The clerk asked him for his first and last name and papi answered, “Alejandro Sandoval.” Confused, yet convinced, I blurted out, “No, papi, your name is Jose!” He immediately pinched me and commanded me to hush. I sat on papi’s hip and silently wondered who Alejandro Sandoval was and why my dad was claiming to be him.
Mami once told me that my little outbursts could land our family in trouble with la migra. I was four years old and unaware of papi’s American alias. I did not know it was illegal for papi to be Jose in this country until we arrived back to the house and he complained to mami about how ajenta I was. Mami told me I have to stay quiet when adults are speaking. “Si ellos se enteran lo deportan,” she warned me.
Overcome with guilt, I apologized and promised to never speak out of turn again.
When Mami told me she was keeping a notebook full of her favorite memories I asked myself, “She writes?” Never in my 22 years of life have I seen Mami write anything other than the occasional phone number on the wall calendar or her name where indicated on important forms. I’ve seen her shaky handwriting. She scribes as though she lacks confidence in her penmanship. Her lettering takes up at least three lines and her capital L’s squiggle out of formation. Perhaps if Mami would have been allowed to go to school her L’s would exhibit a smoother interface. Continue reading
As I sit here, surrounded by faces I’ve never seen, I can’t help but think about the following:
1. We all believe we are God’s gift to humanity.
Even if you are an atheist like myself. We are special. We are unique. You will never meet anyone like me. But, what makes you so special? What distinguishes you from the billions of people that populate this world? What is your unparalleled contribution? What makes you so popping? What’s your mark?Lately my state of mind has been, in the words of the great Nicki Minaj, “you’re a lucky [man] if my mean ass likes ya.”
2. Life happens very fast.
No matter how in control you may be of your surroundings, series of events can transpire that will catch you off guard and make you feel powerless. If the unaccounted for is met with grace, you will become a better person. How we react to phenomena defines us.
3. Did you lose something?
It seems as though everyone here is looking for something. Did you have it already? Did you let it go? Are you looking for something you’ve never attained? Do you think you will find it here? Is it me? Are we supposed to meet? Are you here for just a drink? My french fries are delicious, would you like to try them?
Was it the day I rejected you when you were ready?
Was it the time I laughed when you confided your insecurities?
Was it my inability to sense your vulnerabilities?
Was it your disdain for my fantasy concept of romance?
Did we go wrong by ignoring our fundamental differences?
Was love not enough for us to be who we needed to be for one another?
509 days have passed since the day I told you I have no more fight in me. I told you I was miserable, that I could no longer feign a relationship that existed upon potential and hope. I shamed you for being detached and uncaring. I tore apart your character, blamed your inability to love me on your upbringing, made you cry for not being enough man for me. I recklessly accused you of being the worst thing to happen to me, knowing damn well that my misery predated the day we met.
509 days have passed yet I miss you. I miss your drive and ambition, your words of encouragement, your emotional intelligence, how you went about explaining things I didn’t know with such clarity and patience. I miss when you used to kiss me on my forehead, your completely different perspective on things, your stubbornness, how your eyes lit up when you talked about the things you were passionate of. I even miss how you tickled me despite me completely hating it.
509 days have passed and I love you more than ever. Your absence has allowed me to appreciate those very qualities I once hated. From afar I’ve seen you cope and I can’t help but applaud your self-healing. How I wish I could be as strong and definitive as you are. How I wish I could stay away from you and let you be. A part of me wants to share with you the woman who you helped mold. I never credited you for your contribution to my growth. I want to share with you who I am, the sensible woman I’ve become because of our twisted poetry.
My love, 509 days have passed.
We allowed 509 days to pass.
Don’t you want me back in your life as ardently as I want you back in mine?