Dé Máirt, Feabhra 06, 2007

A rememberance of sorts

Her house sits at the end of the block, accross Front street from the tracks. The inside is covered by paintings of Jesus, the Virgin of Guadalupe. She came here some years after being married at fifteen.

Her current house is the newer one, she's had it for over fifty years. She had eight kids, two died on another side of town. I was there to see her husband dying, he died slow and hard. He had been a strong man right into old age. Her grandaughter too, thirty years old, didn't smoke, didn't drink, stomach cancer, and left herself to the care of the North Platte doctors. I was there on her last night, with her grandmother, she begged me to let go of her arm so whe could tear her oxygen tube out. She stayed seven hours longer than she wanted to because of me. I was fifteeen and only knew what the church told me. I wore tie-dyes, smoked pot, listened to loud music, still I was fundamentally a child accepting what I was told about right and wrong. I'm sorry Julie.

The old woman has a basic understanding of the world around her. She knows that Mexicans are moving into Lexington. To her this means Goya, Valintina, all the brands of home. Nothing but Univision at the house, her accent forever as thick as boiling chocolate, her exclamations (never curses) forever in Spanish. She can understand you perfectly well, better than she lets on.

She knows what corruption is. She knows you don't get married young here, you go to school instead. That's what her kids did, went to school, than got married, than to work at the railroad, construction, plumbing. Her grandchildren, as often as not, didn't see the need to finish school. Pregnant at sixteen, just like home, only with know idea of what to do about it.

Adapt to our ways. She did that as well as a mayfly to October, no one dared say a word against her.

Her house is a block from my mother's and I don't know if she's still alive. I see her grandchildren around and exchange a few words, it doesn't seem right to ask. She would be over ninety now.

I'm a man now Elisa. How's that great-grandchild I used to cavort with?

You taught your family those things that are true forever it's a shame. You wern't meant to see this.

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