an armada of Armida
Updated: May 30
And now, my dear grandma, was taking care of me. She was waking up in the morning and driving me to the North Hollywood Metro station. Even writing that, it feels weird to see in words, the two worlds together. The North Hollywood station on Chandler and Lankershim--the end of the Red Line and the beginning of the Orange--had been my own little secret, my private exhilarating spot--my freakish nexus of religious zealots, animal-rights pamphleteers (who you avoided eye-contact with, lest guilt come spewing out your eyes), sundry shady-looking people (usually with a dirt bike), snack vendors (who gave every indication that they were lovely people), and the occasional shy Bernie Sanders white college kid campaigner (who avoided eye contact with you, though you would use one of your sparsely-doled quick smiles to people in public to them so that they knew they were doing a good job [you couldn't just walk around cracking smiles anywhere, it made you susceptible to you-name-what]).
No one who knew me in the entire world, knew that I walked through places like the NoHo station and I don't mean that as some classist and/or racist assessment of "a place like 'that.'" What I mean is that, I have walked through a lot of places that most family members who actually know me apparently have never fathomed, and I glean this by how much they what-feels-like overprotect when I'm around them. Like with Nana. When she insisted she drive me to the station in the mornings, I fought it as long as I could--also because, perhaps I liked having secrets. However, the fight didn't last long. Nana would wake herself up before me, and I knew it because I could smell the distinct scent of reheated microwave coffee as I first opened my eyes in the morning, and I'd come out from the one bedroom into the living room, and see the formidable outline of her tiny body sitting in her chair, watching her favorite shows in the dim dawn light (her favorite shows were always on, somehow). Though we did not get to ever spend a lot of time with each other, when it was just the two of us during those couple months, she treated me with the level of protection that I'd only heard about as a stereotype of Latina mothers. Ay mija, *gasp* Hwhat are you doing, going outside with wet hair, you're going to get sick, as another example. In that classic, beautiful, sing-songy cadence that I have only known in my life as hers.