Dripping River Water


Something on love and marriage May 31, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 11:03 pm
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I have a runny nose today. My first cold in a very long time. I thought I had intense allergies due to a day spent in the Central Valley.  I am not sure how to handle a cold while pregnant.  All I can do is rest.

We were in Los Banos visiting my husband’s grandparents.  We sat in the carport, the coolest place in the house.  Everyone spoke Portuguese except me.  I have only learned to ask for his grandparents blessings, how to say thank you and inshaAllah.  I did learn how to say mint which is not like the Spanish, menta, it is long and now I have forgotten it but when I say it, it is like the Portuguese giving them hope that I will learn to speak like them.

There was a Portuguese parade that we heard coming down the street.  Not their street but the one above it.  Five of us walked to see the girls dressed like queens with long capes like my mami made for her saints.  You only have to be a 1/4 Portuguese, my mother-in-law said.  Her words reminded me that my child will not be completely Cuban.  Or Cuban with a Brooklyn/California twist.  He will be mixed with Portuguese, Romanian and Italian.  I thought of the summers we will need to spend in Florida and Cuba, just like me, but that will probably not be the case.  My son will be more worldly than that, inshaAllah.

My grandparents-in-law have been married for 70 years.  They sit side by side sometimes.  She tells him that he’s cute, he smiles every time he looks at her.  I asked my husband’s mom if they are always like that.  Yes.  Do they ever argue?  No, he always tells her she’s the boss.  And I laugh wanting Adam and I to replicate that.  I don’t have grandparents with long marriages to give him.  My papi was born out of an affair and my abuelo’s wife committed suicide before I got a chance to be born.  On my mami’s side there are stories of my abuelos never liking each other.  They were as opposite as their heights.  Abuelo used to stand to be 6’4 and the last time I saw Abuela she reached my nose.  I don’t have parents that loved each other and seemed to work everything out.  I just have stories that my aunts and uncles have given me about how they fell in love and how they stay in love.  I spent years asking them questions on our visits because I didn’t know it was possible for someone to love me the way they loved each other.

I just saw Julie & Julia and if you haven’t seen it you should.  There is really something to say about having a good partner, one that stands by you even when you don’t stand by yourself.  My husband is on the road now picking up my stepdaughter from visiting her mom.  I texted him sweet words while I watching the movie.  I wished he was watching it with me but I guess this was one I had to do by myself.

Before he left he asked me if I was going to write.  I gave excuses of not being able to write with my head pounding, of being too focused on my runny nose.  He asked about a place I can put all my ideas.  I told him I remember everything.  I used to remember everything but then I got pregnant.  So, I am writing them down.  I am not being stubborn.  Sigh.  I must of done something really good to have such a special mate like him.

the end.


Almost five years May 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 4:07 pm
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The birds sang while I prayed this morning.  I now realize they were awaiting the sun.  The clouds are still there but it is not like yesterday nor the day before yesterday.  The weather shifts in the Bay Area, constantly, I never know what month it is.

I don’t miss the snow.  The ice.  The pollution visible on the ground.  But it is the end of May.  I don’t think it should be snowing in Brooklyn.  At the end of May I used to get ready for the hot summer months.  Train rides and bus trips to the beach, outdoor concerts, blankets on the Prospect Park grass, beautiful people all around.  The humidity used to choke me.  I had short hair for many years.  Short enough for it to look straight.  My hair long and curly gets big in the east coast humidity.  I wonder what it would look like now if I ever went to visit with my white streak in the front.

It is almost five years that I have lived in California.  When people ask me where I am from I hesitate and say, I live in Oakland.  I can’t fully claim it, there are still almost thirty years of Brooklyn inside of me.  Thank God for California.  I wanted to come here since I was five years old.  I am not sure how I knew that California existed.  Maybe it was Hollywood movies.  Sunshine and palm trees, I didn’t know about the LA smog or San Francisco fog.  At five I told my parents two things 1- I was moving to California when I was old enough.  2- I was gonna get tattoos.  I don’t understand how I knew about tattoos at five, maybe it was like knowing about California.  Hollywood must have shown me tattoos.  I got the latter first.  My body with nine pieces of art.  I have drawings of tattoos I have wanted but they are too expensive.  I couldn’t imagine spending that much on myself.  When I got my last one I wondered why I was still doing it.  I guess somehow I thought I would forget my stories.  My tattoos are like bookmarks letting me know where I left off.

In a memoir workshop I attended the teacher, Demetria Martinez, talked about consistency.  I thought about Sheikh Yassir khutbahs about being consistent with our prayers.  There are times that I still fight myself to pray.  These are the moments that I know I am the worst at surrendering.  I am trying to be consistent and I am at least consistent with fajr.  I try not to yawn at this pre dawn prayer noticing the sky change around me.  I committed myself to be then consistent with my writing.  My life revisited after fajr.  I write, mind clear, I don’t even open up my email.  Perhaps then I can be consistent with all my actions, present in the moment, aware of how this world worlds. 

the end.


Making mix tapes May 6, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 5:36 pm
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In my apartment on Ocean Ave, Brooklyn I used to light candles and make mix tapes for friends. I miss that. The double-deck. The stop and go. The listening to the entire song giving me a chance to find another that set the perfect flow. There was a fast side and a slow side. I danced to both. In the orange glow of dim lights and candles I danced with my shadow in the living room. I miss that.

I live on Alma Ave now. Oakland. The avenue of soul. It is here that I began to learn it: my soul. Set in me in my mami’s womb. My story already written. Pulsing through blood and heartbeats. I am a dancer. My body-the storyteller.

Right after I learned I was pregnant,  a positive sign on an old pregnancy test, I danced in the living room to Fela Kuti. I pretended it was louder. I pretended I was in a hot room. Sweating. Hearing horns and drums. Moving my shoulders and hips and feet in all different directions. I danced because I wanted to give my son the chance to dance even before he was a size of a blueberry. I knew he would be a boy. There are times that I truly listen to my heart.

Lately, my body has been tight. My knees hurt and my hands throb. I am thankful for the way I pray. My body stretches praising God. Relishing in the Divine. My time to feel relief. I haven’t been dancing. Not even in my living room. I worry that my child will lack Caribbean rhythm when I’ve forgotten how to move like a Cuban. And then I realize that I just worry. My hormones are out of whack. I end up crying if I think too long about Michael Jackson.

I just paused. Just enough time to hear the leaves rustling in the wind. The birds chirp. The cars go by on the freeway. The sun is shining in my living room. Lighting my plants. Lighting my heart. My pause, a reminder to be present. Not to worry. Not to stress. Remember that I am provided for. I have come to be thankful for everything. Even the sporadic tears. I have not fully let go, let myself surrender. I have to find a way to make mix tapes again even without the double-deck. I have to dance again with my shadow and feel that peace. There is beauty in this change. I have to remind myself. Preparing to have this child is building a foundation on freedom. Like arms and hips and feet moving to all or none of the beats.

the end.


Omar’s heartbeats May 3, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Maceo Cabrera Estevez @ 4:20 pm
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I’ve read about the vivid dreams during pregnancy. The anxiety, the worry. In my dreams are tiny pink preterm babies all on top of my belly with hospital blankets, shivering. My new prayers are to have have this baby at full term, healthy and strong, a smooth labor.

Omar twists and turns in my belly. Soft taps to remind me that he is there. I’ve seen every part of him. His brain, his lips, his arms, his feet. My favorite, his heart. Four chambers beating. Strong. 158 heartbeats per minute. This is how fast he talks to God.

I saw a group of little league boys collecting money for their team. They weren’t really into it. In their uniform they held a bucket not wanting to ask the people that walked by. I smiled at them thinking maybe Omar would want to wear a uniform like them. Or maybe he will run like the high school boys in Joaquin Miller Park, five or six of them shirtless with little sweat. And when I see little boys do what traditional little boys do I know that Omar might not want any of those things. He might want to stay at home to read science fiction and garden with his papi.

I asked my husband if Omar gets bored in my belly. He says, no, I imagine him doing dhiker when he is awake.
158 heartbeats per minute. Continuous. Little time for a break.

Before I got married, before I met Adam my mami gave me the sheets she had on her bed after I was born. The ones I slept on with my parents. I folded them last night and thought about how I want my baby to feel it’s softness and mine. Outside of the womb, in this world, always protected. Mami gave the bowl I ate from and el azabache to ward off the evil eye. I am saving it for Omar, inshaAllah, with the cloth diapers his papi and big sister used.

the end.