Tuesday, October 8, 2013

In the Dark

We met in the dark.
In the loud.
In the crowded.                            

Blaring music boomed from each of the speakers. People yelling. Drinking. Laughing. Venice is, after all, the original city of sin and vice. Foreign languages resonated all around the room. I was among strangers, but still entirely in ecstasy. Women wore glittering masks revealing only their eyes. Carnevale was indeed in full furor. Lost, yet at home, I trembled with the uncertainty of what was to come.

Our eyes met for a single moment. The ocean shade swimming in yours flooded my subconscious during that piercing instant. I drowned beyond succor. 

We both knew then what would be. What would never be. It was only a matter of time. 

We knew nothing. 
                We knew it all.

You walked me home. I don’t walk with strangers, but after two hours and a few Spritz you were no stranger. Inexplicably, I trusted you to lead me through a city of winding canals and cumbersome alleys. Your lips encompassed mine by my door, and I knew not where I was any longer. Breathless and vibrant, I forced myself to tear away from your embrace. The intensity of the moment terrified me. You were no ordinary man and this was no ordinary kiss. I knew then I had no escape.

                                               You sought me.
                         I let myself be sought without resisting.

An enchanted world of canals, freedom, and dark nights revolved around us. I strained to conceal the truth of my soul, yet somehow you saw it as clearly as your own reflection.

With you I lived the bliss which comes only with the impossible. Every moment is lived to the extreme. Attraction is love. Anger is fury. Longing is agonizing. A single touch electrifies.

                               But such bliss can be a burden.

It numbs your rationale. It strips you of your judgment. And it leaves you with nothing. 


                                             Fallout is cruel.

It sees only through the eyes of pride. We never said goodbye. We never kissed goodbye. Yet I memorized your face. Your skin. Your hair. Your scent. The taste of your lips is engraved in my taste buds. Stubborn, it refuses to leave. I refuse to forget.

You persist to live in a place where only I can touch you. Even then, you remain untouchable.

After all this time, all that remain are questions:

If I shall never see you again, why do your eyes constantly pierce mine at night?        

If my distant memories are now the only space I have for you, why do you insist on invading every orifice of my mind?     

If you find yourself an entire world away, how are you ever-present?

If the world itself is an obstacle, why do you crowd my subconscious?


I will not forget.
It was in the dark that you knew me and I knew you.
We’ll always have Venice.
Venice will always have us.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Roses in the Spring Water / Rosas en un Manantial

                                   Roses in the Spring Water

Upon looking at me for the first time you failed to see a wrinkled baby born too soon. Instead, your eyes created the loveliest of creatures. A jubilant smile adorned your face the instant you saw how my long, thin fingers mirrored yours. Your arms embraced me in a tight cocoon the way one would hold a porcelain doll: delicately and with all the tenderness love bestows.

Your voice caressed my infant ears with delightful lullabies. Hard as I might have tried, my voice could not resemble the beauty yours emitted. My entire life has passed, yet I still remember every word.
      Golden-haired pretty little doll
      With pearly teeth and ruby lips
      Tell me if you love me the way I adore you
      If you remember me the way I remember you
      Sometimes I hear a divine echo
      Which wrapped within the breeze seems to speak to me…
      Yes, I love you very, very, very much
      Just as I did then, just as I will ‘till death.

I became an adventurous little girl, but you never grew weary of my caprices. You indulged every wish, every dream, every desire of my childish heart. Your love for me was as blind as mine for you was absolute.

We became accomplices. Nobody could scold me, for you would defend me against it all. Even when I would upset you, still you would not scold me. Our love was that infinite.

Distance separated us through my adolescence, yet our love never wavered. My absence strengthened our bond. You continued my confidant, my counselor, my unconditional. My teenage heart dreamed of holding you again, of telling you how much I love you in person, of telling you how much I missed you.

My wish was granted. Once again, I found myself in the confines of your tenderness and reentered the safety of childhood. We knew our time together was limited, yet this certainty placed not a single shadow on our shared weeks.

One fall afternoon, I ran into my house eager with good news only to find the happiness drained from my mother’s face. The darkness in her hazel eyes froze my soul. Tears impeded her speech, yet I knew. Such pain is only expressed through the eyes, not through words. A cold dagger punctured my heart beyond repair that afternoon.

My loving grandmother had grown wings to end her maladies.

I could not fathom living in a world where she did not exist. But, she taught me how to be strong. She taught me how to smile in the face of adversity. She taught me circumstances can always worsen no matter how dire they might seem.

Everybody told me she is in a better place.
                                               Her pain has ceased.
                                                              She is happy now.
I believed them.

Still, a selfishness within me wishes she was still here. I long for her advice. For her jokes. For her smile. It never dawned on me she could leave.

But no. She is not gone. She is more present than ever.

One must only see how my grandmother's likeness is reflected on my mother's face.

I hear her voice hum her favorite song: Roses in the Spring Water.

She brings comfort after a nightmare.
She offers protection from those who seek to harm.
She bestowed the gift of unconditional love.

What else could be expected? The meaning of the name Dora is, after all, “gift.”

She is a gift indeed.

                                       Rosas en un Manantial

Al mirarme por primera vez no viste a una bebé nacida antes de tiempo. En vez, tus ojos crearon a la criatura más adorable. Una sonrisa jubilosa adornó tu cara el instante en el que te diste cuenta cómo mis dedos largos y delgados semejan los tuyos. Tus brazos me abrazaron en un capullo apretado de la misma manera en la que uno sujetaría a una muñeca de porcelana: delicadamente y con toda la ternura que el amor brinda.

Tu voz acarició mis oídos infantiles con canciones de cuna deleitables. Tanto cómo yo trataba, mi voz no podía imitar a la belleza que la tuya emitía. Mi vida entera ha pasado, pero todavía recuerdo cada palabra.

     Muñequita linda, de cabellos de oro
     De dientes de perla, labios de rubí
     Dime si me quieres, c
ómo yo te adoro
     Si de mi te acuerdas, cómo yo de ti.
     Aveces escucho un eco divino
     Que envuelto en la brisa parece decir...
     Sí te quiero mucho, mucho, mucho, mucho
     Tanto cómo entonces, siempre hasta morir.

Me convertí en una niña aventurera, pero nunca te cansaste de mis caprichos. Complaciste cada deseo, cada sueño, cada anhelo de mi corazón infantil. Tu amor por mi era tan ciego como el mío por ti era absoluto.

Nos convertimos en cómplices. Nadie podía regañarme, porque tu me defenderías contra todo. Inclusive cuándo te enojabas conmigo, ni siquiera me regañabas entonces. Nuestro amor era tan infinito.

La distancia nos separó durante mi adolescencia, mas nuestro amor nunca flaqueó. Mi ausencia fortaleció nuestro lazo. Tu continuaste siendo mi confidente, mi consejera, mi incondicional. Mi corazón adolescente soñaba con abrazarte de nuevo, con decirte cuanto te quería en persona, de contarte cuánto te extrañaba.

Mi deseo fue concedido. Una vez más, me encontré en los confines de tu ternura y reingresé a la seguridad de mi niñez. Sabíamos que nuestro tiempo juntas era limitado, pero aquella seguridad no puso ni pizca de sombra sobre nuestras semanas compartidas.

Una tarde de otoño, llegué a mi casa entusiasmada con buenas noticias sólo para encontrar que la felicidad había sido arrebatada del rostro de mi madre. La oscuridad en sus ojos color miel me congeló el alma. Las lágrimas impedían que hablara, pero yo lo supe. Tal dolor es sólo expresado a través de la mirada, y no por las palabras. Un puñal frío perforó mi corazón más allá de arreglo alguno aquella tarde.

Mi amorosa abuela había crecido alas para ponerle fin a sus males.

No lograba entender cómo vivir en un mundo en el cuál ella no existía. Pero ella me enseñó a ser fuerte. Ella me enseñó a sonreír en la cara de la adversidad. Ella me enseñó que las circunstancias siempre pueden empeorar sin importar que tan funestas parezcan.

Todo mundo me dijo que ella se encuentra en un lugar mejor.
                                                                        Que su dolor ha terminado.
                                                                                          Que ella es feliz ahora.

Les creí.

De cualquier manera, un egoísmo dentro de mi desea que ella todavía estuviera aquí. Me faltan sus consejos. Sus chistes. Su sonrisa. Nunca se me ocurrió que ella podría marcharse.

Pero no. Ella no se fue. Ella está más presente que nunca.

Sólo basta ver el rostro de mi madre para lograr encontrar el reflejo de mi abuela.

Escucho su voz tararear su canción favorita: Las Rosas en un Manantial.

Consuela después de las pesadillas.
Ofrece protección de aquellos que amenazan con daños.
Otorgó el regalo del amor incondicional.

Qué más se puede esperar? El significado del nombre Dora es, después de todo, "regalo."

Ella es un regalo en realidad.