I must say that my January fashion obsession has been black tights. I mean, seriously? What’s not to love about them? They’re fashionable and trendy, going with just about anything your little heart desires. I’ve worn them with a pair of denim frayed shorts, a bold skirt, and, of course, a flowery dress. They work with heels, wedges, flats, boots, and whatever else you can come up with. You can dress these tights up or make them casual. It’s your choice! But what I love most is that they are oh so comfortable. There’s no fuss with these tights and you can practically wear them to bed (I haven’t tried that yet though, so don’t take my word for it). So far I’ve experimented with the classic black tights, but also with some patterned black tights (such as striped ones) and I love them all. I highly recommend that you add this to your wardrobe. Talk about a staple item. These black tights will be the key to some of your best outfits to come. They’re affordable and will last you for many seasons to come (as you can wear them year round). Trust me… you will love having a pair of black tights to call your own!
Award season continued with the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, which aired last Sunday. As usual, I was excited to see what the starlets of today would be wearing on the red carpet, but, unfortunately, I didn’t feel like any of the looks were ones that we can look back on 10 years from now as a highlight in fashion. As one of the more playful award shows of the season, you would think that the celebs would take a day to be bold, but instead the majority of famous names played a very safe game. Ultimately, there were a lot of bland dresses that could have used some imagination, while there were some looks that I was iffy about (FYI that is never a good thing). Overall, some individuals pulled out some looks that stood out to me in a generally lack luster crowd. In my opinion, the Glee actresses (for the most part) got it right this time. Naya Rivera, Heather Morris, Jayma Mays, and Lea Michele all passed their red carpet exams, while a few of their co-stars fell just short. Enjoy these pictures of my favorite looks of the night!
My great-grandmother has been the ultimate matriarch figure and I thank her for that. She has been everything from a daughter and a sister all the way to a great-great-grandmother with four great-great-grandchildren to date. Over the years she has proven her kindness and caring nature by passing on her love and affection to all of those around her, mostly through her home cooked meals, feeding anybody and everybody who entered her home.
She has shown her strength and tenacity by surviving each and everyday. She has strived through the death of the love of her life, a son, her twin, and a grandson. My great-grandmother has even recovered from kidney failure and has kept a smile on her face each day. I admire the values she has passed down to me. I admire the skills she has taught me. I admire the incredible fact that she went back to high school to earn her diploma after she was well over 50 years old.
Each day, she continues to give me more reasons to love her and appreciate my close relationship with her. Today, my Mami Tita turns 85 years old and I couldn’t be happier to celebrate this special day. Happy Birthday Mami Tita! ¡Te quiero con todo mi corazón!
Necesitamos buena comunicación
Para tener la propia consideración
En cada diferente situación.
Pensamos en los sentimientos de los que están alrededor
Para no ofender ni causar más dolor.
Yo no soy perfecta
Y he cometido errores,
Pero ¿quién nos dice que no podemos ser mejores?
Podemos aprender de nuestras equivocaciones
Para evitar más discusiones.
Todos podemos evolucionar
Para el mal completamente eliminar.
Mira a Jesús
Quien era humano.
Él siempre fue puro.
Él siempre fue sano.
Claro que había tentaciones,
Pero él siempre controlo sus emociones.
Él pensó en toda la humanidad
Para que pudiera continuar la paz y caridad.
¿Por qué guardamos rencor y es difícil perdonar?
Si él siempre encontró la manera de amar.
Todos juntos tenemos que luchar
Hacia la paz, armonía, y felicidad.
No tengan pensamientos negativos
Y simplemente aman a toda la humanidad.
This morning (EST) the Men’s Finals round took place in Melbourne for the Australian Open 2012 title. After five hours and five sets, the 24 year old Siberian Novak Djokovic defeated the 25 year old Spanish player Rafael Nadal. Neither of the players backed down and showed their hunger for the title, which is commendable on both ends, but, in the end, the number 1 seed defeated the world number 2. I, personally, have always respected Novak as a player and I can’t deny his talent. He won so that just means he played a better game. However, I can’t help but remain a loyal supporter of Rafa. His aggresive play, sheer talent, and gracious attitude all combine to make a player that I cannot help but be a fan of. All in all, congratulations to Novak Djokovic for another big win and I’m still impressed with how well Rafa played! I can’t wait for the next Majors tournament, the French Open in May. In the meantime, Vamos Rafa!
Did you miss Part 1?
. . . . . .
School is a blur. I arrive, take notes, and attend all of my classes, but before I know it the bell is ringing louder than ever in my ears. My holiday weekend has begun.
I walk into my house to find the living room spotless and I receive a strong welcome from the lemon Pledge scent. My mother is sitting on the corner of the couch. I look at her and she doesn’t even notice my presence. She just stares out the window.
Forcing my left foot forward and then my right foot, I approach my mother. I extend my hand towards hers. Within inches of me reaching her, my mother turns toward me making my heart race.
“Home already? I didn’t even hear you come in,” she says ever so softly.
As she makes her way to the kitchen, I find myself following her only to see my uneaten breakfast still on the table.
“How does meatloaf sound for dinner?” she asks.
“Sure. I think I’m going to go take a nap. I’m not feeling too well,” I say.
“Alright, dear. I’ll be right here if you need anything.”
I walk up the stairs still carrying my backpack and I pass my mother’s room. Everything looks the same, but I know something is different. I know that the dragonfly necklace I cherish so much is somewhere in that room. It has to be. I hear my mother hasn’t quite started cooking yet, so I continue to my room.
Time passes. My homework is done, my room is clean, and I have made several attempts to rest my eyes, but the necklace keeps on popping up in my mind. A few seconds later I find myself in my mother’s room in search of that necklace.
The bed sheets haven’t been moved an inch and neither have the picture frames on the top of the dresser. There is nothing but unused space underneath the bed. I check the vanity and all I find are some make up sets and jewelry my mother never wears. The dresser is full of clothes and no sign of what I’m looking for. Her desk drawers are mostly empty with a few sheets of paper and a couple of pens taking up some space. My mother’s nightstand is only home to a few magazines and some lotion. The only place left to look is the closet.
The closet door is closed shut. I stop my investigating for a moment to gauge what my mother is doing. I can hear rushing water from the faucet and I think she is humming to herself as she is rinsing some vegetables. She shouldn’t be leaving the kitchen anytime soon. With at least fifteen minutes of guaranteed time by myself, I make my way toward the door. My left hand makes it to the nob and I feel my arm pulling the door back. Thankfully, there is still no squeak.
In the closet, the clothes, boxes, and shoes are all the same. The bookcase is still there and ugly, but something is different. The bookcase is now so far away from the wall that I can comfortably fit my arm behind it. I begin to pull the bookcase further away from the wall. The carpeted floor helps reduce the noise and I’m careful to not let any books fall. I am now shocked and confused about what lies behind the bookcase. There’s a doorway.
It’s not very large. It’s about three feet tall and two feet wide at the most with a plain curved piece of metal for a handle. I crouch down by the door. Only my index and middle fingers can fit around the handle. The grimy texture of the dusty, dirty metal makes my face scrunch, but I pull it toward me anyways. This time there is a squeak, but it’s not loud enough to be heard over the running water downstairs. I don’t want to take any chances though, so I hurry through the door, trying to not think about the filth I’m walking into.
I’m now on the other side of the door. I stand up slowly until my head hits a hanging chain. I pull on it and a naked light bulb is now overhead illuminating my way. I’m now staring down a narrow flight of wooden stairs directly in front of me. To my sides, are beams of wood outlining the structure of my house and bare insolation. It’s cold and damp. I can smell a thick bitterness that makes me cough and I can only imagine the mold that is growing around me, but I continue walking up the steps, cringing at every creak no matter how small.
At the top of the stairs there is a small room, an attic. The wooden floors are stained with dark round patches. There are several small spots that look lighter in color, but the bigger circles look distorted and almost black. The dark dried stains remind me of the spots my friend Jenny left on the floor at school.
Last year, some boy called her an ugly cow during gym class when she went running to the girl’s locker room. I went after her to make sure she was ok. When I walked into the locker room, I could hear her crying. We were the only two people in there. I turned the corner and I saw her sitting on the bench cutting her arm with a pair of scissors. Blood was dripping down her arm onto the bench and the floor, leaving spots of dark red all around her.
Just the possibility of the dried spots on the wooden floors being blood makes me not want to touch them and verify my thoughts, so I continue looking around. A little past the stains, there is a twin sized mattress on the floor. There are no sheets and no pillows, but there are razors, a whole pile of them. Some are rusty, others are dirty, and the rest look brand new. This is only more evidence for my dark suspicions.
To my left is a long mirror leaning against the wall. It would have been a nice mirror if the top half of it hadn’t been shattered. What is left of it is nice. It is reflecting the dim light coming from a small window on the opposite wall. The light bulb’s light fades with each step I take away from it. The broken glass around the mirror is giving me an eerie feeling, so I focus my attention on what’s underneath my feet.
Through the dark shadows, I only see fabrics. I get closer and I can now make out different items of clothing. Button up shirts, sweaters, and a few dress pants cover half of the floor. From what I can see, each one is torn with holes and loose strands. Each one is stained and it reeks like the boys locker room in a public high school.
I turn for the steps. I’ve had enough of this sick place. There is no way that this place can be a part of my home. My home is clean and filled with light. My home is fresh and filled with love. My mother would never allow such a thing to be so close to her family.
Suddenly, an image flashes to my mind. I now see my mother. She is standing in front of me, but she looks nothing like the woman I know. Her skin is covered in filth, some patches are even bruised. Her arms and face are bloody, but the wounds aren’t fresh. Her hair is frizzy and all over the place. I can’t even contemplate trying to put that mane into a bun. Her teeth are dark near her gums and a few of them are gone. Her eyes are empty. There is no sign of life.
That isn’t my mother, but, in fact, I realize that was my mother. Just after she told me to get rid of the dragonfly necklace five years ago, Mom went running up to her room. I didn’t see her for hours, so I went looking for her upstairs. I found my mother just as I see her now. She was disheveled and hysterical with her life quickly fading away.
I blink again and she’s gone, but my eyes remain just as wide as before and my hands continue to sweat. My heart is bursting out of my chest and for a moment I am frozen. I can’t feel my legs and my arms are motionless. My mouth is dry and I can’t close it.
I rush down the narrow stairs and squeeze myself through the hidden doorway, but just as I finish pushing the bookcase back to its original place, I am frozen once again.
“Sophia? What are you doing in here? Why are you touching Mommy’s bookcase?” asks my mom.
I slowly turn around and I can feel my vision blurring. My hands are even moister than before and my skin is ice cold. I look at my mother and she is not the woman I saw in the attic. She is clean, her skin is smooth, and her mouth is full of white teeth. However, her eyes reveal a hint of the woman from the attic. Her eyes are filled with tears and an expression of angst and desperation. I think I even caught a glimpse of anger.
“SOPHIA! I am speaking to you.”
“I’m sorry. I… I just.”
I have nothing. What can I say to explain myself?
“I deserve some privacy and I don’t think it is appropriate for you to be looking through my things. You have no place in the attic.”
She takes a moment to inhale deeply, looking away from me.
“You know, you could have at least been more thorough with sneaking around and you could’ve closed the closet door,” she says to me.
“Wait, you just said— so those things up there are yours, right?”
“Quite frankly, it is none of your business what is up there. The attic does not concern you. My room does not concern you. First, you wear that damn necklace and now I find you sneaking out of the attic.”
She is now crying and I don’t know what to do.
“I’m sorry. Mom, I didn’t know.”
“You didn’t know? I told you to get rid of that necklace years ago! And you didn’t listen to me, so don’t tell me you didn’t know.”
I want to say something, but nothing comes out.
“So you have nothing to say? That necklace was mine and I didn’t want it around me, ok? You should have listened to me.”
“I just thought that Dad would want-“
At the mention of my father, her tears are now heavier, but her face is softening. Neither of us says anything as she tries to control her emotions.
“Just… I would appreciate it if you didn’t go through my things. Ever since Daddy went away, I really need my alone time.”
My mother wipes her tears away and tries to sincerely smile. She holds my face in her hands and I look at the scars on her wrists. The scars match the wounds I remember. Her eyes flicker to the scars and back at me. Our eyes are now locked and she slowly drops her hands. Rather than speaking, she pulls down the sleeves of her white sweater covering the marks on her skin as her smile fades.
I want to reach for her, but instead I open my mouth.
“I didn’t want you to feel bad. I just miss him and that was the last thing we did together. We went and got you that necklace together before he went to the hospital.”
My eyes begin to flood with tears and my throat is now in agony from the lump within it.
She stares at me and backs away to sit on her bed. For another moment, her eyes remain on me until her eyes well up again and she digs her face into her palms. After a moment, my mother reaches into her pocket and hands me the dragonfly necklace.
I can hear my mother in the kitchen making breakfast. It smells like scrambled eggs and bacon with my choice of an English muffin or whole-wheat toast. She is always up half an hour before me. By the time, I start getting dressed, my mother is already up and ready with my lunch for school packed and the table set for breakfast. She does all of this without one golden strand of hair escaping the tight bun she wears every day and not one stain ruining her favorite white sweater.
While I spend the day at school, my mom usually spends the day cleaning the house and getting dinner ready. Sometimes a couple of friends stop by, which barely happened when Dad was around. Mom always thought that friends and neighbors were just people who got in the way of family time. At least she’s changed her mind about that now. It’s nice having people come over for dinner and parties, but, when Mom isn’t at home playing hostess, she goes to my school for weekly PTA meetings and, on the fourth Friday of each month, she runs the town council meeting. She’s pretty good at making herself busy. My mom seems happy. I’m happy for her.
It’s Friday morning and the last day of school before a three day weekend. My first year of high school has been a stressful one, so I’m grateful for the break. I have my school uniform on. My monochromatic blue plaid dress matches my navy blue stockings and at least my white undershirt helps break up the dark colors a little bit. My six page paper on To Kill a Mockingbird and my completed review packet for the Biology exam are in my Jansport backpack. I finish doing my hair and it’s now pulled back into a ponytail. I’m almost ready for school.
Before leaving my room, I have to put on the necklace Daddy gave my mom for their last anniversary five years ago. Their anniversary would have been today. Daddy had been in the hospital for a few weeks before he passed away and he never had a chance to give Mom the necklace. The doctors said that once the kidney transplant was complete Dad would be home in his own bed within two weeks. Instead, his body rejected the donated organ and I was left without a father.
A few days after Daddy died, I found the necklace along with a card tucked into the bottom drawer of his mahogany desk. I thought Mom would like to have it, so I showed her the card and let her open the little white box. With tear filled eyes, she read the card and studied the necklace. Just as a smile began to creep up on my face, my mother slammed the necklace down letting it drop to the floor and ripped the card in half, dropping it, too. A moment passed and neither of us moved. I don’t even remember breathing. I just remember trying to control my body from trembling and feeling so cold, despite the warm streams that were flowing down my cheeks.
“Sophia, honey, please get rid of those things. I don’t ever want to see them again,” said my mother.
I didn’t get rid of them though. I have just made sure that they stay out of her sight. The card is now taped together and holds a special place in a shoe box at the bottom back corner of my closet. I wear the necklace every day, making sure that it stays tucked underneath my shirt. As far as she’s concerned, I have gotten rid of them.
I put on the necklace and it’s beautiful. The white gold chain shines brighter than the morning Sun, while the diamond studded dragonfly charm reminds me of its endless rays. There’s no tarnish. There are no scratches. There isn’t even a smudge mark. The necklace is perfect.
“Sophia, dear, you’re going to be late,” says my mother from the kitchen.
I have to stop caressing the enchanting necklace, grab my things, and start running down the steps, but I then remember my teacher’s last words from class.
“You must bring in a book that we haven’t read in class no later than Friday. Each student who doesn’t bring one in will have ten points deducted from their participation grade.” The shrill voice made my ears hurt even thinking about it.
My mind begins to race scanning my memory of the house looking for a viable source for books. Dad’s office only has scientific journals and encyclopedias of different kinds and my room is allergic to novels, but Mom. Mom reads every night before going to bed. She has to have something I could borrow in her room.
“I’ll be down in a second,” I reply as I make my way back up the stairs and down the hall to my mother’s room.
Everything in my mother’s room is perfectly straightened and beautifully placed. In the center of the room, is a Queen size four poster bed covered with black and white sheets that have a fleur de lis pattern. The bed frame is a dark cherry wood with intricately carved details. To the right of the bed is a cherry wood dresser with only three picture frames on it. It has been polished so well there is a bright glare from the sunlight seeping in through the window. The room is also home to a classic looking vanity decorated with small trinkets and perfume bottles. Other small pieces of furniture complete the image of my mother’s room, but still no books are visible. I open a few drawers and walk around the room a little bit and still nothing.
While scanning the room once more, I notice the closet door to the left of the bed is cracked open. Why not, I think. With that I begin for the closet door and slowly pull the nob closer to me. The door didn’t even let out a single squeak or creek. On both sides of the oversized closet, clothes hang from metal rods and there are a few pairs of shoes lined up on the floor. The shelving above the clothes are topped with boxes and handbags, but directly in front of me stands an eight shelf bookcase made out of the darkest ebony wood I’ve ever seen with chips and scratches all over. The frame is flimsy and I’m scared to even breathe near it.
I would have envisioned this bookcase to be filled with the classic novels of our country and the modern stories of up and coming writers, but instead it looks like a literature wasteland. There are empty slots all throughout the shelves that force tilted books to struggle just to stand straight. A few of these books are even torn and bent. If they aren’t completely decrepit looking, the books at least have a fluffy layer of dust collecting over their pages.
I pick the most decent looking book, Love in the Time of Cholera. Thankfully, I’ve heard of it, but, unfortunately, I realize that Gabriel Garcia Marquez had over 400 pages worth of a story when he wrote this novel.
“Sophia! Your breakfast,” yells my mother.
“I’m coming,” I reply as I close the closet door and continue toward the kitchen.
“Sophia, my darling, your eggs are going to-”
My mother doesn’t even finish her sentence before her eyes remain transfixed on the dragonfly necklace. Crap! I forgot to tuck it into my shirt. Her mouth is wide open and her eyes are even bigger. She tilts her head slightly to the right before struggling to say something.
“Oh, ho-honey, umm your sleeve! Look at that! Your sleeve is folded the wrong way,” she says as her hand simply rubs my shirt sleeve.
I can’t take my eyes off of her. My eyes stay locked on hers, which are now flashing from my sleeve to the necklace to my face and back to the necklace. She doesn’t look the same. I don’t even feel her touch as I try to understand what is happening. I continue looking for something, something that will bring me back to the mother I have grown to know.
Just as I begin to see my mother again, I notice to the left of her face a small cluster of hair strands flowing freely. No more than ten strands of hair have escaped her up-do and the worst part is my mother isn’t even bothered by it.
I reach to tuck in my necklace when my mother breaks the silence.
“Sophie, dear? Is that the necklace your father got me?” she asks.
“Yes,” I mumble.
“My memory might be failing me, but I could have sworn that I told you to throw that thing away.” Her slight laugh and nonchalant attitude make the palms of my hands sweat a little bit.
“Well, I know, but it was so pretty and Daddy-”
“Hand it over.”
My mother’s voice became tight and commanding. Her thin lips pinched together and she extended one hand out, waiting to be filled with my secret treasure. I look up at her and have no choice but to obey. Soon my neck is naked and my mother’s hand is closed shut.
“Now Sophia, eat your eggs, while Mommy takes care of this situation” she says.
“Umm I’m not really hungry. I think I’m just going to go to school a little early,” I say.
Mom says nothing as she walks up the stairs and I can see her turn toward her room. I walk out the front door before she has time to come back down.
To be continued…