Bessie P. Ríos González

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Baby David

 

THE ARMS OF MY GRANDMOTHER –

“This is the first picture of your uncle, David. He looks so cute,” says my grandmother as I sit beside her in her bedroom looking through a box of old photographs.

I notice that David looks he wants to cry. I also notice that the arms holding him in the background are his mother’s arms, my grandmother.

“Days after this picture was taken, my husband, Benito, took David away from me and gave him to his mother, Mita, because it was her first grandson and she wanted to take care of him,” my grandmother says softly.

I think about the innocence of a baby who didn’t know what was going to happen. His past is black and white, just like the picture. I am shocked too by my grandfather’s decision. How could he be so cruel?

“The years passed. Benito never took me to see him. David grew up thinking I didn’t love him, that I gave him to Mita. When he got married, I was finally able to talk to him and explain, but David refused to accept the truth. My world vanished.”

“When David married for the second time, his wife encouraged him to talk to me. He listened, maybe because he had his own children then.”  Now my uncle lives next to my grandmother and they share wonderful times together.

I gaze into my grandmother’s eyes that seem like pools. She takes my hand and cries, “It is hard to remember these things.  I have never talked about this situation to anybody.”  I cannot stop myself from crying too. As I look at my grandmother holding the photograph of her lost child, I think, “Abuela, now you are in front of the photo, not at the back.”

Reprinted with permission. Mancha… © Copyright, Mancha de Plátano, Inc., Cabo Rojo, 2007. All rights reserved. 

3 Comments

  1. In the few words you wrote, I was able to feel the pain your grandmother has been through… As devastated and sorry I feel right now, I want to thank you for sharing this. I really appreciate stories that are able to bring strong emotions out of me. Once again, thank you 🙂

  2. This story is very similar to my great-grandmother’s story who passed away a few years ago. Her husband took away her only son and gave him to his mother so she could raise him because they were very poor to maintain all of their children. Women on those ages were very submitting to their husbands’ decisions; they were not allowed to question them. It was difficult for her too, but I think that he never understood, because I can perceive that his attitude towards her was cold. I’m really glad that your story has a happy ending.

  3. I have tears running down my cheeks right now. Even though your writing is so simple, you managed to give the precise information for the reader to feel the pain that your grandmother felt. I really liked when you said: “His past is black and white, just like the picture.” , because living thinking that someone rejected you.. is truly a black memory. I also liked how you finished with the idea that your grandmother is now in front of the photo, and she should be happy again. Good work!

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