Have you seen Babel? The movie was so moving to me, explaining how very small the world is, and getting smaller daily. With the current climate of bigotry, hatred, racism and hostility, I often reflect upon this movie and try to make sense of it all. I cannot, but I try.
I particularly loved the dynamic of the nanny Amelia and the children in the movie, they loved her, she loved them. She spoke to them in Spanish, they would respond in English. It was no big deal, very natural to them all.
I had a little boy I used to look after here in Michigan and we lived an exchange that was quite similar-but I was a teenager, so it was more of a little brother, older sister relationship. The evenings I looked after him (at his house), he knew when it was time to have dinner at my house and would tell me so. He knew the smell of my mother’s cooking, even from across the street (where I lived) and would tell me what was for dinner. I spoke to him in Spanish, he answered in English.
I recall seeing him for the first time of being away from Michigan for years and it was stunning. He had just started his first year of college. His mother made us recreate a picture from when he was a little boy- I had just gotten back from Mexico, and was walking over to his house. He saw me walking up to his house and ran over to me, screaming “Sansa! Sansa!”- his nickname for me. I excitedly scooped him up and threw him on my back. His mother heard him screaming, peeked out of window and grabbed her camera. She captured his delight at having his “big sister” back.
This return from Mexico, he was too big for me to carry, he is no little one anymore. He scooped me up and threw me on his back- no small feat.
My little boy is grown and beautiful now, I am so very proud of him and all he does.
That said, on that particular vacation I was sent face first into a spiral of humiliation and racism that almost made me tap into the worst, most basic parts of myself, the ones that want to knock a bitches teeth out, watch them pick them up their teeth and then drink their blood.
I know you’re saying that isn’t very nice, and you’re right, it’s not.
But I’m not a very nice girl sometimes, in case you’re new here, so there’s always that.
Also, what the hell does that photo of Amelia have to do with this post and/or knocking out teeth?
It has EVERYTHING to do with this story.
So here’s how it started-at a get together, someone asked me how I got to Michigan…