Mind of a Dreamer
Rice and beans would never be served in this new house.
She would not sully the off-white, semi-gloss kitchen paint.The ingredients required were too strong. They would stick to the wallsand declare their identity in front of company. It would leave spic lingeringin the back of their throats, burning mojillo into their nostrils.
The spice-laden walls would scream "arriba arriba we arrrrre latinos" at everyone who entered.
Or so she thought.
She never really understood the American dream.If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then a dream must be in the mind of the dreamer.
This dream mandated that she trade in her Goya and aji, for Rice-a-Roniand Stove Top Stuffing. There would be no meals that took hours to make and years to perfect. No intricacy, no delicacy.
All recipes would take ten minutes or less.
All seasonings would come in neat, factory-sealed, pre-packaged little packets.
The titles would read two-second meatloaf, on-the-go casserole, out-the-door shakeand bake, no-time-to-breathe brisket. She lived a microwave-safe,just-add-water existence.
She never understood the American dream.If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then a dream must be in the mind of the dreamer.
She no longer spoke Spanish, and forbade us from it also.She put a channel block on Univision, and Telemundo.We could still watch the Playboy channel; it was in English.
She took extensive, expensive classes to try to get rid of her accentbut she never rrrid herrrself of the rrrolling R.
She said if no one heard us speak Spanish they might assume we were something else, something better.
We weren't even allowed to eat Taco Bell because it might arouse suspicion. She informally changed our name from Rodriguez to Rodrig.
My name was now Jose Arturo Miguel Rodrig.
She had crippled us. We didn't have any roots to stand upon.She tore out a living Papaya tree and replaced it with a store-bought plastic apple tree.
She didn't understand the American dream.If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then a dream is in the mind of the dreamer.
I never told her I bloodied my fists on the faces of those who assigned me names I did not identify with.I never told her that I put hot sauce on everything in an attempt to keep the latin inside me burning.
I did not tell her that my dream of America embraced all the things I am.
That it builds upon my past, instead of trying to pave over it.
For what good is beholding beauty, if you see yourself as ugly. What good is a dream if you're not in it.