The clock strikes 12. My body is present in the new 2015 celebrated in with champagne toasts and a freshly dropped ball in Times Square brought to my couch via television satellite magic. My mind has been teleported to 2012- “our first real date.” I had just returned back to where everything is bigger, eager to slip out of the blanket of panic I wore hours early due to a delayed flight and into a dress fit for the downtown festivities to come.
This would also be the first time I would be a part of the cliché ringing in the year in the arms of someone who loved you- or in our case, someone who was going to grow to love you. Although we didn’t symbolically kiss when the fireworks sounded, I was wrapped in your arms. The crowd around us was large, yet the moment still seemed personal, only interrupted when the rest of our friends joined up with us. Moments later, we rode the bus home with me asleep on your shoulder. The perfect ending.
Over a two week period, around two million people walked from their homes in Costa Rica to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago. Once in Cartago they went down the aisle to the alter on their knees. One lady, who came from Nicaragua, carries a picture of her daughter who has passed away.
Ouch, was all I could think as a pain surged from my knees up through my thighs. Like thousands of Ticos, I was crawling from the entrance of the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Ángeles in Cartago, Costa Rica, to the alter. I approximated that the journey was 100 yards total, and I myself had only inched my way a couple of feet. The sensation from compressing my knees on the hard pavement told me to give up, but I could not disrespect the holy place in such a manner. After all, I was surrounded by older people who had spent the entire morning walking to the basilica, and despite aches in their feet, still had the energy to finish the path. I, myself, had only taken the bus. Every time I stopped, I felt the lady dragging her baby in a stroller along with her run over my heels, urging me to move forward. Placing my agony aside, I progressed, remaining tranced in the atmosphere.
The embassy threw a big Independence Day in San Jose, Costa Rica on July 4 for U.S. citizens and their guests. It was filled with patriotic music, information booths, carnival games, all you can eat hotdogs and bagels, and all you can drink beer, pepsi and water.
While browsing the veterans table a senior citizen caucasian male addressed me and asked where I was from. Without looking up I told him North Carolina. It’s a question I hear everyday, and I have been programmed to automatically spit out an answer. In his next breath he said, “Let me ask you a question, how do you feel about the word n****r.”
I still hear your voice.
You’re presence whispers in the little things I do. No big memories, its the little things that matter.
Your omnipresence is so surreal. In the bathroom, as I splash water and it drips down my face, I am reminded of nights I spent at your house. “My second home.” My free space.
As I move to the kitchen, I recall your ubiquitous cookbooks and complex spice racks. My experimental place where I first baked a cake. Mmmmm good times…
Your memory never escapes me.
I remember our “family” get togethers at my place. Mom made her famous Kool-aid punch, you always brought the smoked meats.
Now you’re the second of our family to be gone. The first was my sister gone too soon. Now you, my other mom. Both of you claimed by diseases that we spend thousands on reasearch for but no man can cure.
CANCER YOU GOT A GOOD ONE!
Who would have known this would have been our last summer together.
I took seeing you in the hospital for granted. I never like those places. No matter how friendly the staff- the smell, doors and people suffering puts my stomach in pretzel knots. Nausea surfaces into my throat each time.
But sometimes life makes you do things you don’t want. I wanted to support my mom, your most faithful visitor, and you were there. So I went.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I was a sophomore in college, making good grades, not getting into trouble, but still having fun. I was living the life… if you catch my drift! To put the icing on the cake, I was in love! Not that puppy type love those Bow Wow, Justin Beiber and Lil twist types sing about, but real love! He was my one and only, and I his (at least that’s what he told me).
I can remember the day we professed our love. It was a cool September 3. We spent the night together and I woke up glowing all over and feeling complete. A few weeks later, I began to get sick. Pain shot from every crevice of my body. It felt like my body was working against me, and I knew I needed professional help. So off to the doctor I went.