. . .
These pictures are from a restaurant Gera and I like to frequent. In English it's called Little Frogs. I took these just before Gera and I were headed back to the hospital to see Isra.
The greatest times about being home is re-visiting well-known areas. More interesting is looking at the spaces where I grew up, how they have evolved--. Many times Gera and I will be somewhere and someone from either of Latino origin or black origin, usually a girl/ or woman, young or mature, will ask me: "De dondo eres?" or "Where you from?"
Last night when Gera, his sister and I were shopping in Fiesta Food Store, a young black woman who checked us out---and who dropped our tostados twice--maybe it would have been a third time had I not said, "Girl! You break'in our tostados"---said (mind you, not asked): "You black--.--?--" I said "Yeah." She said, "You speak Spanish?" I said "Yeah." She said, "But you mixed? How you learn it?" I said, "In middle and high school." In the meantime, Gera's sister who neither speaks nor understands English was looking at Gera and me because you see, faces can be read---I love the beauty in countenance---faces. Even if a person never says a word, usually their faces will say the world. Will reveal their feelings at heart. Gera of course is bagging our mayo, lettuce, peppers, avocado, cilantro, onion, garlic, tuna, sweet bread and some other stuff we grabbed, and smiling. Again. Then she said, "But you mixed?" I said, "No. I'm black." She said, "Dang" then paid out change to Gera's sister who couldn't help but ask before we made it to our van. "Que digo?" What did she say...
Gera and I mildly laughed because this happens often when we're out, predominantly in Hispanic or African American environments. I've been a curiosity, seen as Puerto Rican, Dominican, even Brazilian (i'm always reminded of my mother when this happens-she, who let me be and who refused to set me on the porch, put me in sun to 'brownin' me). For the most, my culture knows who's who, but of late (the newagers) are really uncertain because there is such an 'of late' mix of races. Really, I don't have a right to say 'of late' because there are those who are really directly mixed and who come way before my time: Booker, Douglass, Berry, Obama, Keys. The funny thing about the two formers is I never saw them as mixed, only as black. Now when I look at their photos, specifically, I look for hints of white. I always see, however, in past and present how beautiful and strong willed they each were. Really amazing figures in our American history.
When I was growing up, there was never a doubt, and Zora wrote about it best: if there is ever a doubt, look at the hair (although I love now that in today's presence there's really not any distinction, any telling...and *it is* rather mainly fun for me, smilingly so, because *I am*--my color--is a product of African and white French history. But, my daughter's complexion told the real truth about my origins, my soul.
I must say Gera and I do have a good time with the inquiries, and I always take note...for possible poetry, writings, LMF entries. And I always hope that my culture's young people learn to learn other languages. There so much possibility and opened windows in doing so.
Other than living up to the theme in the name of the restaurant, I wonder why the artist chose to paint the people's faces green? Of all colors...why green?
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