Tag Archives: cafecito

Café and Closure

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The first time I met O.D. Churroman was at a Salsa Festival where Willy Chirino was playing.

From the outset, café a lo cubano had been a huge part of our relationship.
After our second date, he demanded I invite him inside and prove my cafecito making skills… or there would be no third date.
In fact, for the longest time I was not allowed to touch his cafetera; he was in charge of the café making at his place.

We had entire conversations about Cuban coffee and, to hear him tell it, he taught me “how to make it better.”
We would send daily pictures of our espuma.
Eventually I graduated to being allowed to make my own cafecito while waiting for him to wake up.

And then he disappeared from my life (just after Labor Day 2011). It took me a long time to recover from being dropped so abruptly, but time heals all wounds and I eventually stopped keeping an eye out for him every time I was in LA. I stopped wondering what I would say if I ever saw him again.

And then there he was.

It was January 10, the night before my brother’s wedding at a Cuban documentary screening. He had to get up and greet me when his cousin, an acquaintance of mine, saw me and came over to say hello. After an awkward hug and exchange about how my dark hair “looked good”, the lights dimmed and the movie was about to start so we all went back to our seats. I didn’t see him after. It felt like a cruel joke from the universe.

And then it was Mother’s Day.
And his birthday.
And I HAD to say something.
So I sent a happy birthday email and appreciated that he wrote back.
I counted it as closure.

And then there he was.
Again.

It was the first time I’ve ever been to the free Cuban Festival in Echo Park because I’m usually in Miami for the weekend closest to 20 de Mayo.

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Since I have dated my fair share of LA Cubans, I usually expect to run into a few exs at these types of events that I’m still friendly with, but I never expected to see HIM.

There was no escaping the moment; we were heading directly for each other.
A polite greeting, a Cuban hug and kiss on the cheek, and the moment was over.

And then he walked by again, “The line for café is ridiculous!”
“I know! ALL the lines are stupid long! Bueno, have fun!”
And he walked away.

And then he walked by AGAIN, “I’m going to try again.”
“Dale! Bring me one, too!”
He stopped. Turned. Called me over to him and asked, “Excuse me? What was it you called me the other day? Joven?”
“Sure! Yes! Joven! Definitely not viejo!”
And he continued on and I wasn’t sure if I was getting café or not… so I waited to see.

And then walked by again.
And he handed me a cafecito.
And he walked away.
And, with that, our story came full circle.

Salud, chico.

What Mami Taught Me

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Mami taught me how to have great adventures.

We have driven to Vegas together more times than I can count.
Today, I love driving and am always ready to take a road trip.

We saw the GoGo’s at Mandalay Bay (outside on “the beach” – aka The Pool) and we got drenched. Afterwards, we were sitting, still dripping, and having a cafecito while watching the people who had just come from an Il Divo concert head into the casino. We couldn’t stop laughing about the people being dressed to the nines while we were dripping.
I wish I could remember what was so funny about the guy we met in the elevator, but at the time it was the funniest thing we’d ever heard.
When a friend invited me to the symphony, I knew how to dress because of that dripping in Vegas moment… and I still make friends with people in elevators.

She took me to New York with her right after 9/11. We FLEW. The two towers were still burning, but we went.
When she mentioned a trip to San Antonio to cook Cuban food for our troops, I bought my ticket right away.

We have gone to Miami plenty of times for Cuba Nostalgia because she had taught me to be proud of my heritage and my culture.
When abuela asked if I would take her to Cuba to be reunited with her siblings (for the first time since fidel took over) I did not hesitate; I went to Cuba.

We have met totally famous people and been total dorks about it.
People have treated us like we’re famous and we have been total dorks about it.

We saw (presidential hopeful) Mike Huckabee at the airport, but I was convinced it wasn’t him. She went up and shook his hand. She was right.
We were in L.A. and I said “Mami, that’s Pitbull,” but she wasn’t convinced it was him. We eventually shook his hand. I was right.

Mami taught me to be fearless. And to be right. 😉

To see the “rest” of this post (aka, what my siblings had to say about Mami) then click here.