IN THE MIRROR
Ever since you left, I see fragments of you in the mirror.
That glint you had in your eyes every time you did something mischievous, like when you began to grill chiles on the parilla, knowing very well we’d all start to cough, throwing the windows wide open and running out into the hall while you smiled to yourself over the stove, unbothered—I have it here. The lines you had around your mouth, the curve of your brow, your lips. I see you in the jacket I am wearing, your eyes in each button, your smile in every stitch. I’ll probably wear this until I burst through the seams, just because you were the one that gave it to me.
Even the way your hair used to flow—or rather, stood up, so straight it stuck out as if a storm was approaching—I see it in that woman there, the one I’ve become. I wear it in braids too. That’s how you tried to tame it back then, before it fell out and you began to wear those hats you’d knit.
You appear in my earrings, the purple ones you gave me the last time we met. Did you know you were going away back then? It seemed that way. You pulled out your jewelry box and offered me jewels by the handful. I regret not taking them all, but you see I didn’t want you to think I was greedy. You insisted and I refused, now I wish I’d taken everything, so that I could have more of you. I never got enough.
Now, Mom insists I look nothing like you. As she grows older and becomes your carbon copy, she tells me I’ve always taken after my father’s side of the family. And maybe she’s right and this is only wishful thinking. Maybe I just don’t want to let you go.
Mi abuelita querida, quiereme mucho. Even if you’re not here anymore
Alejandra Medina is a Latina writer and current undergraduate student born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, California. Her work has been published in several literary journals, most recently Unpublished Magazine and Lucky Jefferson, with other publications forthcoming.
"El Dia de los Muertos is an opportunity to reconnect with family, both living and dead. People are expected mourn their loved ones but we hardly ever get a chance to celebrate who these people were when they were alive and well. That is what this holiday is: the celebration of life, that which has moved on to a different realm of reality, and that which still exists here."