Manuel thought I was a man. He thought this from the time I became his sponsor eight years ago. His mother, Alma Rosa, explained over lunch when we met in Veracruz last week. She told our interpreter Aaron that, in their mind, the name ‘Bronwyn’ is a man’s name. Compassion International, the ministry that connects sponsors with children in poverty, had sent me a letter in the beginning of my sponsorship asking me to not send pictures of my house or car or any picture displaying the luxury of my American life.
“That trip changed me,” I said to Jerry this morning, referring to my recent January 22-28 Mexico Sponsor Tour.
Jerry took a chug-a-lug, gulp, snort of coffee from his gargantuan Mickey cup he bought at Disneyland.
Silence took hold of the moment. Then Jerry said, “I know. I see the change in you.”
I slurped my Irish Breakfast tea loudly (ok, Jerry didn’t snort and I didn’t slurp loudly, but I want to make sure you’re paying attention and you might nod off if I don’t add drama once in a while). But I did have Irish Breakfast tea and I did take a dainty sip before I asked, “In what way do you notice that I’ve changed?”
I shove my debit card into the cash machine at the bank while Jerry waits in the car. My thoughts drift…la, la,la, I wonder why this bank has an armed guard at the front door? Was there a bank robbery here and they now need the extra security? …la, la, la, that has got to be a very boring job, standing there all day, la, la, la, …
I punch the buttons, the machine clicks and cackles, then spits the money out. I hurry back to the car...la, la, la, why does the cash machine give us only twenties. I want tens…la, la, la,
I had eaten half my cranberry-turkey salad when I realized I didn’t get the jam for my whole-wheat bread. I asked our server as she breezed by our table, and who created wind gusts in her haste to get to another table, if she would bring me the jam I had ordered. “Oh yes, I’ll get that for you,” she said as she whooshed by causing my blondish-locks to blow wildly in her wake.
Five minutes later I noticed our server whooshing back and forth serving customers at other tables. She seemed to have forgotten my request. The holiday shoppers had descended on the bakery like bees swarming a flowering bush. Determined to have jam, I left my seat and asked the cashier at the counter if she would bring me some jam.
“No. I don’t accept. Cancel our order!” Jerry said.
We had driven north of Phoenix, way out in nowhere. It took forever to get to the Fancy-Schmancy Tile & Stone Company. For all I knew we had reached the Canadian border by the time Jerry and I pulled into the tile store’s parking lot. Eh?
Before embarking on our long drive northward, I had called various tile stores to inquire about terracotta tile, the kind of tile I wanted for our atrium. Only Fancy-Schmancy had what I wanted.