www.whyville.net Oct 18, 2009 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

My Heart

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I looked at her.

Her skin was shriveled and loose from too much sun. Bones once sturdy and strong like that of an elephant's now trembled, brittle and glass-like. Her wrinkled hands shook continuously, fingertips calloused from hard labor. Hair that was long, thick, and colored like the dark night sky was now cut short and frizzed in storms of gray and white. The simplest of tasks had now become strenuous chores, for even the slightest of movements caused her pain. She stood with her back hunched over, her body small, frail and reduced to the size of a young child's. It was her face, though. Her face was what drew me to her. It was drawn out in heavy lines, each line telling me a story, a piece of aged wisdom. Her lips moved in two patterns, one of which I was familiar with. The other was usually alien to me. Her nose was small, a pixie's nose. The eyes . . . it just had to be the eyes that mesmerized me. Although they were damaged, they held a certain spirit; an untamed, stubborn flame that burned violently, wanting to get out. It was the eyes of a strong, young woman.

Mi abuela . . .

My grandma is strong, definitely stronger than any super hero or body builder. Heaven took her soul mate many years ago, leaving her widowed with five children, one of which was still unborn. She was left alone in a discriminating world, surrounded by a foreign tongue and forced to live in a dirty, crime-infested city. Armed with only a Bible, a needle, and small rolls of thread, she held on to the two things she knew could not fail her: her religion and sewing. She worked as a poor seamstress, trying to not only sew customers' garments, but also her ripped and torn family. She never stopped, even when her body rebelled against her. She knew that if she stopped, everything would be gone and her children would starve. She would spend the few minutes she had to herself meditating, asking God to spare their health for another day, just one more day.

Time passed and her children grew up, leaving her to pursue the goals and dreams that were stolen from her decades ago. They grew successful and she finally breathed, her duty finally accomplished. Soon, the parental order was reversed. Her children, never forgetting about her sacrifice, came back to care for her as she aged. Old habits die hard, however, and she sometimes resisted their outstretched arms, never wanting to show them that she was now vulnerable.

Now she stands in front of me, our eyes locking: the cautious young teenager and the wise old woman. I sense her love and her pain all at once. She is not just my ancestor. She is a part of me, my heritage, my dream, and my heroine.

Mi abuela . . .

Mi corazon . . .


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