The tune of Perico Ripiao echoing from the distance, the troops of families wrangling children and the chaos of the airport brought back memories of grandma. I clutched Grandma’s urn against my chest. The air smelled clean, tinged with the scent of flowers and salt, sea salt.
“Caro?” The man in front of me had a sheepish smile on his face. It was the only smile that could manage to take my breath away and annoy me at the same time.
“Miguel?” I asked. He ran a hand through his hair, dodging my gaze. Miguel’s eyes were red, ringed with thin lines pooled at the corners. When he smiled, he somehow appeared smarter and older.
There had been a time in our lives when I was taller than him. I had been a young girl with pigtails and breasts too large for my age. In contrast, he used to be short and gangly with a young face.
Miguel towered over me now, forcing me to look up at him, even though I wore heels. The contrast of our skin tones was evidence of the time he spent under the sun and my lack of it. I wasn’t fair-skinned, but my skin had a beige hue that didn’t match his caramel tone. The face of my childhood friend had morphed into that of a handsome man with a flawless combination of soft and sharp edges. The only remnants of his youth were the slight curls of his hair and his long lashes.
I blinked, registering my thoughts, and I couldn’t help the frown on my face. My luck had run short, even in the beauty department. My frame, boney and petite, had become fragile during the days approaching grandma’s death. The lack of sleep and food had left sunken eyes and deep traces on my face. I was a reflection of my soul.
“It’s Carolina,” I said.
“I know, Lina,” he said, a smirk on his face. I held the urn in my arms a little tighter.
“Thank you for coming to pick me up.” I cleared my throat. Miguel pointed at the urn I cradled like a football against my chest.
“I loved Rosa too, Caro,” he replied solemnly.
“She named me, you know,” I said, following his lead and evading the throngs of people on our way out. “She wouldn’t like you changing it.”
Thanks for Reading