It is about 10am.

I have already had a long day, and after a ten minute break sitting outside listening to Spring and soaking in sun, I am standing in front of the dining room table about to tackle a huge stack of essays.

My cellphone rings.


I consider completely ignoring it, but since Zack has had those symptoms lately, I can't take a chance of missing a call from his school.

I find the phone hiding under my gym bag.

It isn't his school.

It's my Mom.

I answer.


I have a new NAME for YOU! Tandalea!

(The name rolls off her tongue, ending with laayyy-yah)

Um, thanks lady, but I'm not shopping for a new name today...

Tandalea, (she repeats) don't you LOVE it?

Candelea? Princess Lea? Que lea? Que fea? I don't know.

It starts with a T like Tata. T-a-n-d-a-l-e-a, isn't it beautiful? That's your NEW name!

Mom, you already had a shot at naming me, you can't just suddenly revise it now.

She laughs. I didn't know about Tandalea back then... but now I do!

Fine. Whatever. Thanks for giving me something to write about today. Are you going somewhere?

Yes to a meeting. The airport meeting.

Well, have a very nice time, give them my best.

I will, I love you Tandalea!

I love you too, Tita Loca ~


Minutes later, while I type the story up, my phone rings again.

Again, it's my mother.

I answer the phone "Tandalea!" and she laughs. "What? WHAT!? What do you WANT from TANDALEA?"

((I keep asking what, interrogating her through her laugher. There are days when Tita's voice is ragged with grief.
Now that she's laughing, I'm sailing this kite of a conversation through every wind I can.))

Why do you DARE interrupt the famous and important Tandalea while she is trying to write?

When she finally is able to catch her breath, Mom reminds me that I haven't told her how Zack is.

He's well enough to be at school today! The Doctor isn't calling it asthma, but he gave me all these pamphlets and some websites to go to... oh, and I have to buy the nebulizer today and these ampules. We'll call the Doctor on Thursday to let him know how it's going.

You told me that yesterday.

I know. Actually, Melissa told you. Today I am Tandalea, it's like everything is new...

(Again, she laughs. Just like she used to.)

I love that name! It's like Condoleeza, so memorable.

Memorable, indeed. Now Tandalea really has to go grade essays....me voy!

Goodbye Tandalea!

I think, in that second after she spoke but before the phone went dead, I heard my mom laughing into her Blackberry, smiling into the sun.