Friday, October 26, 2012

Stories from Puerto Rico: Laguna del Condado

Mom's head popped up from where it had been pressed to the towel, laying snug against the hot sand.
"Raindrops," she said in her typical way of stating things with such simplicity and such awe in her voice that it's hard to think of her as your mother and not a surprised little girl. Her eye were wide and her mouth curved into a smile but you could see an annoyed roll starting to form on her forehead.
Sydney and I looked up lazily. One fat raindrop plopped onto my open book. As Mom went to put her head back down, perturbed frown still creasing her brow, the sky opened up and within second we were running, towels in hand, for the trees at the edge of the beach.
Many other sunbathers stood panting and laughing next to us under the trees. Many more children had chosen to stay on the beach, or had simply been left behind in the adults' crazed scramble for cover. Their laughter rang even louder than ours over the pounding rain as they ran around the beach. I watched them from under the partial cover of the trees and wondered who was sillier - the adults who ran from the rain or the children who were running in the rain.
As quickly as the rain began it was over and we slunk out from under the trees like children confronting their parents for the first time after misbehaving at school, eyes nervously turned to the clouds and shoulders hunched.
We rolled our towels back out onto the sand and laid down, each assuming their position again. Mom and Syndey on their stomachs, heads on their arms and me propped up on my elbows reading a copy of short stories by Anna Castilla. It seemed appropriate to be reading stories so heavily laced with Spanish words and musical latin overtones as Spanish speaking children ran giggling around me and the man with his ice cream pushcart rang his handbell saying words like "Pina" and "Coco" every so often. He hadn't moved from under the trees and his bell quickly fell into the background of my hearing again.
As I slipped back into my story another fat raindrop hit my open book. This time Mom's head didn't pop up. She simply let out an exasperated "Hey! How rude!" peeking out from under her arm with stormy eyes and a tired two year old's frown creasing her brow again.
This time we didn't wait, we gathered up our things and started walking toward the trees. The rain, not even having the courtesy to wait for our resigned walk of defeat, let loose a second time.
Mom had a habit of "speaking" for animals or inanimate objects and this situation was not an exception. Mom put on her best Spanish accent, because we all know the rain in Puerto Rico speaks English with a heavy Spanish accent, and said, "Stupid lady, I said you're done!" We laughed and washed the sand from our feet as we good-naturedly took the "rain's" advice and called it a day at the beach.
Half way across the bridge toward the hotel we looked back to catch the blue sky and puffy white clouds perched over the beach we had just left. No trace of rain clouds. Mom mumbled another "How rude" but this time only a smile played on her lips.

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