A Varying Border
some un-seeable force. Being placed, each to our own group oflike colored or minded groups, where the divisive names we toyed with as children took shape. The children then were not the boys and girls they would grow up to be, nor were they the men and women who exist now, they were something in the middle, a place between our childhood identities and those we hold onto now. But then, in those summers and winters before middle school it did not matter and the life outside our neighborhood had no bearing upon us internally or externally.
SooN AFTER MY GRANDMOTHER DIED, my mother took a flight down to El Paso to put some things back in place. My Grandmother's death had stirred things up in the family, raising questions all of her children felt and wondered about. The house in which they had all grown up was to be sold. No child wanted to take on the burden of revitalizing the place. I spent the weekend of my grandmother's funeral, only a few months after my own nineteenth birthday, walking around the house on my grandmother's old plastic walkways, hearing the shuffle of my feet like the sound of my grandmother's feet on the plastic. In the kitchen my uncle showed me how to make guacamole, taking me to three supermarkets before he found the perfect avocados. "Never add garlic," he said, his nose flaring as if in anger. My aunts all watched as he cut up the red onion, tomato, and lime, shaking salt over the mixture. I took my time in the backyard that weekend, moving from the small brick patio my grandfather had built to the grass lawn rimmed with an old grapefruit tree, rose bushes decades old, and grape vines that stretched in and out of the chain link fence. This was a place of hiding for my mother, the field behind the house now a golf course, and a place where I had hid many times myself when my grandparents became tired of the squabbles of cousins. It was months later that my mother bought two roundtrip tickets for my father and her. They would arrive in El Paso with the addresses of family no longer seen. There had been no one from my grandmother's side of the family at her funeral, none of her siblings nor her cousins, only a handful of old nurses like her, their sons and daughters, and us. At the time I was living in Hawaii and listened to long distance conversations about the family, filtered through trans-Pacific telephone wire and my mother's emotions. The family was now fighting with itself over what remained of the estate, a cabin in the Sierras and various pieces of wooden furniture my grandfather had carved from the sequoias near the cabin. In our house hung a gaudy painting, rimmed in fake gold, which had once hung in my grandfather's study. Looking at it I always became depressed, as it offered no link to anything I knew of him or of myself. Summer - Fall 2006
The Literary Digest of the University of Idaho