Sunday, March 7, 2010

Weather or Not (Richmond, VA)

This is what weather is supposed to be: 60-ish degrees, the sun shining brightly, pure gorgeousness even at 8:30am.

Suddenly, memories of being snowbound and gagged fade. I grab a light, bright pink jacket, step outside, and a smile slips into place. I want to dance in the streets. But not the streets where I live; I would be squashed like a bug on the windshield of a passing Volkswagon bug. So I head to my zumba session instead.

Two hours later, after shaking my bones loose to the Latin beats, after showering and dabbing my lips and cheeks pink, I sail out the door to meet my Colombian daughter and granddaughter at a bookstore cafe. I plug in and power up. I purchase a green tea with coconut and wait for it to cool down. I feel so relaxed that I can hardly believe that it is me or I or anyone else I know inhabiting my body.

I raise the cup to my lips and burn the hell out of them as the steaming beverage catches me in a mini-tsunami.

My grandmother had asbestos fingers. She could reach into a hot oven and pull out a casserole bare handed. No blisters, no burns.

I, on the other hand, have scars on both hands, arms, and (most likely, thanks to the boiling green tea) face, the result of accidental mis-fires. Maybe I need to be intentional, like the yogi who walks over beds of nails or red-hot coals, like Nana, who never used a potholder or oven mitt. Maybe I must overcome a fear of frying.

My familia arrives. I. is the distillation of cute: big eyes heavily lashed and exuding intelligence, teeny pink and white polka dot sneakers. She'll be five this month and is full of confidence and wonder.

Once we were at a dance club together, my "adopted" daughter and I. An obnoxious acquaintance walked up to us and I introduced C. as my daughter. He looked us both over: the coffee-skinned beauty, with thick, glossy cascades of black hair and flashy, flashing deep brown eyes; and me, freckled, pale skinned, curly haired, blue eyed. "You look alike," Mr. Obnoxious says.

"Actually, she looks more like her dad," I say, as we roll our eyes and walk away.

Now I. and I discuss our favorite princesses before her mom and she depart. After they replace I.'s outgrown wardrobe, they'll meet me at an art gallery opening.

In the meantime, I'll tap out a few words, then close up the lap top, and emerge into the perfect brilliance. I might even dance in the parking lot.

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