Two Unrecognizable Women

May 19, 2017
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There were two unrecognizable women at my sister's graduation party. First there was my sister, with the face of an adult and the smile of a child, who glowed against repressed aunts and cousins. She was mature now. No more teasing me while playing games of soccer. Now she was a woman. I saw him in her eyes and in her hair and in her cheekbones and the way she could never cry when someone said something mean to her. They were etched onto the Earth with the same clay and baked with the same mold.

I knew her. Not enough. But I knew her. I knew my dad.

Flashes from cameras and the bright tinsel of Congrats signs were otherworldly to me. People suffocated me. I was ready to board the rocket ship out of here, my mom's Toyota. Then I caught sight of you.

Glasses, dewey skin, black hair and a short stature. I thought you were one of the distant aunts I didn't know about.

"Take a picture with you grandma!"

Who? You? I could've sworn my grandma was dead or in some far off state that I never been too, but standing before me is my father's own mother. You, a Scorpio, weren't made of the same clay or baked in the same mold.
You looked different. Perhaps it was the smile. My dad never smiled like that. He wanted to be tough. My sister too. They played sports unlike me, who was paler and skinnier than the rest of the family warranting the name "Flaquita" and "Mimi" for my thinness and bug like features respectively. You were small, and didn't seem to demand the same sense of authority my father did. You were like me in a way.

You wanted to take a photo with me but I didn't know. It'd only be to later in the car ride home that'd I'd ask who you really were. I didn't ask then. People expected me to know who my own grandmother was. But that would be the last time I'd see you because you'll be at home in Florida with your husband that I don't know, sending me cards with my name misspelt. No one at school knew how to spell my name anyway.

In just an hour I seemed to have lost any reconnection with the Colombian heritage I was denied of since birth, as my parents refused to teach me Spanish so the development of an accent would not occur. I lost one of the few family members I have left because you had my father at 16.

Maybe I'll be one of the few that makes it out alone, at graduation, from home, and from life.





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