Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Wind Will Take You

"Se te va llevar el viento," says my Aunt, Letty, today.

The wind will take you.

Her way of telling me I'm too skinny.

I shake my nalgas at her.

"I still have plenty of weight to hold me down."

She disagrees.  I remind her of my other lady lumps that weigh me down.  She nods her approval.  We compare our Latina curves.  She always wins.  She is the same kind of crazy as me.  Remember Chee-chees and Pinatas?

I found myself at my Abuelita's bedside today.  Along with my tia Letty and my mother.

My grandmother has been under hospice care for a few months.  "They" say it will be any day now. 

So we wait.

We, her children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, wait.  By her bedside.  In our hearts.  Prayer by prayer. 

Her feet are in two places at once.  One foot There.  The other Here. 

She is lucid. 

Then she shouts my grandfather's name, "Manuel!  Manuel!"  It reminds me of how she used to shout at him when I was a child.

Stop rough housing with the children, Manuel! she would scold as he chased and tickled us. 

My grandfather passed away when I was 12.  Cancer. 

She says she forgot he was gone.  That's why she called out for him.  She forgot.  She says he is now with her always. 

There is a great noise in the quiet room.  An oxygen machine.  Our voices.  The ticking of a clock. 

And there is viento.  Wind.  Wind is time.  It will take you.  From Here to There.

Wind blows upon our baby faces. Yours and mine. Lending our first breath.  Wind whispers Love and Future in our ears.  Takes us to the next stage of life whether we desire to be weathered or not.  Wind takes us.

Wind pushes us always.  Sometimes gently.  A warm embrace.  A kiss.  Other times he is cold.  Harsh.  Cruel.  Blinding.  Choking.

El Viento brought my grandmother to this bed.

She softly murmers her dismay as we speak English.

"Canta algo bonito en Espanol para tu Abuelita," my mother says.

Sing something beautiful in Spanish for your grandmother.  So I do.

I sing an old song about a bird in a gilded cage.  I sing of Love.  Of mountains and valleys crying out for the loss of Love.

The emotion in my voice is palpable.  My heart aches.

My grandmother struggles for breath but listens. 

My aunt and my mother join me in song.  We sing together for an hour.  My grandmother asks us to stop.  We are too loud.

We laugh.

Letty makes a naughty joke, as she is wont to do when there is nothing left to say.  I reply in kind with something equally filthy, as I am wont to do when everything important has already been said. She tops my filth.  I top hers.  And we laugh.

Three generations of female Mexican passion and spit fire are bottle up in this quiet, noisy room.  The wind and time have brought us to this walk of life.

I kiss my grandmother goodbye.  She doesn't open her eyes but says,

"Que Dios te bendiga, Paloma."  May God bless you. She calls me her Dove.

"A usted tambien, Abuelita,"  I say.  May God bless You, Abuelita.

I never know if this will be the last time.

I turn and kiss Letty.  She makes another naughty joke about our bodies.  I laugh and wonder at the irony of these fallible, deteriorating earthly bodies.

Then she looks at me disapprovingly and says,

"Se te va llevar el viento."

The wind will take you.

Eventually, the wind will take us all.