The story so far:
I remember the day the news came. The sunlight filtering through my window finally got me out of bed, even though the rooster had woken me up long before. There are so many details of that morning that I can no longer remember, but I’ll never forget that light. So clear, so warm, so alive. (Querido amigo, te has marchado y se quedó tu luz. Dear friend, your light remains long after you are gone.) Every time I see a sunrise like that, it brings back memories of that day. It seems like just yesterday....
The last remnants of sleep banished by the bright sunlight, I rolled out of bed and made my way downstairs. As usual, the exquisite smells of my mother’s cooking greeted me. How I would have survived without her expertise in the kitchen and unfailing care of me long after I reached marriageable age, I will never know. My mother tolerated my ravenous appetite and imperfect table manners for years until I found a wife to take over those duties.
This morning was no different from so many others. My father was already sitting at the kitchen table, sipping the spiced coffee whose rich perfume filled the room. My brother and younger sister had beaten me down the stairs and were busily devouring the food heaped before them. They barely noticed me as I trudged into the room. Busy at the stove, as always, my mother managed to notice my presence in spite of the racket of the TV and set a plate in front of me before finally serving herself. All five of us were seated at the table when the phone rang.
Not a surprising event, given that we were surrounded by curious, gossipy neighbors who were constantly calling Mama to give her the latest news or ask for the best remedy for a baby with a cold. That, and my two married sisters called home often, usually wanting to share their babies’ most recent accomplishments. I couldn’t understand how they seemed to spend more time talking to Mama now than they ever did when they were at home. Of course, Mama couldn’t have been more pleased. "Elena just said her first words today," she announced, bursting with grandmotherly pride.