The Last Tortilla

last tortilla.jpg

It feels like I’ve been transported to another reality, and it also feels like this might be my dwelling place for a while. Yesterday evening, after day four of “Zoom Teaching & Collaborating” I logged off. I poured myself a glass of wine and went to see how my mom and two year old were holding up. Like me, many of us are at home, trying to work, trying to teach/help their kids with what seems like countless school activities, and trying to keep calm because the other shoe is about to fall.

I asked my seventy-one year old mom how her day was and she said she and my two year old had a fabulous time. Of course they did. My mom who is a diva of sorts, or part royalty that we are not privy to, always has the most fabulous time. I thanked her for helping me out during this crazy time as I figure out how to teach/work remotely. I sat down and my fabulous mother shushed me and said, “Cállate, ya empezó las noticias.” My mother is a huge fan of the news and I prefer not to watch. But I sat next to her and drank my wine, wishing I had poured myself a larger glass. My mother gasped and theatrically put her hands on her chest, as did my two year old. Was my two year old going to need therapy to manage anxiety issues? Three minutes into the news my anxiety was trying to make its way in. And then, I heard it as did millions of families. We were going on lockdown. Mayor Eric Garcetti mandated a  “Safer at Home” order . The Los Angeles Mayor was poised as he gave pertinent information on the need for us to stay home to combat the Corona Virus. The other word I heard was social distancing. No restaurants, no yoga, no nothing. And no visiting my sister and her kids.

My fabulous mother in her frenzy got up and offered me some food. She cooks to alleviate stress. I listened to to Mayor Garcetti and noted that he seemed calm. Then I too shall remain calm. He seemed confident. I too shall remain confident. And he also seemed to say to us in a very soothing and respectful tone, stay the fuck home. I will. As much as I want to see my sister, I’m gonna stay the fuck home. You can count on me Mayor Garcetti.

I looked up to see how my mom was taking this and she was teary eyed. “Mami, are you OK?” She shook her head no and shared that her sister, my tía, was now unable to spend time with her daughter who has been under treatment for leukemia. It was too much of a risk. “Mami, it’s going to be Ok.”

She looked up and showed me an empty tortilla packet. “Es la última tortilla.” She gingerly made a bean and cheese quesadilla and offered it to my daughter. She sliced some avocados and put a dollop of sour cream on the quesadilla. My two year and my fabulous mom sat at the tiny wooden children’s table and ate together. They ate in silence and I just watched. Everything was eerily slow. And then my fabulous mom started her jibber jabber about war, starvation, the end of time, and rations.

PTSD was coming at her hard and I just watched, having nothing to say and it just continued to play out in slow motion. This is one’s personal hell. She’s experienced a war. I have not. I hope not to. I can’t let my fabulous mother stay here. “Mami, stop! “It’s going to be OK. I trust that people are mindful and considerate of each other. I trust that we all have enough.”

I walked out with my two year old hanging on to me. I hugged her back feeling every particle of her perfect being. Whatever was happening was happening quickly.

Early the next morning I ran out the door to the grocery store. I was going to give my fabulous mother some hope. And then I was met with the longest line ever. I got in line and was told it would be about an hour. An hour? But I waited, and I chatted with some people. And we waited together. Is this what it’s all about? Waiting patiently…together. The surfer guy behind me said this was just a reboot of things for our Earth. I agreed with him and totally recognized that in another time I would probably not be talking to a stranger, but today was different. Maybe all days should be different.

An hour later I finally got in. I made it. I looked for toilet paper and found none. No wonder my cousin bought a bidet on Amazon! I looked for beans and rice. None. Then I looked for tortillas and there they were, in their gloriously red packets, beaming brightly for the taking. I grabbed a packet of corn tortillas and teared up. There is more than enough. People are mindful and considerate of each other. We are taking just what we need. And we are staying the fuck home enjoying the shit out of one another. That’s what we do. We take care of each other, no matter what.