shirt in a hanger and clip my trousers to the clothes line on the veranda facing the side of the house where the sun is still shining. My school shirt, if it passes my grandma’s sniff-test and it doesn’t smell too rancid, as she takes to calling it, I wear from Monday to Friday.
Here at home, it’s just Grandma and me. She used to work at Mr. Sharp’s in the big white house next to the school grounds. Then, I used to go to meet grandma there for lunch. We would eat lunch together then. But since you made Mr. Sharp die, she has had to work at a different house. A little far so that she cannot come home to meet me for lunch. She works for Mrs. Vargas now.
Mrs. Vargas is the Manager at The Macondo Bank in Town and Mr. Vargas is a Taxi driver. They have 3 kids. Maurice, the youngest one, is in my class. He doesn’t like to study and says that he will go into the taxi business like his dad when he grows up.
God, I don’t want to be a bother to you but I want to ask you to help all the people who live here in Macondo, but most especially I want to ask you to make me a big boy soon so that I can help my grandma so that she doesn’t have to work so hard every day. I don’t know what I would do if my grandma got sick and died. So please God, don’t think of taking her from me anytime soon. But please turn me into a big boy a.s.a.p.
I do my homework at the library every night and Ms. Gina helps me to review my spelling words and sometimes helps me memorize my multiplication tables. The man at the Taco place next to the library is a good friend of my grandmother. Every evening he calls me to go into his place and he and his wife serve me Tacos and orange juice. His name is Mr. Cholin. I want you to send him a tortilla making machine because sometimes when I’m eating there I hear him say to his customers that he is out of tortillas. If you send him a tortilla making machine he could make more tacos for all the people who come to his place. They’re really good tacos.
God, I know that my problems are nothing compared to what the kids in Aleppo are going through. But I promise you this — I will study hard and work well and I will do my best to help people like the people in Aleppo when I get big so please make me big soon.
Thank you, God.
Yours truly, Rudolph.