I really wasn’t much of a drinker, but they coaxed me into trying some Sangria, Cuba Libres, and heaven knows what else… I didn’t want to seem ungrateful OR rude, so I tried to drink as much of whatever they gave me, as I could. And I while I was already really comfortable with them, I found myself relaxing even MORE!! I was willing to separate myself from my dictionary, and take a change using incorrect grammar and talking around the words I did not know… and while I certainly caused a lot of laughs; it was all in a fun and loving sort of way. They and their friends would correct me, and then ask me to help them with some of their English, and I, OF COURSE, agreed… TO EVERYTHING. And I probably should have paid more attention as to what I was agreeing TO, but I was SO caught up in the moment, there was NOTHING I wouldn’t do.
As the night went on, the grandmother figure with the energy and spirit of a 20 year-old pulled her chair closer to mine and talked to me more and more. She told me more of how I reminded her of her granddaughter, and showed me pictures. I have to say that EVEN I THOUGHT the resemblance was ASTOUNDING! She told me more about how similar our personalities were, how when we smiled we just lit up the world, how stubborn we both were, how devoted we both were to our family and friends, and most of all how we both cherished the time we spent with our grandparents. Her eyes were watering up and I saw the first tear fall… it was just us at the table because everyone else was dancing, so I pulled her in and hugged her tight and she sobbed harder. Just think, I hadn’t even known this woman 12 hours and she was bearing her soul to me? I was certainly not worthy of that, but I felt very honored. I held her and rocked her, and told her everything was going to be just fine. We obviously met for a reason, and I thought it was her granddaughter wanted her to know that her spirit is all around her, all she has to do look. I also told her that I was SURE her granddaughter continued to love her very much and was always watching out for her, but did not want her to suffer so… at that point she looked up embraced my face, looked me straight in my teary green eyes, and said, “She sent you to me. She is the reason WE met, and YOU are the reason I will go on living”. I burst into tears just as she seemed to be doing better, and she held me close. She said things like no matter we both thought the universe acts in strange ways, and that I had renewed her faith in God, humanity, and her will to live. …. I was SHOCKED.
I just continued sobbing. I told her I was sure that her granddaughter was a far better woman than I could ever hope to be, but I would try to make them both proud.
She then asked for a favor, and I instinctively said yes with tears still dripping down my face. She asked if we could meet the next morning in her hotel room and she could do my hair like she used to for her granddaughter, in a couple different ways, and asked if I wouldn’t mind leaving it that way for the day, and I agreed and asked her what time she would like me to meet her there and what I should be wearing. She told me she had something she wanted to give me to wear… I told her I couldn’t accept it, but she insisted…. Then someone noticed we were all alone and pulled us both up to dance. We danced the night away and the last few things I remember were us getting a cab and going back to their SUITE, not room, at the Ritz…
I woke up when she came in with some orange juice. I looked around and she had tucked me into this amazing bed in this gorgeous room, drawn the curtains put my heels at the end of my bed, and gone to my hotel and gotten some items of clothing for me to wear and took the liberty of getting toiletries and the stuff I use to keep my hair from frizzing… I do have naturally dark, thick, curly hair. I must have showed some alarm, because she told me what had happened, while I came up to say goodnight, she was too tired to go out again, and as she was asking me if I would mind staying the night in one of their guest rooms, I fell asleep!!! How bad am I!??? So, she woke me up enough for me to get into bed and she tucked me in, and did all the things you LOVE your grandma to do… make sure everything is just right with the pillows, not too much light, but just enough, left some water and aspirin by my bedside… made sure my purse was in sight and left a note next to me on my pillow saying if I needed anything or anything happened simply to call her name…. I looked over, and sure enough, there was the note, I had completely and embarrassingly PASSED OUT!
My eyes watered up, and I could see hers start to as well… so I thanked her for the OJ and asked her to sit next to me, and tell me what was really wrong, and how I could help. I told her I knew the man was not her husband, from conversations last night, and he was not there when I woke up. She told me that he was an old friend and squired her about when she came to Madrid, so she wasn’t alone.
The truth turned out to be that she lost her husband AND her granddaughter at the same time, the same day, same car… Her husband has taken their granddaughter out to buy a new dress and a gift for her grandmother’s BIG birthday celebration… On the way to dress shop, while driving, he had a heart attack and drove the car off a cliff. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. So, ever since then she has houses all over Europe, and Latin and South America and friends everywhere, and when she gets too lonely she leaves… and that’s what she did that lead her to Madrid…
I grabbed her and held her tightly because I could see she was trembling and very afraid I would be upset. I told her I couldn’t express how sorry I was for her losses, but if in ANY small way I could help her, I most certainly would. She then asked if I had any plans for the next few days, to which I replied, “not anymore, I am 100% yours”. And she hugged me and kissed me and thanked me, over and over again.
She told me that I must not feel too great because my color was a little off and I clearly was not used to drinking. She told me she was going to get me some more aspirin and she expected to see all the juice gone when she came back because she was bring me more; we had a big few days ahead 🙂
I did as she requested and fell back onto, what was quite possibly the world’s comfiest bed, and closed my eyes and pictured each of my grandmothers, who were still living then, and saw them smiling. I knew I was doing the right thing. I opened my eyes spread my arms around on the pillows and took a sniff of the air, the sheets, and looked around the room because I wanted to REMEMBER THIS MOMENT EXACTLY THE WAY WAS!
To be continued once again….
Jamie Bonnette, Founder & Owner
Found In Translation, LLC