The Sun was just rising behind the back mountain when I opened my eyes. The shadows casted by the curtains on my window were swiftly moving from wall to wall. There was a light breeze, that was bringing not only a sway to the fabric, but also the smells of my home: the maize field, rich with earthy aromas, wet and thick, full of life and mistery; the animals that my family kept close to home, both as friends and as helpers in the harshness of life in these mountains; the rich essence of the marigolds under my window, that my Abuela planted for me to guard me from bad dreams.
I stepped out of my cot and the cold dirt floor welcomed my feet. The feeling of earth on my feet is one of my favourite things. After saying my morning prayers, I came into the kitchen, separated only by a small thin veil of handwoven fabric. My Tia Alicia gifted this fabric to my mother when she got married, and since then it has been the shadow that separates in two our small hut in the forest. I looked at the kitchen, small place of gathering, and found the leftovers of yesterday dinner being refashioned into something super delicious. I love my mother's cooking, and I can only hope to be as good as she is one day, when I grow up, to recreate the flavours and the amazing textures that she imbues into all the simple dishes she feeds her family.
My mother was nowhere to be seen. Our dog Pinto was sitting by the door, licking the paw that one of the neighbour's donkey kicked the other day. Poor thing. It must still hurt him. The fields, and houses, and valleys of the High Sierra were beneath my eyes, and I smiled. I felt truly happy. I wished I had something to eat, and that I could find my mother. Faintly at first, and ever more strongly, I could hear her voice, singing one of her pretty songs. As she came closer I could see she was holding something. My curiosity grew as I knew nothing of this package she was holding.
--Mama, que trae en su brazo? que es lo que carga? I asked.
--Calle nina y espere a su debido tiempo. My mother answered.
We went inside and she told me of how she had been working on this little secret present of hers. A doll for me. Made by her with some material my grandmother had given her. How they had all been busy keeping me away from the house so she could finish it. And how this doll was now mine to have, forever. I have never had a doll. I had seen them in the arms of other girls in the Plaza, but never imagined I could have such a thing. Those were fancy toys that only rich children were allowed to have and my family lived a very humble life. I was ecstatic. I was full of joy. I had forgotten it was my birthday! My mother told me this doll was made for me, and for me only. That she would teach me how to be a good mother. That she would keep all my secrets and my joys. And that if I took great care of her, one day I would be able to give it to my own daughter one day.
I held the doll in my hands and I said: Gracias Mama. And immediately went outside, to show my new doll all there is to know about this place where I live. The creeks, the well, our patio, our bench, the maize field, the marigolds under my window. The shadow of our mountain, the sky above us. There is a long journey ahead of us but I will teach her all the wonderful stories I have learned, and I will show her all the beautiful things around me. I know she will like living with me, because even though I just met her, I already love her.