“I Was A Runner!”

mom age 10

She was a young girl. Betty Lou was.

She was ready for the school day to start that day. She was just waiting to hear the warning bell. Hear it blare through the window. Making its way up from down below. Telling her to get her tail down the hill and into class before the final bbrrrrriiiiiiiinnngggg went off.

Ring it did. She grabbed her things. Ran out the door. Down the long slope. Through a tunnel.


My mom was reminiscing about a time in her life. Remembering when she was a youth. An energetic girl who knew how to run. Run with strength.

With Grace.

“I was a runner!” she said with glee. “I ran like a deer. Bounding along. There was nothing stopping my agility.” She hugged herself. “I was great! I just love my young self!” She laughed. Wriggled herself in the chair. Happy with the memory.

Betty Lou ran with confidence. Rounded a familiar corner. Saw the man with his hands on his hips. Checking out his work. Or admiring it. “Did the cement look level?” he seemed to wonder. She didn’t have time to even considered what he might have been thinking. She just kept running. Running.

Stepped right into that square of cement. Splat! went her foot. It only took her a second to decide to just keep going. Getting to school on time was of the utmost importance. She never even glanced back. Didn’t know what the man was thinking.

“He probably stood there, scratching his head, wondering where the foot print had even come from,” she said.

We laughed.

Made some jokes.

Betty Lou made it to school on time.

Not a second to spare.


she’s aged. her body doesn’t work like it used to. it doesn’t flow freely, moving gracefully across the landing. rather, her steps are small, calculated, and painful. yet, she is determined to maintain her independence. holding on to this and that as she makes her way from one room to the next. washing stray dishes. pouring coffee into a small cup. and oh so carefully balancing herself, and her drink, as she makes her way to her favorite chair. where she places headphones haphazardly on her crown, messing up her grandma gray hair, in order to hear the voices on the tv.

IMG_1314when she lies in bed. her mind meanders to the past. remembering things she thought she had forgotten. faces flash before her eyes, and she wonders where they are. what they’ve been doing. she reflects. thinks of herself, as a young girl. a girl who would run down the hills of los angeles. and back up again. she remembers the young woman she used to be. a beauty, admired. she gently cries. overwhelmed with the memories of her past. memories that flood her aging mind.

grandma’s visit

Rudy and I were sitting together on the couch this morning, me enjoying a cup of coffee, him sweating from the overbearing heat filtering through the windows, when he somberly stated, “My grandma Victoria came to me in a dream last night.” I turned my body toward him, encouraging Rudy to continue, to tell me about his favorite Abuelita, who, sadly, passed away when he was 15 years old.

“She was wearing a light beige skirt. It went to about here,” he made a slicing motion across the middle of his calf with the side of his right hand. “And she was wearing a tan colored long sleeved blouse, with fancy ruffles across the front. Which is odd, weird, I don’t know, just not her style. She always wore dresses. You know, the spring kind, with flowers? Bright colors?”

In the dream, Rudy had been sitting on the screened-in front porch of the house where he was living as a teen. His back was to the front door when it suddenly opened, revealing Victoria. He turned to see his grandma, and smiled.

“The top was tucked into the skirt,” he continued, “and she asked me, ‘How do I look?’ I said, ‘You look beautiful, Grandma!’ and then I cried.”

While Rudy was relaying the dream, and the intense love he has always felt for his long gone maternal grandmother, tears flooded his red rimmed eyes, just as it must have happened in his dream.

“As she held my face in her hands Grandma said, ‘It’s time for me to go. I need to go home.’ But this is your house, I told her, you live here too, with us. ‘I know’, she said, quietly, ‘but I need to go home. I have postponed it twice now, Hijo, but I need to go.’ I told her I understood, but I didn’t really. And then I woke up.”

I looked at Rudy, waiting for more.

“I don’t know what she meant about postponing going home twice. I can’t make sense of it.  Or why she was wearing beige. I think it might be because we were just talking about colors the other day, and remember when Liz mentioned something about the beige clothing a character was wearing? About how psychologically colors represent some kind of emotion? So maybe that’s where the outfit comes from. A symbol that she’s been an essential and dependable force in my life? But it’s weird to see her like that because, like I said, she always wore dresses. Very colorful ones. And she was never without an apron at home. I don’t have any idea what the dream meant, and probably never will. My grandma died so long ago, but I do like that she visited me.”

Rudy looked at me. I smiled.

“Anyway, I felt happy seeing her, and my grandma seemed happy and content. When she held my face the way she used to, in a way that I knew how much she loved me, I felt her here, with me.”

His eyes brimmed with tears as he squeezed my hand. I squeezed back.