Yo te busco más allá de la espera
Más allá de yo mismo
Y te quiero tanto que ya no sé
Quién de nosotros está ausente
[Paul Éluard, traducción mía]
It was an uneventful plane ride, but at least I hadn’t bothered to fetch my laptop out of my bag. There was a certain calm to consuming the mediocre movie and snack, and we were entering our final descent when the baby behind us started crying. That’s when both of us quickly turned, instinctively to see where the noise had come from, half stunned, half annoyed. Except that our heads turned towards each other, and for a second we were locked in a suddenly intimate gaze, her eyes still filled with the same curiosity as when she had offered me the seat next to her bag at the gate.
A very small, embarrassed smile creased my lips.
And for the rest of the slow dance downward through the clouds, we had become family. Marianela was her name, and Abuela, whom she had been holding onto tightly for most of the ride, was relieved to find that I was not a stranger, and that I was staying with my parents bien lejos de la area metropolitana. They were going back home to Bayamón, and were amazed that I had the patience to drive the 25 miles out to the sticks. The plane glided to the left as it began to hug the coastline, making its way east to the airport landing strip. As we passed over Plaza las Américas, I teased them about the traffic. “Allí va el tapón para Bayamón.”
Marianela leaned closer, taking advantage of our newly discovered bond, her arms and shoulders pushing up against mine as she strained to take a look at the place she called home.
“Mira,” she said, gesturing to Abuela, who did not move. “Hay tanto verde. ¡Mira que verde es mi isla!”