My mother was a dancer at a brothel; one of her customer was a young man in the service, who was so smitten with her, he wanted to take her away from the streets and bring her to America. So he asked her to marry him. Within a week they were wed in front of a judge.
She came to visit me at the monastery, where she had hidden me from my grandparents kidnapping attempts. I remember that day as if it was just yesterday; it was a cool spring morning. She had come baring gifts for me and the nuns. Beautiful little dresses and a bundle of pink peonies wrapped up in newspapers. I still remember the smell of the flowers, when she leaned down and presented them to me. She stayed overnight, something she had never done before, in the year I had lived there. She told me all about her grand plans for a new life that she had imagined for us, in the new world. She kept reassuring me that she would send for me when she settles in the "new world." Even though I understood everything she said, I didn’t believe her. I was only seven years old, I had already been broken in by the hustle of the streets that my mother raised me in. I didn’t trust anyone. She was my last hope. I remember sleeping right beside her all night. Her lips covered my cheeks with kisses. The smell of the lavender on her hair. She held me the entire night, as if her last breathe depended on it.
When dawn came, the mosquito blanket looked as though it was just smoke covering the bed. Even now at 35 years old, I can still remember the sadness and the heavy loneliness I felt, when I realized she wasn't laying beside me anymore. She was gone. She had left me, she snuck out in the night, without saying goodbye. I knew deep inside I wouldn’t see her for a very long time. The room was empty of a soul. That was the day I experienced my first heartbreak. My first sting. It was painful, brutal, real and poetically etched in my memory, as my first heart break.