The crisp air hinted autumn. The sky azure, darker than sky blue, lighter than sapphire, devoid of clouds. Suddenly, police began to run south. A buzz erupted. “Did you hear? Did you hear?” I walked swiftly through Times Square and held tightly to my purse, aware that scoundrels strike when police are distracted. The buzz escalated to shouts of twin towers. Planes. Fire. Panic gripped my heart. My husband and many of our friends worked at the World Trade Center. Hours crawled before we learned that he and all our friends narrowly escaped the horrors. We were the lucky ones.
I expected rabbits to talk; to be carrot-munching wise guys, waiting for the next pratfall victim. Imagine my disappointment when I first encountered them at my grandparent’s backyard. They were nervous, wild-eyed creatures in wire cages, impossible to hold with thumping back legs. Rabbits were neither Bugs Bunny nor Peter Cottontail. Yet, their thick fur truly was heavenly to the touch. Beautiful whites, browns and every shade between. They smelled bad, though, probably due to the heat and humidity in Puerto Rico. Unlike the fancy church ladies of New York, who wore fur on Sundays, rabbits couldn’t remove their coats.
This summer, two robins formed a nest on the door topper that my brother-in-law had gifted us. A roaring lion head representative of his masonry work. A week after the nesting period, three little beaks appeared, wide opened and silent like the lion. One parent fed feverishly while the other kept vigil. Two weeks went by before we heard the first chirps and the same day, the family flew away.
It has been five years since my brother-in-law left this world. Now the empty nest sits atop the lion topper waiting for new occupants, and we await another heavenly visit.
A Coke and a Smile – Join the Pepsi Generation — The Uncola — catchphrases that captured summer at its best. Nothing beat an ice cold soda on a hot summer day when sitting at my front stoop. Open fire hydrants cooled the steamy tar. Cars honked to shoo away teenagers that anxiously waited to douse them. Abba’s Dancing Queen blasted from boom radios. Mothers looked out the windows to watch their kids striking leftover fire pops from the Fourth of July celebrations. All felt right the summer of Rocky and bell bottoms. Maybe, just maybe, Papo would finally notice me.
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.
The enemy knew McCain came from a distinguished naval family and cajoled him to betray country for personal comforts. He dug his heels and instead endured torture. His moral compass served him well in life. He experienced a momentary lapse, though, when he ran for president and allowed experts to persuade him to choose the palatable beauty as a running mate over the liberal Jew. He quickly regretted the decision and swore never to steer from his convictions. Therefore, when it counted the most for our country, he stood before fellow republicans and casted the deciding vote to uphold Obamacare.