Thursday, December 22, 2016

Te Amo

My Tio. My Luis

The reason this blog exists and someone that allowed me space to be and figure things out. I spent two months in Spain with family I hardly knew at the time.

Made a special trip up to see him this fall cause he had a stroke and wasn't doing so well. He was now 99. 

The first day, I retraced all the places I spent walking over and over including his favorite pastry shop. Hoping he would be glad to see pastries and me but he didn't recognize me or the baked goods. Didn't matter, I just wanted to see him. 

Now confined to a chair, it was a shade of what I remembered and heartbreaking cause he never liked to sit still. 

I looked into his eyes and smiled. Stroking his arm and asking if he remembered me. "It's Penelope. te recuerdas?" A blank stare was returned and I knew he didn't. 

But I kept kissing him on the check, smiling looking in his eyes. Before I left with the last kiss I saw a half smile start to form on his face. Maybe he does...

The next day as, I was requested to come for lunch with the family, his amazing caretaker told me he remembered and had been bossing her around all morning to get ready for my arrival. 

This time he was there. I could see him and he could see me. I had to run to the bathroom quickly so he couldn't see me cry. 

He was fed in the chair while we ate in the kitchen. His caretaker helping communicate between us because my Spanish is so awful and the stroke has hindered his speaking. 

After we finish lunch, I sat next to him doing what I did the day before but this time he's with us. 

My Spanish is shit so all I can do his hold his hand, stroking his arm looking into his eyes saying "Te Amo. Te Amo" over and over again. Cause its the only thing I can express clearly.

His eyes well up with tears and I lose it. 

I told myself I wouldn't cry because its so selfish but can't help it. I run into the kitchen so he can't see me cry, but the caretaker is telling me his grumbly voice is asking for me. She's trying to keep it together too.

I go back and wipe my tears. Put on a smile and hold his hand a little longer. There he is. There he is. In a body that no longer serves him. I'm here. I'm here for you.

As its time to say goodbye, I look back knowing this is the last time I'll see him. Multiple kisses including some blown from the door. He starts to speak. His words may not be there anymore but the tone of his voice is. 

His caretaker tells me what he's saying in English 

"He saying that your visit means more to him than you know." 

I see her tears and can feel mine surfacing again. I blow one more kiss and get safely out the door before I lose it completely. 

I walk back to the place I'm staying at in sobs and can't stop crying all day. I go back to Barcelona and light candles for him in every church I feel something in.

The best one being the crypt of la Sagrada Familia. As I light the candle for him I ask that he can be released by the time it burns out. 

And as much as I want him to stay, I pray he can leave and be free again.

So he leaves on the winter solstice. The darkest day of the whole year and it feels like it. 

There is a sadness for his passing but a celebration too. He's free from pain and can roam again. 

I hope to see him again someday. I know I will. 

Te Amo

Monday, December 19, 2016


"I know its weird to bring a bottle of wine to a massage but do you happen to have a fridge to put this in? I may or may not be going to a party after."

My talented masseuse surely does and without a beat takes it and motions me to go in and strip. 

Regular bodywork, yoga and diet have become my form of health care and its working. I've never felt better.

I go in to remove toxins only to put more in immediately after. I tip, grab the bottle and decide to go to the Sagittarius party I was invited to. 

The communal house is enchanting and seems to exist on a hidden plane in Key West. Strange.

I walk in and ask for the hostess cause I recognize no one. They all gladly welcome me in and ask if I need help opening that bottle. 

Nicole is in the kitchen making her own birthday cake and says she needs to focus.

I pour her and me some wine after we find jars to put it in. Nicole is making a 7 minute icing and she's not sure its supposed to be the color it is. 

"What makes it a 7 minute icing?" I curiously ask. The puzzling face I get in return is perfect and I realize that will have to wait cause her focus needs to return back to the pot.

I go out back under the banyan tree open kitchen backdrop to revel in the mix. Barefoot blonde conch kids smoking, dogs, Dade county pine and a welcoming commune of peeps.

I ask Nicole where the bathroom is. One person points me to the one next to the cake baking. Nicole makes a squinty face and I ask her when that person leaves "Where is a safe place to pee?"

"Upstairs is the "GIRL" bathroom." AKA the clean one - there's even a sign noting that. And it is. 

An open window breeze blowing through home made embroidered curtains makes me think this is a movie set for a southern style film or a horror flick.

As I go upstairs to pee, I pass by an old man with an eye patch in an empty living room completely silent.  

He sits on a couch next to a loaned baby grand piano staring into nothing. I want to take a picture so badly but don't want to make him feel like a freak so I mentally stow that image away cause its so beautiful.

Abby finally arrives sans her wife. Her psychic wife can't come into the house cause theres too many entities. 

Normally I feel that stuff too but for some odd reason this place enchants rather than repels.

Abby's going through some shit so we sit under the banyan tree talking it out. I tell her she needs to turn off her head and laugh more. I ask her if she wants to go to the dark side tonight since Angie's not around. She lights up and responds with a big yes.

There's a new bar in town. Previously a sex club that now serves grilled cheese and has PBR on tap. 

Do you want to go? I ask her. Afterwards we can make our way to the parrot to see the best Led Zeppelin cover band on earth. This is my end night goal. To make it out long enough to see Stairway to Heaven.

We start to make our goodbyes so we can make it to the grilled cheese and Stairway. Nicole insists we stay for the birthday cake. But asks: "Could light it and bring it out to her?"

Of course. We even add singing.

We start to nail the cake with all the candles. 

Abby is tipsy and I give her shit for how she's trying to light them. She returns this banter with a hot lighter on my arm. 

Now I have a semi permanent lighter tattoo on my upper arm to remind me of this evening for the next few months.

Happy Birthday we sing with me trying to get photos but the tree blows them out before I can get a solid shot.

We walk out and into the crazy Duval mix to make it to the bar which looks like a fancy Midwestern VFW and I wonder what went on in this space before. 

Abby is surprised that Angie hasn't returned her text yet and as I look at my phone I tell Abby she texted that message to me instead of her.

As we laugh about it her psychic wife is calling me. She's at the parrot with another friend and I tell her to stay there cause we're on our way to see the band.

Abby and I wiggle our way to the back of the bar and I ask if Angie can sit back here. The question is answered when Angie asks if we can stand outside away from the overhang.

The girls are done but I want to see music so I decide to stick around cause if I go I'm not coming back.

I sit patiently waiting drinking water taking in the people watching show. 

A newly minted 21 year old dude starts to hit on me after a girl who was sitting next to him leaves. He asks me what I do, how long I've been in Key West and is surprised to hear I'm a waitress.

"You don't look like one." he says puzzled. I shrug and nod.

"My old dad just left" he says. "He's 53." 

His mom, who was with probably him, had kindly warned me to watch my purse as a sketchy guy got closer to the window we were both sitting in.

I laugh thinking, I wonder how old this kid thinks I am. And the next question is exactly that. He thinks I'm 31.  

"I'm 43. 10 years younger than your dad." I say with a smile.

No way. Where are you going after this? - he asks


The band finally hits, its not as good as I remember but still entertaining after they finally get the lead singers mic synced so you can hear how strong his voice is.

He looks like a beat up Robert Plant and I wonder how it feels to be pretending to be someone else all the time. The crowd starts cranking up like that RIF in stairway and I'm ready to head out a mere three songs later.

I ride home, drink more water and shower off the entities I collected this evening. 

Lay down, close my eyes and revel in the random float of life I love so much.