Saturday, April 13, 2013

flordacana notes: being fed honey-spread by an old Cuban woman in the health food store

In one of the strip malls--actually no--there are still strip malls in West Tampa, in the old Latino part of town where my family used to live. But in my mother's Lake Ellen neighborhood, the strip malls are puffed up, rounded, they are shopping centres. With the t-r-e just like that. Facades for jovial chain  marketplaces and rows of SUVs outside of them.

In one such centre, at the health food store today, I met this older Cuban woman who looked like Sean Penn in this movie about the aging, somewhat hermaphroditic seeming, rockstar:

Maybe  she still lives in West Tampa, behind Macarena Plaza or Fiesta Plaza--the strip malls--or maybe she is not really Cubna but El Salvadorian or from Venezuela. I've been gone long enough that I am having a hard time with distinguishing the accents.

She was  a sample-giver. The person in the food shop who prepares little tasties for you to consider. She was selling a salty, cinnamony crushed almond, honey spread. She artfully used a tiny spoon to  spread it on a thin chip, on an apple, she spread it on a piece of red cabbage sprinkled with coconut and onions. And she leaned over and popped all these things directly into my mouth. It was because she noticed my hands shake, as they do when I have to try to turn my wrist to take small items from someone one else. She said, here let me and then, the bites were going into my mouth.

There you go, baby! Delicious!

Here you go, mama! Isn't that good!

From any other type of person, I might not have been able to open to this. From my own grandmother, no. But a strange, theatrical, aging Cuban woman in a black lace dress (though it is 90 out already), yes. You can be baby and mama with women like her and there is a charge and  a care that has nothing to do with being patronized and everything to do with the crushed, sweet, thick substance of that culture. Of meeting each other with gusto in that moment.  Somehow, when she fed me these treats, and everyone in the grocery store saw her put them in my mouth like it was the most common thing, to hand feed strangers, she made me feel nurtured and powerful at the same time. Some magic she has. I wanted to follow her home, to know everything about her. I felt that if I went with her, I would immediately start to have a Pedro Almodovar life.

on Twitter

, where this blog lives now. because it can be read and posted to through that app, one-handed, on my back, by a body of water, or in the cool olive green light above my mattress. This is articulation my spine had not dreamed of before.

My blog lived on Tumblr for a minute

because it is so much easier to access from my phone. fallinginrealtime.tumblr This is the feed. No, I don't like it. I can't add another virtual box. I'll make due with Twitter.

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