Okay, I admit that our return to San Antonio was not that bad. I had a much worse time during the eighteen-hour roadtrip dreading the homeschooling that awaited, and really, it wasn´t at all what I had imagined. I found out that the teachers worked hard the whole summer to get better organized. There is less chaos now. We humans are like amphibians that transform and adapt to whatever clemencies the atmosphere has in stock. I found that my children are in more Zoom classes and have less assignments, that means more independence for them and more freedom for me. I have not had to Google how to do fractions or decimals. I have not once asked Siri what the hell are obtuse and acute angles. For the first time I have a statement to make: If this is what it´s going to look like the rest of the semester, IT IS NOT THAT BAD.
The trip from Colorado was terrible. The mere thought of all that chaos that awaited gave me a heartburn. I felt that familiar burn going up and down my stomach, like if a tiny elf were inside of me lighting matches in my heart. That´s me. A soul tormented by the future. I forget I am a writer and my head, an extraordinary theatre director, fabricates the most horrific stories, amazingly well crafted thrillers that would give anyone goose bumps.
On our way back we stopped at Great Sand Dunes National Park. We had already been to this magnificent place years ago. Juan has the habit of keeping everything, so when we arrived to San Antonio he found a picture of when we were in those golden dunes twelve years ago. The first thing that struck me was how tiny my boys were. A toddler and a baby, one hanging on my left, the other on my right, like baby chimpanzees clinging to their mama. When did these babies that were so mine become these almost men, these complex human beings? I mean, this picture… it was not so long ago! Maybe because I am a writer I have a very good memory. Juan doesn´t believe me but sometimes, when I see a picture I can remember what I was feeling that day. When I saw that picture I remembered that that day, my tormented soul was working like crazy.
At that time, Juan and I had married not long ago. We had also driven from San Antonio all the way to Colorado, not because the world was upside down in pandemic mode, but because we could not afford to fly and at that time and we were counting our pennies. Our story, like many other newly wed beginnings, had it´s bumps on the road. Juan started a rotisserie chicken restaurant that never really hit it off. I missed Mexico and my family so very much and of all the publishing houses I sent my stories to only answered with rejection messages. At this rate, I would never publish a next book. That roadtrip was long and torturous, I remember that I was knitting a blanket and in my head, it was like I was also knitting a web of negative thoughts with impossible knots.
I would have wanted to have a talk with that young mother twelve years ago. Look honey, pay attention to what I´m going to say to you. All those things that you think are thinking that are going to happen, all those scenarios you have created in your mind, NONE of them will happen. You know that idea that Juan talks about now and then? The idea of the sustainable green houses? Pay more attention, have faith in him… you´ll see him thrive.
Remember that dream you had of living in a very old house? You will have it. That daughter that you want more than anything in the world? You will have her too, a beautiful girl you will name Isabel. You will not only publish a novel, you will publish children books, articles… you will teach classes in schools and detention centers…you will learn how to paint, you will be involved in so many projects that you will blow your mind… big projects….you´ll see… I congratulate you for your crazy, wild imagination, but those scenarios that you paint in your mind, are just fiction, use them for your writings, put them in paper and take them away from your heart.
In no time, this time of your life will be just a memory, like the picture of the Great Dunes. My only sentence in this moment is to be at home with my family, spending hours and hours together, enjoying health, with lots of food, lots of laughter, lots of fights, but together.
How can it be possible that in all this time it had not occurred to me that this very moment, these months of lockdown will become a small lapse in my lifetime where I was closer than ever to my family? We will never be this close again. I don´t know if tomorrow I will become a wicked witch again if anxiety will highjack my head once more, but today, I can honestly say that it is in this home, with this group of people that I choose to be with. Suddenly my enemy is not Covid, not my fears, not even homeschooling… my only enemy is time… time that will inevitably steal this moment away from me very soon.