Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Standing among an assortment of eight carry-on bags at the airport, after over an hour of redistribution of belongings among all the luggage, Ricardo's mom, Betty, looks at me with some relief and amusement. Yashir finishes clipping a camera around her waist, and she shoulders several more bags.

"Recuerde que esta manana -" she pauses, bending forward at the waist and releasing a laugh in demonstration - "Y se rien." Remember this tomorrow, and laugh. A smile spreads across her face, lighting her eyes. "Soy como un arbol de Navidad," she says wryly. I'm like a Christmas tree.

We both break into laughter.

And I wake up this morning with that memory, smiling.

I remember saying goodbye, the tears we shared freely. The ones Ricardo held back. I remember the mixture of joy and sadness.

I remember Yashir's arms clinging around my neck, his tears and "te quiero," I love you, returning my own.

I remember Pancho and Betty each standing in front of Ricardo, crossing him and giving him a parting blessing in the tradition of Catholics; proud parents, filled with love. I remember Pancho turning to me and asking if he could bless me, too, his eyes moist, his prayers in Spanish.

I remember Pancho whispering "te quiero" in my ear and the moments before I could find my voice to speak it in return.

I remember my conversation with Betty in Spanish on our car ride to the airport, thanking each other for the time together, the special memories.

I remember hugging Dafne goodbye, Ricardo's beautiful cousin, and feeling for her the love of a big sister, receiving her love in return.

Mis recuerdos. My memories. I cherish these, and many others, as I start this day.