Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tucson, AZ: Casa Alitas: "My Name is Elenita"

I was cleaning out a room at Casa Alitas. A family had passed a night or two there, and had since departed to a city somewhere in the United States, into the arms and home of a sponsor, a temporary-permanent place. Safe, presumably. A place to take some deep breaths, maybe get the kids into school.

Among the used bedding, the towels, an errant toothbrush, I saw atop the mattress a notepad.

On the cover, in a blend of letter styles: "Mi nombre es Elenita."

My name is Elenita.

I thought immediately of Hushpuppy, the valiant wee girl who lived in the drowning Louisiana community called The Bathtub, in the movie, Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Hushpuppy said:
I see that I'm a little piece of a big, big universe. .... In a million years, when kids go to school, they gonna know, once there was a Hushpuppy, and she lived with her Daddy in The Bathtub.

I smoothed the palm of my hand across Elenita's claim for her seat in the universe.

I thought, this little girl doesn't know it - though maybe she will one day - but she is a little piece of a big, big human wave of other little girls, and of boys, women, and men who are taking part in a natural process, eons old, to lay claim to their places on the planet, to survive and thrive as we all wish to survive and thrive.

Once there was Elenita, who passed through Tucson, Arizona, on her way to her future.

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