In our daily life and sometimes predictable existence, we often take things for granted. We look forward to the "promise" of tomorrow, sometimes cheating ourselves and others of wonderful things that are meant to be enjoyed today.
Many years had gone by since I had seen Lupe, a half-sister from my mom's first marriage — 25 years, in fact. After our mother's funeral, I, along with my eight brothers and sisters, went back to our faraway homes and daily lives.
As the years went by, I wondered about my oldest sister, the one everyone said was a self-imposed recluse. I was somehow led to believe that "she doesn't want much to do with the rest of the family," and I accepted it "… for a while. But as the years went by, I became curious, so I decided to search for her.
After some soul-searching and inquiring phone calls, I finally got a possible phone number. Hesitant at first, not knowing whether she would want to talk to me, I dialed. The phone rang in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, thousands of miles away; maybe the area code had been changed.
I wondered what time it was there. Maybe she wasn't home. If she was, what would I say? Ring, ring. Worse yet, what if she was home but didn't want to talk to me? Then what?
After what seemed like forever, a soft-spoken lady answered. In my best, somewhat nervous Spanish, I asked for Lupe Loera.
"I'm Lupe," she answered, then asked who I was. Although she was in her mid-60s, she sounded just like a little girl.
Hmm. Louise, Lou, Morusa "… at home I was known by many names; I fumbled, not knowing which one to pick. She probably thought I was a nervous salesperson.
"This is Morusa, your youngest sister," I finally said. There was silence at first, then, "Morusita! How are you?"
She wasn't mad, bitter or resentful; she actually sounded glad to hear from me. As we talked, the years seemed to melt away. We talked about family, friends, even dabbled in a little harmless, silly gossip. We weren't two sisters talking about 25 lost years. We were just two sisters "… talking.
As our conversation came to a close that evening, I was curious whether there was something she might want to do — something she always wanted but never had the chance to do. Secretly, I wanted to do something special for her.
There was silence at first. Then she said, "I've always wanted to go to Calvillo, where our parents are from."
She hadn't been there since she left 40-something years ago.
"Wow, that's easy," I thought, though for a single mother bringing up six children on her own, it must have seemed like an unreachable dream for Lupe. Maybe I could help her. That night I talked to my husband about sending her some money for the trip; he agreed.
We stayed in touch after that first call, and later, when I mentioned the trip to her, she was very — and I mean very — excited. At first she wasn't too sure about it, so I kind of joked a bit. "You should visit soon while everyone you know is still alive," I said, not realizing the truth of those words.
One day after work, I got a call from Mary, another sister of mine. She sounded frantic. "Did you get the news? Did you hear about Lupe?" she asked.
"Why, what happened?" I asked. I had talked to Lupe a few days before, and she sounded fine. We had even talked about the trip, and she was looking forward to it.
"There's been an accident "… "
I don't remember most of the other things she said; all I know is that Lupe would never take the trip she had waited all those years to take.
Life's not fair sometimes; I don't remember not knowing Lupe for 25 years as much as I remember those short, sometimes silly talks we had those last few weeks.
The promise I made will never be fulfilled; however, I feel that my life is much richer for it. I find that I now have more appreciation for the little things in life, like a quick snuggle with my kids, an unplanned walk in the park or something as simple as saying, "Hi, how are you?" to someone and then actually waiting for an answer.
Through our short time together, Lupe helped me realize that some things shouldn't wait until tomorrow to be enjoyed.
Tomorrow, after all, is only a promise.
Ruby Celeste lives with her husband and 11 "kids" (all four-legged) in rural White City.