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Sticky Sea Water

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Sometimes it engulfs me, a tsunami I didn’t see coming. I am knocked off my feet, swept sideways – left overwhelmed and raw. As white foam is sipped back into the blue, my fingers push up a raw me. Raw but fresh. Fresh and new as my eyes see differences never there before. Its power is deadly, unforgiving, but magnificent. A relative of the Pacific.
Blanca squeezed the lemons into the pitcher of sugar water while we talked about our day. She had done this hundreds of times and would do it a hundred more.
In my family, a broken glass or spilled drink is followed by the exasperated scrape of a chair over the wooden floor, and a stream of loud uncontrolled anger.
“¡Cena esta lista!” Sarah, Sorie, Armando, Blanca and I all sat around the kitchen table eating. Instead of eating his dinner, Boris was absorbed in the complex story he was inventing, zooming his toys around on the table in what I imagined to be a high speed chase. Boris had told me too many times for me to forget: “¡Quiero ser la policia!” Blanca said “Boris, come tu cena” His big brown eyes looked up at me and gave me a guilty grin, then looked down and continued playing. The chase sped up and his tiny hand hit the huge glass of lemonade, already precariously perched on the edge of the table. I winced as it happened and braced myself. Grimacing... waiting... I sat there, heard the glass break, and saw his eyes get wide. The sweet sticky limonada tidal wave splashed all around the kitchen. Undeterred, Sorie continued eating like nothing had happened.
I couldn't help but wonder if this was some kind of saintlike show they were putting on for me. I looked for the hidden scowls and found none.
Blanca quietly excused herself with “con permiso” and Armando handed his napkin to Boris. Blanca helped Boris clean up the mess, sat back down at the table, and continued eating.
Mi familia Guatemalteca was a tsunami. After our time together, I stood up to find a fresh, new-found appreciation for family, their lasting gift to me.
Mostly I cherish these moments. They may be salty, wet, uncontrollable, and unconventional, but when I unlock the door between my soul and my brain I am whole again, one piece.





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