Horns Tinged With Blue

A chinelo dancer from the state of Morelos.
A chinelo dancer from the state of Morelos.

This past Saturday, I hit the pause button on the movie I was watching. My mind was playing tricks on me.

I thought that I heard a brass band playing down the block in my neighborhood here in East Oakland. The kind of brass band that I’d hear regularly and only in Mexico.

That wail, that wail of the horns taking it right to the border of being off-key. The drums playing that bouncy and insistent beat that I only ever heard in the state where my husband grew up.

I popped off the sofa, changed out of my pajamas, and decided to go take a walk to investigate.

Right down the block, I could see a house overflowing with people. Silence for a minute and then the horns sailed out of the house with the drums joyfully skipping right behind then.

It sounded like this, the chinelo music that is particular to the state of Morelos, the state where I lived with my husband Picasso for over ten years.

I stood on that corner in the middle of East Oakland, my hair in sloppy ponytail, hot tears in my eyes.

However, in my neighborhood, if you stand just like that on a corner for too long, people are going to start peering out of the sides of the curtains of their front windows. I walked slowly back to the house, the music dancing playfully behind me.

I missed Mexico right then, with that ache and nostalgia of a first love.

The roots of one side of my family are from over there in Mexico, and the roots of the other side of my family are from here in the U.S.

That double strand of roots formed a big knot in my heart on a street corner in East Oakland.

Justice was restored to Picasso’s immigration case and there’s a deep joy with that comes with this transition. But there’s also the understanding, an awareness that washed over me for the first time standing on that street corner – my life as I knew it in Mexico is coming to a close, particularly once we do the permanent move in January.

Of course we will visit Mexico. We hope to own a house there someday as well.

But that first time, that very first time over twelve years ago when I heard those horns tinged with blue and those drums playing hop scotch?

That chapter of my life is closing. It’s time for me to face that fact and to let the tears fall.


4 thoughts on “Horns Tinged With Blue

  1. Giselle,
    My eyes started to swell as I clicked the “play” button. I too miss Mexico. I didn’t live there, but the many times I went to visit my hubby while he was there, was such an adventure for me. I looked forward to our visits, waking up to the loud speakers coming from the pickups – “Tortillas, ToTopos, Tostadas”. And going to the pulga and hearing “Bollis”. Its so different, sometimes in a good way. People that have so little have the best Fiestas and everyone is always willing to help bring some good food, and the music (Oh the music) I can’t wait until we can go back to visit. We will own a house in Mexico some day too, we are already planning for it. Thanks for the Good Memories.



  2. Although I was only in Morelos for 5 months during my study abroad I extremely miss it. I cant’ imagine how you must have felt at this time.


    1. Amber,I’m sure that your study abroad experience was intense, and I understand why you miss it. I’ve come to understand over the years through watching both myself and my husband that there’s a push-pull that will always between ourselves and the countries that we’ve lived in. I think that it will always be there, coming and going in waves. Thanks for stopping by! Sincerely, Giselle


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