came and picked me up but I wasn't sure I
wanted to introduce him to my parents, so
as soon as I heard him walk up the front
steps, I went out. We said "hi" but I
think both of us felt a little shy. He
looked cute. His hair was slicked back but
in a way I hadn't seen it
took the bus downtown. I asked him where
we were going but he said he wanted it to
be a surprise. After a short ride, we got
off and walked a few blocks. He took my
hand. It felt nice.
turned the corner at 4th Street and
Presidio and we stopped in front of a
Mexican restaurant. It was called Mi
Familia (I know just enough
Spanish to know that means "my family") We
walked in and there was this big guy with
a smiling face. He had a mustache and
thick black hair, just like Miguel's. He
came right over and gave Miguel a big hug.
Turns out was Miguel's Uncle Carlos and
that Mi Familia is his
family's restaurant! His uncle was so nice
to me and he introduced me to his
daughter, Marita. She wasn't so sweet. Not
mean or anything, just not at all
friendly. I've seen her at school and I
was wondering what her problem was but
just then Rosa came in from the kitchen
and I stopped worrying about what was
going on with Marita.
is Uncle Carlos' ex-mother-in-law (if that
makes any sense). You see, Uncle Carlos
used to be married to Anita, (who was
Rosa's daughter). But Anita ran off with
some other guy a few years ago. Rosa had
been living with Carlos and Anita and when
Anita left, Rosa decided that she would be
better off staying with Carlos, who had
always been good to her. She also knew
that she could be a big help to him
starting his new restaurant. So there she
was very sweet. She took both of my hands
in hers and looked deep into my eyes.
Grandma Webster used to do too. ( I think
it was her way of finding out if I was all
right, without having to come out and ask
me.) Her hands were warm, like Grandma's.
Of course Rosa was much shorter and
rounder than Grandma Webster, who was tall
and tended to be kinda bony, but there was
something familiar about her. Rosa asked
me if I wanted to come into the kitchen
with her and watch her make tortillas. I
the kitchen she told me that when she was
a just a little girl in Mexico, she had
learned to make tortillas from her
Grandmother. While she was rolling out the
dough and slapping it into shape, she
asked me about my family. I told her I
lived with my parents and my older sister
and younger brother. She asked me if my
grandparents were still alive and all of a
sudden I started to cry!
she wiped the corn flour off of her hands
and came over and hugged me. For a minute,
that made me cry even more! But then I
smelled some sweetness in her hair... like
gardenias or something... I dunno, but it
smelled nice. And I felt so safe in her
arms that I just stopped
told me that she could see spirits. And
that my Grandma's spirit was near by! She
asked me if I could feel it. I said I
couldn't. Then she told me to close my
eyes and be very quiet. And she asked me
to listen and to tell her what I
told her I heard something sizzling on the
stove and water dripping in the sink. I
asked her if that was what she meant? No,
Rosa said. "Listen some more." Then all of
a sudden I heard it! It was the sound of
that song from my dream where Grandma was
sitting in a rocking chair picking
sunflower seeds! Rosa said, "Let me hear
the song." That really freaked me out!
Because I wasn't saying anything. I mean
how did she know I heard a song inside my
head? But instead of asking her how she
knew, I just started singing.
here's how it came out:
bird, on the breeze
which way the wind blows
the way the wind flows
is where she rests her
I opened my eyes Rosa was smiling at me.
Remember last week when I said that I
didn't feel like I belonged with my
friends at school any more? Well, tonight,
somehow, I felt like I belonged in that
kitchen, with Rosa. Like somehow I had
found a new home.
a while Miguel came into the kitchen to
find us. Rosa gave him a big hug and told
him to take me out to the best table, by
the window, and she would personally come
and take our orders.
and I went out and sat down. The
restaurant was busy, but not so busy that
it was too noisy. I looked over the menu,
but my Spanish isn't very good so I had
lots of questions about what things were.
I decided on chicken enchiladas and Miguel
ordered a beef burrito. We had cokes and
Uncle Carlos brought us salsa and tortilla
chips to start with.
liked that way I felt being there. I liked
watching Miguel watch me across the table.
I looked at the candle between us and I
thought about what he said. About how a
candle can help guide a spirit home. Maybe
there was something for me at this place.
Maybe Mi Familia could be my