Sunday, August 13, 2017

Everywhere, now.

(From December 2007)

"Ay, Marta...." Abuelo mutters under his breath, sitting on his recliner surrounded by bottles of pills. He's just finished setting up his medicines for the next few weeks. Heart pills, stomach pills, I don't know what else, and I don't ask.

Usually his hands are in constant motion, writing letters, sorts stacks of paper, doing things always. Everything is done, for now. He is stuck unoccupied, and unwelcome thoughts slip into his mind.

"Ay, Marta..." he says again, shifting uncomfortably in his chair.

I shut my book, finger holding my page in the thick book by an author who's last big novel came out in 1998, the year Abuelo had a heart attack on my birthday.

He changes the channel, puts on Lawrence Welk.

It is white people with big hair and stiff smiles singing about the old South. One African-American tap dances, alone, off stage. The audience looks stiff and uncomfortable.

Abuelo moves the pills to a shoebox and carries them to the counter where he sets them down. He gets his milk and cake, then settles back into his chair.

"Ay, Marta...." again he mutters, and this time, despite my harsh warnings otherwise, fat hot tears spill down my face.

She is here.

She is not here.

She is gone.

She is everywhere, now.