Friday, July 16, 2010

Novela Watching Grandma Who Fortells the Future

You could say that I am a little obsessed by the supernatural, I can’t help it. You see, it runs in my family.

She runs down a deserted beach, the sun setting on the horizon. She looks back, her dark long hair gets tangled around her face and she stumbles. Driven by some unseen force she gets up again and on shaky legs takes to running again—she is begins to cry and wipes her tears with the back of her hand.
In the distance, his horse kicks up a cloud of sand, and in no time catches up to her. She looks back and stumbles again. In one flawless move he dismounts and catches her. She beats her fists against his bare chest; he draws her to him and kisses her. She slaps him and shouts something in that passionate language—Spanish. He smiles that crooked smoldering smile… she relents… [we sigh] they kiss and kiss some more.

“I wish I spoke Spanish.” You may say still riveted to the screen. “I wonder what she was so mad about?” You sit down, still watching—you are sucked in—just like my grandma.

My Spanish grandmother spent her time doing two things…well three—she did two of them at the same time. She could tell the future and she watched novelas while she embroidered—the latter being an excuse to do the watching. I used to think she was weird and boring, but time has given me the opportunity to appreciate her life. In fact the older I get the more appreciative I am of her quirky influence. For one, I still have a table cloth that she embroidered and every time I pull it out, I wonder "how many hours of novela watching did this take?" The other thing I have grown to appreciate is her ability as a foreteller.
I still remember her bending over me, declaring certain things about my future…things that came true. I know what you are thinking, “Novela watching grandmothers can’t tell the future.”

Well… mine could. One of the times that stands out the most in my memory, happened on a stormy afternoon in Buenos Aires, where I grew up. She was visiting with us for a few weeks, my brother had invited his girlfriend to dinner and she lived in the other end of the City. He was anxious, because she was taking way too long, and in that pre-cell phone era, all you could do was sit and wait and bite your nails. She was in fact two hours overdue.

My brother paced in front of the window, lightning and thunder echoed through our house. My grandmother, more like a fixture than a member of this solemn group, embroidered in one corner of the room; lit by a single lamp.

My parents tried to offer hope, but my brother was full of reproach for himself, for not meeting her at the train station.

“She’ll be here soon.” My grandmother declared from her corner.
No one turned or said anything.

“…And she’ll be wearing something pink.” She added.

We turned and looked at her, half mystified, half believing. Not five minutes later the doorbell rings and my brother opens it. There, underneath those see through extra curvy umbrellas, was his girlfriend—wearing the only pink thing she owned in the world.

My grandmother had never met her, or talked to her. She didn’t know that my brother’s girlfriend disliked pink, and that this sweater was the only one she had.

My foretelling grandmother had a gift. She was wrong about a lot of things, but never about the future as she saw it through her gift.
Some say that these gifts get passed down, generation to generation…and they have.

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