ANGEL WITH A GUM

By Rosalva Ruiz

It was back in 1986 when my family was involved in a car accident. There was a bus full of people who helped us get out of our truck and laid us on the road. Although my vision was blurred by red stains, I saw her, my angel with a gum.

She may not know that she and it kept me mentally stable while watching my unconscious mom on my side covered in blood. On my other side, my sister trying to cover her pain with her arm on her eyes, biting her lower lip, laying there, as her legs were covered in blood as well. People surrounding us, whispering in disbelief as if we were some freak show from a roadside circus. And my red blurry eyesight that stung as I was watching it all.

She may not know that with this little piece of gum, she showed me the empathy from a stranger that I thought was long lost.

She may not know that thanks to this little piece of mint, I was able to breathe while my headache lessened and washed the iron taste in my mouth.

She may not know that it was thanks to her that I let the police officers take me and my sister into their car. It was thanks to that gum that I sat without a fuss while the doctor stitched my forehead.

And the most important of all, it was thanks to that gum that I did not despair when a doctor took me into his arms to see my shocked mom screaming, “Where are my daughters?!”
This invisible me in her eyes understood her state; yet I still cried while chewing that gum.

I have always wanted to say thank you; however, I don’t even know her name or where she is. The only thing I know is… The bow in her blouse made me think of angels wings.

Hopefully this time with this anecdote I can finally say,
“Thank you, my angel with a gum.”

* This is an anecdote I wrote for the “Mcallen Public Library Anecdote Day Contest.”

It will be held on July 5th, 2020 If anybody is interested on participating here is the link.

Soap not Soap Opera

My soul
Has tasted dirty waters
Of the unconscious leaders.
There is a need of soap
to wash it away
Not this soap opera
That’s filling our minds.

A soap with the aroma of love
With the texture to exfoliate
The impurities of hate
Leaving our minds
With empathy and resilience.

Let there be peace
Let there be joy
Let others be alive
Let’s recognize
Lets mourn those lives.
And above all
Let’s keep
ourselves safe.

Spring break of March

Back when the day stopped
In March our world had a break
We stopped and breathed
And others stopped their breaths.

A march was on the way
Of no hugs in display
The love was in the air
Yet disease was also there

Unconscious walls were built
The unseen were feared
Robbed we were
Violated as well

The gods were no where
The scientists were busy
The teachers were learning
The kids were struggling.

It was left open
Our lady is broken
Her flame is gone
Nowhere to be found.

Alone in distance
In distance we face our whole
And the earth is healed along.

The extinct are now seen
There is a new color to the eye
A new horizon is in sight.

The forgotten letter

I still remember when my dad got a hold
Of my third love letter. He decided to encrust it on a piece of wood.
Of course the deed didn’t end there, to embellish it, he wrote,”Hija de tigre, pintito.” Which is a proverb that simply means “The daughter is like her mother” of course, he meant it playfully. 
There is a saying in english that means the same with different words.
” the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

On top of that, there were little flowers around it and a small heart on the bottom. I was so embarrassed and didn’t understand the love that my dad put into making that piece of art.
I was barely six, so if you see horrors in my grammar and spelling, you can imagine how it was back then (terrible).
Now… back then, in the middle of our home, dad had a small canteen. There were sculptures all around, from a David to a Moses, he also had some wooden sculptures, most of the wooden ones were either from animals or people from different ethnic groups in Mexico; and of course, just entering the place, that maybe 20-year-old-round piece of wood was hung for everybody to see. He was so proud of it that if people didn’t pay attention to it, he would tell them about it. Of course, at those same moments my embarrassment skyrocketed. 

Now days I laugh about it, but back then it was a thorn piercing my ego. I used to believe in the element spirits, I still do, but back then it was like a law. Somehow, I believed that by throwing my love letter to the ground in front of my house, the wind spirit would use its wind to take it to my beloved one. I do wonder who actually got to see those two letters before the third one. This third one was written on a memo pink paper with my mom’s business logo. I barely finished it, but my mom called me and I forgot it in my dad’s canteen; Hence the all the dilemma afterwards.

The last time I got to see my dad and was actually able to talk to him, I asked him why did he do that with the letter?
He started smiling and said, “It was the first time I saw you write a sentence. It made me proud.” I didn’t get it back then, I guess at 15 years old, one doesn’t understand the deep meaning of things.
However, now days, whenever I remember that forgotten letter, it fills my heart with joy and makes me cry.

Queen of the jungle

Have you ever driven with four kids? Just to give you an idea
As soon as I start driving, the two-year old starts crying
“Please, teta, teeetaaa!” Somehow I grab the backpack from the backseat
Prepare the bottle while driving with my knee
Yes my knee, and pass it to him stretching my arm to the back.

“Mom! Oh no! I’m dying!”  My sixteen year old screams.
Of course, he means in the game, IN THE GAME!
Then again, by inertia, I turned my head as he leans
He is next to me playing again
“Easy there,” I tell myself, breathe 
Reasons, there’s too many, starting with four.
Soon after, there’s a scream from the backseat

“Dude, chill,” my seven-year old tells my 4-year-old
And he keeps screaming for God knows what 
Yet my seven-year old covers his ears and yells “mom, tell him to stop!”

“Breathe”, I tell myself again while turning off the music
Listen boys, if you all don’t stop it now
Even your dinner will go to the sink
So, do you think they listened? Of course not!
Screaming and yelling, of course my two-year old after finishing his bottle joins the chorus
Inspiring enough to think that this is a jungle. Monkeys, exotic bird and even cicadas
Nothing out of the ordinary… “Breathe,” and finally an idea popped up.
“Guys if you keep at it, there won’t be any nintendo switch for the weekend.”
Silence… Finally no buzzing, no humming nor chirping, for how long? Who knows? let’s enjoy it while it lasts.

Hurricane (memories)

Galileo Galilei what a great name
But the one I must talk today
Is about the Galileo huracane.

We were shut at our house
And our visitors were refugees
My little kitty left for the day
And crying I was there
My old other kitty
A lady to the top
With purring and caresing
All the way to my nose
Took away my sadness
And we waited for our furry friend.
The wind, rain and thunder
Gave me a scare
However, with this little lady
My day went flying away.

After the doom was past
Drapped to the soles
While miawing with all its lungs
The little kitty came back to my door.
So lady and I as well ran to the door
To welcome our little wet furry friend
With all our love.

Our friends left for the day
To find their houses
Demolished by the hurricane.
Family and friends
Together gave a hand
To build up a house
After this great tempestad.

Once again love prevails
Our friends without a house
Are now with one
That’s when one sees
The humble and greatness in people.

During devastation
We always get together
And once again
The sun comes out of desperation.

El Camino Sigue…

Se nos va entre los dedos
Esta existencia con esperanza y anhelos
Se nos va sin ni siquiera un adiós entre sueños
Y el camino sigue sin descansar
Como si al pararse el reloj dejara de funcionar.

Se nos va el aliento al opinar y desear
Se nos quita la dicha de odiar y amar
Nos dejas un hueco
difícil de llenar
Y a la vez con memorias
difíciles de olvidar.

Si, se nos va la bondad
difícil de expresar
Remordimiento maldito
Que encadena nuestro pesar.

Perdón exhaustivo
al alacrán ponzoñoso
Cesan las muertes
Cual aguijón extraido

Se nos escapa de las manos
Su existencia se extingue
Se lo llevan de nuestro lado
Y Dios lo recibe.

Aun pidiendo justicia
Aun pidiendo que reviva
El camino sigue
Y su tierna existencia
A pasado a ser divina.

Borders, Echoes within

As I was waiting at the international border a thunder was heard,
A flock of birds flew from below.
It was not just a blast and silence,
But an echo that went for miles in violence.
And you might say… How would you know?
It was the movement of the birds, wouldn’t you say so?
Soon after, a group of teenagers came running to Mexico.
Some were white, others were black, and a few were brunette,
But the Asian one got my attention,
For he came walking with no perturbation.

That got me thinking… how deep are our borders?
Some are for intruders, others for robbers,
Others for the undocumented and the unwanted,
Then again, those are but physical borders.
What about our internal borders?
They seem to be constructed since our childhood.

Some were born from our parents views over the years,
Yet others were born from our very own fears.
People seem to be walking in between walls,
Some are much more equipped than most of us.
I guess it’s because of their jobs.
Some others are just for show,
Maybe because of their internal disputes
Over their own glow,
And let’s not forget the glasslike ones,
They show themselves as they are;
However, you can’t even leave a speck,
Or else they’ll wipe it on the spot…
Others are spotless, but internal screams will echo within.
I sometimes wonder which is my border, have you?

There goes my coffee

One is but seven humble and smart
Sometimes cold and uneven, yet pulls the others around
The four year old comes with a spark
That lightens the room no matter how dark
And the baby on set the smartest of them all
Peace bringer and singer, yet crazy and tall.

My house is their jungle, the sofa their campsite
They march with a puzzle towards the treasure on site
They went under the mountain and into the sea
Leaving puddles and stains all over the place for momma to see.

Beware of big momma she’s decided to hunt
The messy explorers who stepped in her turf
After the yapping and zapping defeated they returned to their site
And decided to gamble it again and try.

And there they were like three generals
Making their plan, to where? To the pantry that’s where
A basket of cookies on top of the shelf
As if they were rookies that were their biggest aim.

Putting his foot on the first seven climbed up to the third
A can of coffee was there and the cookies tambien
Who would have thought that four was on guard,
For mommas in sight and a big scream came outright
As for seven and baby? Startled they got
Baby started crying and momma screamed on the spot.
Seven lost his grip; he then grabbed it and fell
You can imagine my face going insane.

Forget the prose, forget the third person spell
Just take a look, the kid!
No wait! Forget the kid, that other thing!
Aaand, there goes my coffee…

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