caminante haciendo camino
god speaks; too bad no one understands what he has to say
2004-05-06 | 12:39 a.m.

Well, it looks as if Nana isn’t getting hitched after all. Only I’m not sure if she realizes it, because she didn’t understand god. Yeah, I realize that doesn’t make any sense. So let me start from the beginning.

This is the story as it has been told to us. I’m not sure how much is true and how much is a grain of truth exaggerated by repeated tellings over time. But my great aunts confirm at least the major points.

My maternal grandmother, Nana, was the oldest of three sisters in Sonora, Mexico. She was “promised” to a young man who was serving in the American military. He was sending her money so that they could be married once he was out of the service. According to Nana, Armando was her first and only love.

Nana’s sisters took to teasing her about being an old maid. Apparently being single at twenty or so was cause for concern. Nana, in her infinite wisdom, decided to show her sisters that she was by no means on the shelf. So, ignoring the fact that she was in love with Armando, she instead married the first thing with a penis to cross her path. The lucky groom was my grandfather.

According to the story, when Armando returned from the service he went looking for her at her brand new mother-in-law’s home. She was nine months pregnant by this time.

Nana and Tata were married for close to 60 years. They were miserable. Not miserable in the yelling and screaming and hitting and throwing way. Just quietly miserable.

They had children, bought a home, built a family. But they were still miserable.

Sometime in his sixties, after he had retired as a diesel mechanic with an Arizona mining company, my grandfather took a job at a mining operation in Colombia. There he met a woman. The job came to an end and he eventually came home. He brought the woman as far as the U.S./Mexico border. His affair with her continued until his death in 1998.

I can’t completely fault my grandfather for his infidelity. My grandmother has always been a very cold and unloving woman. Oh, she did all the things a good wife was supposed to do. She cooked and cleaned and made his lunch every day and had his coffee ready when he wanted it.

But she’s always had a very loathsome view toward sex. Sex, to her, was ugly, bad, sinful, dirty. So, I imagine that their marriage was pretty much devoid of intimacy. In fact, my grandfather once told my mom that, in over 50 years of marriage, my grandmother had never kissed him on the mouth. How sad.

In any case, the point is that neither my grandmother nor my grandfather knew much happiness in their married life.

A year or so after my grandfather died, Nana began talking about Armando – how he was the only man she ever loved, and that she wondered what happened to him, and that she prayed to god for him to let her see Armando just once before she died. On and on, she talked about her “one true love.”

Because I’m a disrespectful smartass, I couldn’t keep from commenting to her how curious I found it that she didn’t give much thought to her “one true love” when she ran to the altar with the first available man in order to prove to her sisters that she wasn’t an old maid. She didn’t appreciate the obvious wisdom in my commentary.

She kept nagging her daughters that she wanted them to find Armando for her. All she knew was his name and that he had moved to California. My mom humored her, telling her that they were looking on the internet, etc. Do you have any idea how many “Armando M”s live in California? Lots. We knew we’d never find him. It was impossible.

Well, last October the story took a very weird turn. Out of the freakin’ blue, my Nana gets a call from Armando. Apparently, he had been told several years back that she had died. Last year, after his wife had passed away, he went to Nogales in order to find my grandmother’s grave and leave some flowers. That’s when he learned that she hadn’t died and that whoever had told him that she had died had probably confused the news of my grandfather’s death. So, Armando, the “one true love” tracked my grandmother down through one of her sisters.

Nana, of course, was positively giddy. He flew in from California to see her. And before we knew it, they were talking marriage.

At first they were going to be married before the first of the year. Then it was delayed because Armando’s priest told him he should wait until a year after his wife’s death. That would have been February. Then the wedding was going to be in April. It was postponed because Armando hadn’t told his kids about Nana yet. Last weekend, my mom and her sisters were supposed to fly to California with Nana in order to meet his family. He cancelled at the last minute.

I’m fairly certain that he’s just playing her. He’s telling her all the pretty words she wants to hear – he’s never stopped loving her, he’s never loved anyone the way he loved her, he want to marry her, etc., etc. But he strikes me as a player. Yes. A 78 year old player. It’s a frightening thing to behold, let me tell you.

But there have been several things that he’s done that have just bothered me. First, at Christmas, Nana was all excited because he kept telling her that he was bringing her a ring. Naturally, after all the “I’ve always loved you, let’s get married” talk, she assumed that he was bringing her an engagement ring. Instead, he gives her his wedding band!!! Yes, the son of a bitch gave her the ring that his recently deceased wife gave him as a symbol of their marital bond! This just struck me as horribly wrong. My mom, Yesenia, Rich, and a few other family members thought the same; but most of them thought it was an extremely sweet gesture. What?!?! If I had been married for over 50 years, and not even a year after I died, my husband gave his wedding ring to another woman, I’d be coming back and haunting that bastard’s ass! He’d never have a peaceful night’s rest again.

Then there’s this whole business about him not telling his kids. I mean, if he’s really serious about getting married, and getting married soon, don’t you think he’d have mentioned something to his children?

So, basically, after he cancelled last weekend’s meet and greet, everyone is fairly convinced that he’s just playing my grandmother, telling her what he knows she wants to hear, with no real intention of following through. Bastard.

This is where the conversation with god comes in. My grandmother is a deeply religious person. A christian fundamentalist of the worst kind. But, despite her judgmental attitude, bouts of hypocrisy, and religious repression, her faith is sincere. She believes in god (of course, she believes only in the god described in the bible and only in the way decreed by the bible). She prays and believes that her prayers are heard and answered.

So, after the weekend went up in smoke, she was outside praying and asking god to tell her what she should do – if god wanted her to, she would give up marriage to Armando, but if it was his “will” she’d marry. This is what she said happened:

Nana: Les juro, por Díos, que les juro. Me hablo Díos. Oí como un trueno fuerte. Y sé que fué Díos que me hablo. Les juro que me hablo Diosito. Pero no le entendí.

I swear to you, by god, I swear to you. God spoke to me. I heard a loud thunder. And I know that it was God speaking to me. I swear to you that God spoke to me. But I didn’t understand him.

Me: .:hysterical laughter:.

Mom: ¿Comó que no le entendiste?

What do you mean you didn’t understand him?

Nana: Pues sí. Me hablo Díos, pero no le entendí. No se que me dijó.

Well, yes. God spoke to me, but I didn’t understand him. I have no idea what he told me.

Me: .:more hysterical laughter:.

Call me an unbelieving heathen, but is seems to me that if the Almighty is going to take time out of His/Her busy schedule to audibly speak to you, the least He/She could do is provide you with a translator. Or some writing on the wall. Something. Anything that you can actually understand.

So, according to my grandmother, god had something profound to tell her about her on-again/off-again marriage. It was important enough that he rang in his answer to her prayers with thunder. Unfortunately for her she didn’t understand a damn thing god had to say.

Me: .:still laughing hysterically:.

* * *

Frontline recently reported that, according to Bush, he stole sought the presidency, because god told him to. I wonder if Bush had the same problems understanding the voice of the Almighty that my grandmother did and what god actually said was “stop being an asscrack” instead of “go and be president.”

If that’s the case, Bush obviously got the wrong message, because he’s most certainly still an asscrack. I know it doesn’t fix the problem, but it seems to me that an unequivocal apology is in order. Rumsfeld’s “Oh, my goodness, any American who sees the photographs that we have seen has to feel apologetic,” is simply bullshit. No, asshat, it’s not “any American” that needs to apologize, it’s you and your idiot boss that both need to say “I fucked up and I am sorry.” We call it personal responsibility.

* * *

Speaking of asscracks claiming that they act at the behest of god, wouldn’t this be ironically sweet? I wouldn’t hold my breath though. I don’t think we could get so lucky as to have Roy Moore throw his hat in the race.

Listening To: the drier thumping along
Reading: diaries
Feeling: amused

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