Don’t Hurt Any Living Thing by Jackie Villarreal Najera

My Amabuelita, my grandmother, once caught my brother John throwing rocks at a cat on our roof. When Amabuelita caught him, she was mad. She said “Don’t ever hurt an animal. You know cats eat mice.” She continued by saying, “You don’t ever hurt any living thing.”

“I won’t do it again” responded my brother.

Now, I never believed my brother when we were young. Then one day, John made a sling shot. He decided to shoot at birds. He wasn’t very good at that. He did once actually hit a bird by accident. He didn’t want me to tell on him

 Every early afternoon there was an old woman named Luz. She was tall and skinny and hunch over. She would sit on our porch and smoke a cigarette. Sometimes My brothers would ask her to leave our porch. She just ignored my brothers. I used to wonder how she got into the porch without any care in the world?

 When my grandmother heard what my brothers were doing to Luz she got very angry. She told all the kids never to bother Luz. I asked my grandmother if she knew Luz? She said it didn’t matter but not to bother her anyway.

When I was a child, Luz continued to smoke in our porch on regular basis.

“Is Luz crazy?”  I asked grandmother.

“Why would you say that?” she answered.

“Well she looks like she’s crazy. She always opens our gate and walks right in. You don’t allow anyone else to come in except relatives.”

“I know but, don’t ever bother Luz anyway.”

I always expected Luz to open the gate and walk in. I never actually ever saw her open the gate. She would just be there.

Then one day she didn’t come. I had been trying to be nicer to her. I had started to like her. Grandmother had said to be nice to everyone. Everybody needs our respect.

Luz never came back. I did see her in another porch once.  No one ever saw her again. I think she probably died. I felt kind of sad that I was not kinder from the beginning.

 Today I don’t dislike anyone anymore. I remember Amabuelita saying,

“Don’t hurt any living thing.”






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