My grandmother was born in D.F. but grew up in Cuba. Her father owned a sugar factory. He had strong arms and an elegant mustache. It was a life of tropical birds. Then the business folded and the women escaped back to Mexico. He promised he’d send a bird when it settled. He never did. A few years later he died in a car crash—a bird flew into the open window.
When my grandmother returned to Mexico she was sixteen, beautiful, bewildered, Guantánamo still wet on her tongue. By nineteen she was pregnant, tucked inside a stand up bass case, bucking in the back of a VW van full of white surfers, their boards, and instruments. They dropped her in San Diego where she had an uncle. When she tried to hand over the bundle of cash, they declined, telling her to keep the money for the little burrito in her tummy and took off singing Help Me Rhonda at the top of their lungs.
Matan Gold currently works as a professional grilled-cheese maker, at a bookstore that is also a bar. Send him ramen recipes at www.matangold.com.