Where could we possibly be going at such an unreasonably early time? My parents were out of their minds putting their child in a car seat at seven in the morning. Wherever we were going was most definitely not worth it. I was tired. I was grouchy. I was five. The drizzling drops of water descended from the ashy skies onto our car. The sound of the thumping drops made me doze off into a beautiful nap. When we got there, I was awoken by the slam of our car door. My mom opened my door and a chilling wind blew through my face. She carried me out and I saw that my other family members were waiting there as well. I was not in the mood to talk to my family. Being the baby of the family, attention was thrown my way all the time. It was pleasant for the most part. But today was not the day for one young Rina. Everyone pointed me out and started giggling at how a child could be so bothered by the idea of being at an unfamiliar place at such an early time. Children aren't suppose to be boiling with anger at that age for any reason. Right? Confusion added to my anger as I wondered why my other relatives were at this place as well. Where are we? Why so early? Is this church? My family doesn't even go to church.
We walked in and the air was filled with a scent that resembled soft soap and berries. I really couldn't complain about it. It smelled pretty great. I still remember the scent to this day. My family members swarmed to the reception desk and were asked for a last name and first name. Elisea, Galacion is what my aunt Lupe responded. That's my grandma! Is my grandma here? Why is my grandma here? We were given a room number. I drifted my attention from the boring adult conversation between the receptionist and family to these gorgeous gloomy glass stained windows aligned against the walls of the building. Shortly, my mother pulled my arm and broke the admiration I was feeling for the colorful windows. I sighed and with that sigh came more discontent.
We began our way to the room we were assigned to. In front of that room was fortunately a room for kids to play in. My mom let me in. There was a huge window that took up half of the wall so parents could walk by and make sure their children were alright. The walls were a salmon color and the carpet was rough and itchy. There were vintage toys aligned on a shelf and more toys crammed in a bin. A mini couch was even placed in a corner with television besides it. I opened the cabinet that was holding the big black box television and there were VHS tapes fixed in a satisfyingly horizontal way. My anger subsided, of course. A young woman that worked at this still unknown place came in. She wore a white dress shirt with a black vest which complemented her black pants and shoes. She was so genuinely kind to me. I was completely reeled in when she asked if I wanted someone to play with. She kneeled down and we started playing with the porcelain baby dolls and had a tea cup party of some sort. She swiped away the angry feeling from earlier. I got attached quicker than a couple who were madly obsessed with each other. This feeling only lasted so long. Moments after, she told me she had to leave. Of Course, my negativity rushed through once again. Why do you have to leave? I asked her. I don't think I've ever felt so much sadness in my short five year old life. Devastation ran through my veins and I immediately started sobbing. My mom came in and asked what was wrong. I explained the betrayal of the abandoning woman but my mom simply rolled her eyes at me and told me to stop crying. She apologized to the sweet lady for my infantile behavior. The woman then kneeled down again and gave me a gripping huge hug. It felt absolutely great. I think that's why I love hugs so much today. However, that didn't stop my aggressive whimpering.
My mom grabbed my hand again and walked me to the room were all my family was bunched up. There was some complex adult conversation going on which I clearly didn't care to understand. I was too busy trying to catch my family members attention with my annoying cry. Everyone was gathered around a bed. I stopped weeping a bit and started forcing myself through the crowd of family members. Abuelita! Why are you here? She was laying on a pearl white mattress with sheets that were reflecting the colorful lights of the glass stained windows above us. My dad carried me up to her and I recognized the scent of soap and berries from earlier on the sheets and on her gown. I gave her the biggest hug a five year old could ever give. Her dried dainty hands covered mine and she tried speaking to me. I was confused as to why my abuelita couldn't speak. She mumbled some words. At the time, I didn’t think much of it. Again, I was only a kid. There was much more to worry about like crying over a worker leaving because her shift had ended or being overly agitated because my parents woke me up earlier than usual. My abuelita had soul and a genuine heart. Maybe I was too naive and careless to see that. It’s never too late to start appreciating those genuine souls.
Once in awhile I pause for a moment and question what her mumbling words were. What if she was telling me that there was a billion dollars inside her mattress. My parents did carelessly throw that mattress away a couple of months later. What if she was giving me the greatest advice a grandmother could ever give to her youngest granddaughter? But there I was, being unmindful about that lost gorgeous moment with that incredible woman. Where could my mind possibly have gone at such an importantly significant time?
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