Lost dreams of a broken link – by Estrella Azul

The grandmother sat happily sewing with her granddaughter by her side, chatting comfortably about this and that.

After a while, the machine slowed then stopped.
Her eyes welled with tears as she looked at her granddaughter and said:

“I had a dream about him last night. But this one was different.
In this one I was in the emergency room or somewhere and doctors and nurses were walking around me when I saw your uncle.
He was as handsome, respectable and tidy as when he was in his twenties, but clearly he was as old as he is … or would be… now. Fifty two.

I was so surprised to see him after such a long time.
I asked him how he got to the hospital, has he been there all along, was he staying? But he told me to be quiet now, that he’ll be by my side, that I should rest.
‘We’ll talk later’ he assured me."

The granddaughter listened, not knowing how to respond.

She also had dreams about her uncle sometimes quite a few times dreaming that he came back but she never told anyone.
Her dreams would only bring up unnecessary emotions and maybe unreal hope to her family, especially for her grandmother.

***

She urged the conversation on by telling her grandmother how she also remembered her uncle as a handsome man when he was younger.

“I can just see that one time I got ice skates for Christmas and he taught me to skate on the lake in Central Park. He knew mom didn’t have time since she was cooking for everyone and dad wasn’t around so even though he had other more important things to attend to he cancelled his plans just to spend time with me.

I was just thinking about him, about how we spent time together, how much he loved me, how protective he was of me, even when I had some fights with mom, he was the one who defended me, no matter what."

“He didn’t have any children, but he just adored you from the first moment he laid eyes on you! You are his only niece, his goddaughter. The man has good taste.”

She smiled and squeezed her granddaughter in a tight hug..

“And I remember his jokes, his fun, comical personality, all the laughs.” – the granddaughter continued.

“We had lots of laughs!

But I also remember the person he became after his second divorce…”

“Yes, I know… Holding down a job seemed to be hard for him, as he was in between jobs many times.
He began smoking and drinking. A little at first, then a lot, not taking care of himself, owing money to who knows what kind of people. Until in some sort of vulnerable state of mind he sold the house he lived in to those gypsies.”

The granddaughter looked down at her lap. That had stung she thought to herself… it was my grandmother’s house that he sold. And he didn’t even ask her.

“Do you remember your uncle’s neighbor’s panicked phone call to let the family know what he had done? I think you were the one who answered the phone that afternoon.”

“Yes, I remember. She said that my uncle was apparently asleep in front of the house while the gypsies were taking away all his earthly possessions. I wonder what ever happened to them…”

“I wish I knew. Your grandfather went there in a hurry, but the gypsies flashed a bill of sale under his nose and he had no choice but to leave them to take everything they wanted. There’s no reasoning with gypsies.
He couldn’t even save any of the old photos… so many memories gone just like that.” 

“That’s when my uncle went to Spain, right?” the granddaughter asked.

“Yes, then he was just a vagrant in a strange country, with no money, no place to stay, no right to be there.”

The granddaughter remembered what she had read in some of her uncle’s papers, that he slept on the streets, or in the park, wherever he could find a warm corner and that he had sometimes shoplifted to raise money for food.
He was arrested a few times for this.

She never told anyone what she read. No one else in the family understood Spanish and they never got the papers translated. Only she knew the real reason her uncle had been deported.

“Finally he got deported right before Christmas and was sent home with the clothes on his back, his passport and some paperwork. He didn’t even have an identity card on him.”

“I remember how great that Christmas was. He lived here with us and we could all celebrate together… and then in the first weeks of January he left.

He just left, no note, nothing.”

“There were a couple of phone calls, and he visited again after that a few times in March, or was it May? I don’t remember exactly, but either way spring 2002 was the last time I saw him. All we have now of him are the papers he left behind.

We never heard from him again."

***

No one has really gotten over it, especially my grandmother. I’m sure she’s still hoping her son will just turn up one day as he had before. I think that’s what prompted her dream.
Every mother only wants the best for their child. Just before she started up the sewing machine again she wistfully asked:

“What do you think this dream means? …
Do you think that maybe he is still alive?”

I sat there silently, knowing that we were both wondering the same thing:
if it’s better to know or not to know the answer to that last question?

 

Based on a true story.

 

Note: If by any chance G. T. might recognize his life story in these few lines, please contact me!

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25 Comments to “Lost dreams of a broken link – by Estrella Azul”

  1. I bet everyone tells you that you have a write wonderfully, and I would tell you as well, if you didn’t already know that it is one of the characteristics that defines you :)

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