The Mother, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
There is no one to greet me at the airport. I drag my broken suitcase through the international arrivals area and exit the terminal, still buried beneath my gigantic coat. The Florida climate struck me as if I had been thrown into Satan’s bathhouse, forcing me to strip my outer clothing, the remains of a South American winter I’d left behind. The other exiting passengers glare at me in silence, waiting for me to pull something out of my bag, possibly a bomb.
My head is pounding from the seven-hour flight from Lima and the extensive customs inspection. As the officer stuffs his gloved hands inside a pair of packed shoes, he asks what I do for a living. Instead of mentioning my usual day job, I reply that I am a writer to avoid the likely salary questions as advised by friends that had gone through the same ordeal.
Two hours later, following the commuter train ride, the local Metrorail, and two additional buses, I finally set foot at the corner of her apartment building. She lives in a predominantly Latino, residential area on the far suburbs south of Miami. The female busybodies glue their faces to the windows, examining the bearded muchachito traipsing through their parking lot with his wet hair plastered against his face, consumed by the early July humidity. I try to memorize their faces and even wave in case I’m to run into them later, only because my mother, who knows every single family in the building, has already told them about me.
Her door is decorated with the King Jesus International Ministry official sticker, featuring a banner that reads: Este es un hogar cristiano. After three knocks, she finally opens the door, her bifocals balanced over her chest, attached to a silver chain, fresh from a recent bible reading. She smiles politely but not warmly. Or not as warmly as I would hope given my recent odyssey. I can see a slight smirk indicating she’s already starting to regret my visit. “Hola hijo,” she says. Not hijito, not mi amor, not even mi vida. “Hola mamá,” I say. Not mami, not mamita, not even ma’. She holds the door open, displaying her bright red and perfectly manicured nails. I pause for a moment before taking the initiative and give her a small kiss on the cheek. She smiles again politely and steps aside to let me in.