telling abuela about my backpacking plan, fall 2015

—No vas a ir a ningún lado. ¿Entiendes?

I sat silently at the edge of my grandmother’s bed listening to her scold me one gloomy afternoon. She stood in front of me distracted by her mirror and her curling iron.

-¿Porque quieres ir tan lejos? She asked, looking at herself in the mirror.

-No se, nada mas quiero pasear con los camellos en el desierto. I half joked.

She took the spray can into her right hand, adding the final touches to her masterpiece.

-Ay, Karen. En ves de buscar novio, andas buscando camellos. She sighed through the heavy chemicals.

She slowly unzipped her cosmetic bag and pulled out a half comb, the same sized comb she’s used since childhood, I presume. I’ve never asked her if she’s ever needed a full brush. But even the photographs in her bedroom show a young woman with a man’s haircut. When I ask her why she doesn’t let her hair grow, she says short hair is just easier to deal with. But I don’t think that’s the reason especially when she asks me to carry her ten pound duffle bag packed with different sized curlers, mousse cans, spray cans, and other miscellaneous hair goodies.

-No va pasar nada. I tried reassuring her.

-¿Como que nada mas vas a llevar una mochilla?

I stared at her as she found one last stubborn hair, which needed to be put in its place.

-¿Y como que quieres ir sola? Estas loca, van a pensar que estas buscando problemas.

-No van a pensar eso, abuela. I expressed to an ear, which had long ago made up its mind.

Frustrated, she slammed her comb on the dresser.

-No vas a ir sola. Eso te lo estoy diciendo. She said as she turned to me.


-No vas a ir sola. She repeated to herself as she marched down the hallway.