When I turn on my computer and listen to repeating tunes on Internet radio, I’m drawn to a time when mi abuela sang to me. Night after night, day after day, the exhausting hours of play overcame me, and my grandmother sang, “Ru, ru, ru, ru.” Her singing rattled my senses: her voice was a sobering reminder that she could not sing. I do not mean she did not possess the ability to join words with pitch, only that a dying cat sounded far more soothing. Stirred and conscious, I ran outside, awake but cautious of ever trying to sleep en casa de mi abuela. Her yard, though, a refuge for excitement: a place to exercise my imagination upon the earth and air. Each afternoon, my mother pulled up into the driveway and drove me home where I successfully fell asleep. One afternoon, my mother was late and I had more time to play in the yard. Green grass tickled my feet and toes, the earth dirtied my hands and fingers, the wind whistled and the breeze whispered. I played until the sun kissed the horizon. But still my mother did not come. I panicked. I could not sleep at abuela’s! The sun set, my eyes grew heavy. I marched to her room, cringing at the thought of her singing. She walked in and sat on the bed, sobbing. She wept and sang, “Ru, ru, ru, ru.” I woke the next morning and my mother came to pick me up, said she was at the hospital, said she was sorry, that she would never leave me alone again. But I forgave her because mi abuela’s singing put me to sleep when nothing else could. Ru, ru, ru, ru.
David Aguilar is an English PhD student at Texas A&M--Commerce, researching bilingual interactions in writing centers. He received his M.A. in English from UTRGV and teaches rhetoric, composition, literature, and poetics. Besides a teacher, he is a poet, a husband, and a stepfather.
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