Once, I didn’t have an income from which to give. I gave five dollars without hands give. I wriggled under stifling summer ropa to free a dollar or two. My hands were tied-up. My hands were busy, heavy, starting to ache from the weight. My hands were sweaty, my body too warm, nothing but a plastic lawn chair to sit in if I could sit. My compadre pulled a cinco from my pocket to put in the bag that we passed. I didn’t have from which to give. I couldn’t hear a thing. My lips were engaging in a language they didn’t well understand. My ears were ringing in Senor‘s and amor‘s and drips of evaporation were tickling the back of my neck. My hands were held up holding. I had no hands to wipe the salt water pouring from my pores. I’ve maybe never been more uncomfortable, in this heat, under the weight.
Once, I held a babe, a little nino baby in a storefront church in Tijuana, Mexico. Eduardo, who I would paint ceilings with within the week, glanced back at his little sleeping boy in my arms, his hands free and coursing through the thick, humid air in praise. He shouted about El Padre, put his arm around the baby’s madre, and let me hold his pride and joy. I gave American bills from overflow of my income-less life. I shouldn’t and couldn’t afford, but I held a boy I loved. I could do nothing but shout and shake my peasant skirt, hands weary and rocking a tiny little boy who, when grown, will never understand una palabra of my love. Never have I been more comfortable in love, on foreign soil.