September 29, 2011 [12:22am]

Little voices and pained groans were lulling down, as they intermingled into the evening; hushed distress in tiny individual worlds that struggle to comprehend basic reality, at least in the conventional sense. Decelerating energy, left behind in cluttered rec room with the sound of emptying bathtub drains and scattered tick-tock signaling bedtimes, late snacks, completed programs, end of shift.

One month, my voice has become a skilled thespian. Upbeat chords that thundered against inequality, free tongue dancing to the tune of abstraction and literature in the language of de Beauvoir, bellowing for free Palestine to dozens gathered in forums of academia. These days, high timbre fragile filament parroting reinforcement, mimicking authority, masking inadequacy, doubt.

That night, threads of sound left, appealing to reason: rhetoric that would shatter in bottomless ears with a lunge forward.  Simple requests denied entrance into chaotic world.

[The mouth of my stomach had anticipated it four hours earlier, as texts flew into space prophesying the calm before the storm during my daily 1800-second pause.]

Strident jerks coming from all directions, tug of countless hands caught in sea of black thinness; quick rips, rapid stabs stretching scalp into near-insanity.

“Help,” I squeaked while fear and bitterness crawled under my skin.

Help!” once again, my eyes shot open to an inverted view – bodies stepping on the ceiling, slowly coming to my release – pink and brown leather boot tip imprinting on my temple.

I almost found it humorous that she had been wearing cowgirl shoes, the irony of it all. Or maybe it was a metaphor, a twisted joke from the cosmos taking things too literally: a kick in the face to ignite further drive. Gush of briny wetness; blurred vision, as I quickly tried to breathe in awareness: the thespian again, this time feigning control, writing data, as if the whole episode could have been defined in qualitative terms.


Serenity and compliance filled the room – all clear…

Tell that to the clumps of hair circling the drain at Claus Haus South, broken witnesses of a second episode.


“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear” -Mark Twain

That same evening, after my shift ended and I got home at 11:30pm, I stayed up into the wee hours of the night churning out my revamped resume and cover letter to apply for the current position I hold now. Whenever I have a rough day at work these days, I transport back to this moment: “At least it’s not Children’s Care”.

Published by vcmarcano

Vanessa C. Marcano-Kelly is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. She is a certified court interpreter in Iowa and a translator. She is a member of the Iowa Interpreters and Translators' Association and the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters, with significant experience in community interpreting, translation, and journalism in English and Spanish. Vanessa has interpreted in community meetings with the Polk County Sheriff, the US Department of Labor, former US Congressman Tom Latham, and at the Food Sovereignty Prize 2014 in Des Moines. She graduated with honors with a BA in Global Studies and French from South Dakota State University, and received a judiciary interpretation and translation specialization certificate from Des Moines Area Community College. She works as a court interpreter in the Des Moines metro, and as a translator for Principal Financial Group, a Fortune 500 company. She has written for several publications, including the Venezuelan magazine Estetica y Salud, and has a passion for linguistics/languages, photography, community involvement, healthier living and travel. Vanessa runs a bilingual, bicultural household with her husband, Michael. Her immediate family lives in Venezuela, Lithuania and the US.

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