Pero, m’ija, where did you get that from?

Pero, m’ija, where did you get that from? in Daring to Write: Contemporary Narratives by  Dominican Women, Erika M. Martínez (Ed.), University Georgia Press, 2016.

In early 1997, Mami became obsessed.

“M’ija, ¿y de dónde saca’te ‘eso’?” she muttered in disbelief. On the phone, she’d accompany the inquiry with a “chuipe”—the Dominican version of a tisk—followed by a pregnant pause. If we were face to face, she’d shake her head. She soon stopped, however, maybe because of frustration or forgetfulness. And frustrated she was: she must have stopped shaking her head after growing tired of her failed attempts to educate me during this period, giving me, for instance, a much-delayed lesson on the birds and the bees. To my horror, she was now telling me how much she’d liked un güevo back in her day. Or saying, with regret, que se le había ido “el tiro por la culata” with her sternness. She thought her restrictive attitude about me dating in my youth had backfired; Mami especially lamented forbidding me from seeing Henri, that Haitian guy in Brooklyn who she was now convinced was a real macho and would have provided a preventative cure to “my problem.” Maybe she stopped shaking her head simply because she didn’t remember this was one of the options for showing disapproval. Her memory was already giving off intermittent signs of exhaustion three years prior to an early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis…

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