I tossed and turned for four nights seeking a comfortable spot. Each time I moved, so did hubby. The mattresses at the bed and breakfast offered no support. A few days later, pain shot down my back straight to my knee. I blamed the mattresses. Felt the weight of passing years bearing down my sagging body. Sadness mixed with fear gnawed my insides for 60 looms too close. Then I remembered the true culprit of the pain. I had missed a step going downstairs. My one leg absorbed the shock while I balanced myself. Relief swept over me knowing this.
I had trouble choosing gifts for myself. I lacked a clear identity that I wished to highlight and wanted to diminish my obvious trademarks, such as thick hair that couldn’t hold a ponytail or thick glasses that hid my almond eyes and emphasized my wide nose. My sister, on the other hand, reveled in choosing trinkets. Clips for her smooth hair, sparkly sunglasses, earrings of every length, lip glosses, chunky bracelets. While she chose glittery items at the souvenir shops, I examined maps and travel books. She learned how to enhance her beauty. I learned about the beauty around us.
Orange flames licked the windows across the street. Fire engines rushed down Tiffany Street. Onlookers crowded our side of the street.
“Ay, ay, ay,” cried Abuelita.
“Get away from the window,” said her son.
She ran to the kitchen and grabbed her favorite photographs. The first was a picture of Christ, eyes upturned, wearing a crown of thorns. The other was a young John F. Kennedy, smiling directly to the camera, his beautiful wife with a lowered gaze. Abuelita clutched both pictures close to her chest and resumed her position at the window lamenting the tragedy unfolding before her eyes.