Colombians are prone to embellishment, to taking a story and making it even grander. It was Gabriel Marquez, the famed Colombian novelist, who proclaimed, “To Colombians, life is a stage.”
My mother has entered a delightful stage of dementia. Delightful in the sense that her already Colombian tales of life have become even more entrancing. We pick her up on the weekends, and she spends the day at our house, where my three boys and I spread her favorite blanket across her lap, much like a ceremonious draping of an ermine wrap across a queen’s shoulders.
We settle her in with Mexican cocoa — hot chocolate with a pinch of cayenne — which she sips slowly, blowing softly across the steam, and when she leans forward to set her mug down, we know we are about to hear, The Theatre of The Colombian, Part Six; where she will pick up where she left off, when she was here last.
“You know,” we all turn to see what she will floor us with today. “I had to say no when Fidel Castro asked me to marry him. Yes, he acted one way in front of our government, but I knew… he was not going to grow into a nice man. And look, I was right.” My mother reaches for her hot cocoa, blows and sips, sets it down, and begins again. [Read more...]