By: Brandy Black
After a few days of glorious bliss at Maroma we decided to venture out to Playa Del Carmen, which was a 15-minute drive from our slice of heaven. I actually debated ever stepping foot out of perfection but since we had not done one touristy thing (our preferred method of travel) we figured we might as well do SOMETHING other than eat, drink, and have sex. So gorgeous hostess #3 called a cab and off we went. The driver asked if I was Susan’s sister and she said “No she’s my esposa.” He laughed at her and said “No, you don’t understand that word, it means wife.” She said “Yep, she’s my wife” and that was followed by “Ohhhhhh” and a long conversation about gays and marriage. When we arrived at our destination the cab driver convinced us to meet him when we were done with our evening so that he could take us home. Susan gratefully complied. I have to admit I was concerned about his kindness.
At the end of the night he met us at the agreed upon corner to take us back to our resort. We began chatting and all was fine until suddenly the driver took a turn off the main drag on to a small dirt road.
My heart began racing and I grabbed Susan hard. The road was dark. Susan asked him what we were doing and he said “routine check.” I started shifting around anxiously and desperately eyeing Susan to do something fast.
“’Routine check’, man?” she said. “We didn’t do this before. What’s up?”
He was quiet and than he began laughing. This was the moment that I had been dreading. Here we were, completely helpless, driving away from any possible safety. My life flashed before me. We went silent and watched dirt spraying from the sides of the car. Suddenly we saw a small shack in the distance with a plain-clothed man standing with one hand on his gun and the other on his hip. The car stopped. My breath stopped with it. The man nodded at our driver. Our driver nodded back and began laughing maniacally and then the car started to slowly pull away. My heart was pounding and Susan began talking again.
“What was that?”
“Really? That’s pretty strange.”
“It’s for the tourists’ protection so that they can make sure you’re ok.”
We began to see the main road again. I took a deep breath and tears fell from my eyes.
In what felt like hours we were back, safe in our villa. The trip was near the end and it was as if our dreamlike state was disappearing before our eyes. I got Montezuma’s revenge and Susan got mosquito bites all over her body. We checked out, Susan paid the bill, and we kissed the beach goodbye and took the longest plane ride home, Susan itching the whole way and I racing to the bathroom every 5 minutes. We arrived in Houston for a layover and stood in a long line with our passports in hand waiting to re-enter the US officially. We had filled out our paperwork on the plane for the border patrol and decided that since we weren’t married legally and we were entering the fine state of Texas, we would not mark the “married” box so, sadly, and against our vow to be forever out as wives, we checked the single box. The line to the border check-in was long and I was dying for the bathroom on the other side. We finally reached the stringent bald-headed man at the podium and handed him our passports and papers. He looked at them carefully and asked Susan “What is your relationship to one another?”
Susan paused, looked at me and then said, “She’s my wife.” He looked me up and down and ripped up my paperwork. “Then you only need one of these,” he said to Susan “and tell your wife to wear sun block next time.”
It was the perfect end to our honeymoon and the perfect start to our new life.
By: Brandy Black
A couple weeks ago Susan and Sophia came home from the children’s museum in Pasadena “Kidspace” with a caterpillar. It was in a tiny container with food on the bottom. Sophia ran around the house yelling “caterpillar, caterpillar” while Susan handed me the directions and explained that we were going to take care of it until it became a butterfly.
I studied the phases of growth very intently and explained to Sophia along the way- “the caterpillar will eat all of its food until it gets big and fat, then it will crawl up to the top of the container, hang vertically and build a cocoon around itself, we will wait and then build a house for it out of a shoe box, transfer him and watch from our homemade window until he becomes a butterfly.”
Each day we would carefully stare at the container until one day he hung in his cocoon, we got our shoe box and decorated it with a sunshine and leaves and flowers on one side, a couch and table with a window on the other side, a moon and stars on the another side and polka dots on the final side- design by Sophia. When he was ready, we moved our sweet, cocooned caterpillar into his new home. We waited for quite a few days until one morning I peeked through the window and the cocoon was broken, I hollered for everyone to come and see and we gathered around the box with the flashlight and there we found our beautiful butterfly. It was amazing to watch it form before our eyes. Sophia now ran around the house yelling “butterfly, butterfly”.
I imagined this being a spring tradition for our family, to watch the life and growth of a butterfly as we enter into a new blossoming season.
We fed it sugar water as instructed and a couple days later it was time for our release ceremony. We all went out to the backyard and opened the box and watched the butterfly, it flapped its wings twice and stopped. Susan carefully placed a stick by its body and the butterfly hopped on and she held it in the air, the butterfly flew off the twig only to tumble gracefully to the ground. He gathered himself and began flapping again but this time going nowhere.
“Maybe it’s not time yet,” Susan said.
I rummaged through the instructions. “It says the butterfly can’t stay in the box longer then 4 days and it’s been 3.”
“Let’s give it another day,” Susan said, placing Dumbo (yes that is our name for him) back in the box.
The next day we all went into the backyard and prepared for the final release.
“Goodbye butterfly” I said.
“Goodbye butterfly” Susan said.
“Bye butterfly!” Sophia yelled.
It went nowhere, it did nothing. Susan coaxed him on the stick and this time placed him in the tree, he flapped but didn’t fly. We debated keeping him in the box for another day but opted to follow the instructions we were given.
“We’ll check on him,” I explain to Sophia who at this point doesn’t care about Dumbo any more.
At dusk I ask Susan about the butterfly and she says, “Oh I don’t know, he’s gone.”
“Oh good” I say, relieved that he’s not still stuck in the tree.
Then, Susan looks at me awkwardly and looks down at Sophia and back up at me.
“I found a wing” she says, subtly.
I gasp. “What?” feeling tears well up in my eyes.
“Did Sophia see anything?” I say, trying to remain collected.
“Yes” she says laughing uncomfortably.
“Why are you laughing?” I say as tears begin to stream down my face.
“I don’t know, it’s not funny, I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know what I did wrong, I did everything, I followed the instructions” I say, sobbing. “I just don’t know what happened, I can’t believe it…I killed him” I whisper.
Sophia all the while was playing with her toys oblivious to our conversation. I sat crying for a few minutes until Sophia noticed that mama was sad, she came and hugged me. I wiped the tears from my eyes and went on with the night as if nothing had happened.
We lost a butterfly this week and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to raise one again.
By: Brandy Black
I love the days when I am thrown back in time to memories that I have always cherished. I heard Sophia banging on the bathroom door shouting “Mom, OPEN the DOOR, MOM”.
“I need my time in the bathroom Sophia, go hang out with Mama” Susan pleaded from the other side.
Sophia ignored her and banged until a little piece of paper slid beneath the door and Sophia giggled, she slid it back and this continued as I washed the dishes and spiraled back in time.
My father and I were inseparable, whenever he was home, I wanted to be with him and when he would try to take 5 minutes of alone time, I, like Sophia would plead at the bathroom door. He would create games with me, songs, whistles, notes from beneath the door to occupy my attention while I waited. I didn’t care what he was doing I just wanted to be around him. I coveted our weekly breakfasts at McDonalds, I with my pancakes, he with his hash browns, talking about anything really. Just my dad and me.
I couldn’t help but think that this might be a memory that Sophia will hold in her heart for years to come, something as simple as slipping a piece of paper between the door and the floor to her mom.