Greetings to you this, the Eve of Christmas Eve. Pepina and Pepinita lie snuggled on the futon, next to an unlit fire, in front of a glowing t.v. screen emitting scenes from “The Sound of Music”, under the faux-wood beams of the Sala Sauve. I sit on the other side of the Suave compound, the East Wing, in front of a glowing computer screen emitting these parsed words, under a framed black-and-white of my brothers (Periodista and Casi Italiano) and I dressed in our snow suits and boots playing in a 60’s era snow drift. We had snow drifts back then, pre-warming of the globe. Technically, sis La Monja was in the picture, as well, buried by her beloved brothers in the snow drift. She was always fun to play with, like a mouse is to a cat, or three.
Yes, these holidays give the Suave siblings a chance to look back to the good ol‘ days when we lived under the same roof, within the same half-acre, blessed with a vulnerable, easily manipulated, relatively light younger sister. We look back on pictures of yuletide past, and invariably find our youngest sibling wrapped in bandages, or pock-marked with bruises, or buried in sand, snow, or other material, smiling wanly in an attempt to feign enjoyment. She put an “s” in sport. Tortured sport.
To this day we enjoy provoking a wince from La Monja by merely moving a limb. Ever game, even as an adult, we have witnessed her don roller blades to blaze down Pepinoville’s steepest avenue, only to stop herself with her face on a lawn. Asked if she was all right, she managed, “Don’t touch me,” in a breathless command, and remained curled up on a strangers damp front yard for a good while, muddy faced.
She has launched herself over Li’l Pepinita’s baby stroller, and landed on the same face on a shopping mall’s asphalt parking lot.
At a cousin’s house, she bounced so enthusiastically on an exercise super-ball, she managed to carpet-burn that same face and incur a mild whiplash, to boot.
She accompanied Pepina and I road biking in Idaho a few years back. Hers was the bike with the handle bars askew, discovered thanks to La Monja‘s test piloting the drunken vehicle down ten miles of rocky Idaho trail. That same face kissed the trail several times, once hitting a flat rock so squarely with her mug, I thought for certain she wouldn’t walk again, dead or alive. She did walk again, straight into a hospital with a head to foot poison ivy rash she contracted from missing the road at times, and falling into the brush.
This season, as we gather together my siblings and I, we’ll see if La Monja is game for some snow boarding. Or maybe a snowball fight. Snow football?
Un hermano fiel,