Sunday, May 9, 2010

Cuando las abuelitas lloran

A veces cuando estoy con las abuelitas empiezan a llorar y me hace preguntar cómo son sus espacios adentro. A menudo me parecen como niños - meciendose con emoción mientras esperan que vengan sus padres, riendose unas de otras por sus cabellos chistosos despues de la ducha, o rogándome que les traiga chicle la próxima vez que venga. Pero cuando lloran así, de repente y tan fuerte, me acuerdo que su piel arrugada indica los años. Un niño llora por lastimarse el dedo, por perder su peluche, o por depertarse de una pesadilla. Las mujeres ansianas lloran por sus corazones que nunca fueron remendados, por sus hijos perdidos, o por sueños que faltaron complir.

"Eres tan bonita," me dicen, "tan alta y joven con cabello largo y ojos verdes."

Y son los ojos verdes que hacen la gran diferencia. Soy la unica allá con ojos verdes. Eso es lo que indica que soy gringa. Lo que indica tal vez nunca experimentaré la tristeza que tienen ellas. Tendré comida para llenar los estomagos de mis hijos, un esposo que no me pegue, y sueños, sueños, sueños. Sueños para llenar el espacio entero en que nos sentamos. Y no solo tengo y tendré sueños, pero tambien la oportunidad de complirlos.

Sometimes when I am with the elderly women they start to cry and it makes me ask myself what the spaces inside them are like. Oftentimes they seem like children to me - rocking back and forth with emotion while they wait for their parents to come get them, laughing at each others` funny hair when they get out of the shower, and begging me to bring them gum the next time I come. But when they cry like that, suddenly and so strongly, I remember that their worn skin really is an indication of the years they have witnessed. A child cries over stubbing their toe, losing their stuffed animal, or waking up from a bad dream. Old women cry over hearts that were never mended, lost children, or dreams that never came to be.

"You are so pretty," they tell me, "so tall and young with long hair and green eyes."

And it is the green eyes that make the big difference. I am the only person at the elderly home with green eyes, which is what indicates that I am a gringa. What indicates that I may never experience the sorrow that they have. I will have food to fill the stomachs of my children, a husband that won`t hit me, and dreams, dreams, dreams. Dreams to fill the entire space we sit in. And not only do I have and will I have dreams, but also the opportunity to realize them.


  1. Jenna-

    I LOVE reading your posts. They are always so beautiful. I love seeing the world in Bolivia through your eyes. They are so lucky to have you there! I hope you are well!

    from the Joe :)

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  3. Having studied on the bluff long before you were born, I recently had the pleasure of reading your marvelous essay "A Home in the Rain". Yes, life will surprise you by how unpredictable and kind it is. Remember that bit of wisdom. It is more true than you can possibly imagine.

    Google brought me to your blog so that I might see how you are sharing your love with people who need you. Blessings upon you, Jenna.