I had a two hour gap between doctor appointments. Went into work early and left before lunch so when I saw that little Mexican food place tucked between 2 huge chingon businesses, I was excited. The window read, “Homemade Tamales.” I love tamales! I thought it would be like Christmas again. I pictured myself unwrapping that soft corn husk. So I thought I’d stop for take out in hopes of getting a hold of some happiness.
As I looked at the menu, I felt the need to dine alone. I’m not use to dining alone, in fact, I’m not use to being alone because I’ve never allowed myself to be by myself. I’m the middle child, deprived of attention, so yes…I’m a chicle. I love to love and be loved and give love and this I stand by always.
By this time the nice, short, curly haired lady has brought me my salsita with chips, which, AYE DIOSITO MIO…. they had the most delicious salsita de aguacate and the sweetest tea of teas. Made me feel I was a southern bell sitting on my porch, sun shining, in my big floppy wide-brim sun hat. If I died, I would of died happy. I’ve been alone, and I mean completely emotionally alone, for 3 years…Ok, so I lied. I’ve been emotionally alone for 5 days. Its hard letting go of someone who’s been emotionally there for you for so long. I want to justify things but I stop myself because sometimes you have to let people go. One mistake doesn’t change what is in my heart, but a promise of truth for myself determines if you stay in my life. This is something that I am now just learning.
I looked around and I was the only one dinning alone. Between Intocables’s Coqueta playing in the background and my mind running 100 miles an hour…you know, all was forgotten when I realized how good the salsa was and how I had the whole bowl of tostadas all to myself. I was enjoying myself, for once, being alone meant that I can choose which way my life goes without pressure from who ever is around me. I can have the whole bowl of tostadas to myself. I feel guilty, but not from eating the whole bowl of tostadas. The only thing that is really keeping me from crying at this point is my crocodile skin I’ve grown to love.
I heard a pod-cast about soul mates the other night. I always thought that soul mates were our other half, but this lady said we have many soul companions. They are the people who brake your heart so deeply that you learn to be stronger, they are your parents who have made a promise to help us learn the lessons your soul has planned, and then, there are those soul mates that move you…grow you…love you…but only for a brief time…or in my case, 10 years but only to leave when you are at your best. These people help you learn life’s lessons and we have to appreciate all those people that come in and out our lives.
So anyways, I decided to order a tamale….ok, I was going to omit that I also had the flauta plate…. but lets be honest…I wasn’t JUST going to have a tamale…I was starving… .After ordering my flautas I ask for a tamale… Nomas uno, the waitress says. Yes, just one. Then she smiles and says, “Porque tan solito, ordene otro.” The real funny thing is that I always know I’m on the right path because people say the most coincidental things to me. I busted out with my trademark carcahada. And I said to her in my best TexMEx, “Yes, estoy segura…just one…..pero tragame mas tea and chips.”
In my family we all have different roles…la frijolera, la pastelera, la salad-era, la “I’m just going to buy something from HEB”-era, la watosa…but la tamalera is a special gift my 2nd oldest sister holds. She makes the best tamales one can taste. Speaking of her, she is the spiciest Lopez but she has the bigest heart of us all. I’ve seen her care more about people than anyone else but te manda a la chingada if you mess with her family. Not to mention, my 3 traviesos came from her. We would all agree that the best gift to unwrap for Christmas is a tamale, her homemade “Aye que ricos, I just had a dozen and didnt realize it” tamales. That moment when you open the pot of tamales,your pores are instantly opened by the hot steam, your hands are burnt from trying to pull one out because you can’t wait for them to cool…Pulling that corn husk off….tamale sliding out …the joy…
Unfortunately, I was not transported back to that glorious day in Spring 1982 ,when I had my first tamale, because I’m sure that I came out of my mami eating tamales…. This lonely tamale was a disappointment. They lied! It was not a “homemade tamale”. In fact, I thought I was in Death Valley..Pobre tamale was so dry it looked like dry ground. I touched it, and it crumbled.
I was sad…with my tamale…but mostly sad because taking the time to sit and be by myself reassured me that walking away is the best thing for me right now. Not only walking away from people, but from the things that no longer serve a purpose in your life. It is important to surround ourselves with truth and love….not false hope…no matter how badly you want to believe it.
….or how your heart falsely sees it….
Speaking of that, as I walked out I was so upset I wanted to stare the window down because it lied to me with its “Homemade Tamales”…..so I gave it my best squinted eyes …. damn you…shaking fist in the air face and realized that I was mistaken. The window didn’t say “homemade tamales” like I had read when I was starving for food. It read “Homemade Tortillas.” Pendeja!!!!! Then I was just sad because they gave me tortillas and I didn’t even try them.
In the end, I will always miss that part of me but I am no longer the same….I am stronger…mostly thanks to you….but now its up to me to take the wheel.
The tamale might not have been good, but the lesson sure was…