Alex: It's just that when I see her pictures… it's like it's the first time. That must be the house in Mexico.
Mrs. Fuentes: Aguascalientes. And that is lsabel's great-grandmother. They have a special connection. You can see it in the eyes. That same wild spirit.
[Shouting in the background]
Isabel: I can handle my love life!
Mr. Fuentes: Since when?
Alex: I think that runs in the family.
The above is dialogue from a scene in “Fools Rush In.”
When we lived in the apartment, we had a black and white portrait of Popo above the TV. She’s so beautiful, around 20 years old maybe. I wonder where it is now. I haven’t seen it since we moved.
She died when I was barely 2 years old. Her funeral is the earliest sure memory that I have. I wrote a story about it for my autobiography writing class.
I love sharing about Popo’s newspaper feature. As Brother has told me, she was in a picture for a story about a mahjong gambling raid. Popo was quite the mahjong player. ;)
Dad says that Popo came from a very rich family, maybe something like nobility. Her family didn’t approve of her marrying Papa who came from a working family. Obviously, she married him anyway.
I’ve heard my aunties mention speculations that they may not be entirely related to Dad. I’m not supposed to say anything to him about it. I’ll never know.
I think about Popo often. When I look at certain photos of me, I think she’s looking back at me. When I have restlessness inside, I sense her. When boldness emerges, I sense her.
I don’t mean that I believe she’s here with me or that she possesses me. I think that my spirit is unique only unto me, but is it a product of who I have come from? I simply wonder if one can inherit spirit like one inherits dark brown eyes.
I think maybe her ways were understated, her strength, her charm, her style. I think people underestimated her quality, yet she knew who she was and didn’t shrink away from it.
I just wonder about her. When I look at pictures of me, I don’t see my parents, and I don’t see my other grandparents. Sometimes, I don’t even see myself.
I only see Popo.