The telephone call came Friday night, about the time when most of the seagulls in Oxnard had returned home to Anacapa Island. Our cats knew something was wrong. V had been expecting this call since he came to live in the United States. We packed our bag quickly. The cats just stared at us. V, who rarely wears anything, but tennis shoes, told me, " I think I'll wear my brown shoes this time." We spoke little on our three hour flight to Mexico City. We sat with a handful of memories of her and let our airplane food go cold. Most of my memories of her are hand-me-downs from V's recollections. I replayed over and over the time she sat down with V to teach him how to write silla and mesa. I thought of the photograph she gave me where she's standing so proud next to her little boy whom she had dressed like a German little boy from the mountains. V didn't have a smile for the camera. Last July, V asked her to dance danzón at La Ciudadela. He took her by the hand, and even with her bad knee, they danced slowly to the nectar of music.
Perhaps every son should dance with his mother at least once.