Her back was as long and graceful as the bouquet of snow white lilies she held in her slender fingers and as I watched this lovely bride walk to the altar to be wed it dawned on me that this was Gaby, my husband’s niece whom I’d met when she was a wee bitty baby of 15 months and my heart skipped a beat in shock that the time had dared trick me into passing this quickly so that we were here, in this ever lasting moment, witnessing her marriage on a cool November night.
I’d met Gaby only yesterday it seemed. Cradled in the arms of her father we’d been introduced in the dusty hot plains of Venezuela. I remember a lanky baby straddled around her dad’s comforting hold, a mess of bouncy curls and an infectious smile. Gaby. This is Gaby. And that baby I’d first met stretched on and and on to become a teenager full of awareness and purpose.
She’d been staying at my house in South Florida when 9/11 struck as I held my own two-year old daughter and carried another baby on the way. Gaby had been all of fifteen then, recently emigrated from Venezuela, her English barely a mumble but she knew the loss and shock and angst those airplanes plummeting into the twin towers and a vacant field in Pennsylvania caused our nation. And when I could not find an American flag to put up in our front yard, because ours was swallowed in the Bermuda Triangle that is our attic and stores had sold out of any new ones, Gaby, five days fresh an American, sat at my dinning room table and made one, stripe by stripe, star by star she sketched and colored and brought to life the symbol of our country with equal pride and dedication so that when we taped her efforts on the front window it gleamed and shimmered with the hope and optimism that flag represents to so many. This is who she was then and is now: a girl turned woman full of hope and optimism and of course, still, that infectious smile. I will never forget that day, as all of us who witnessed it. But I will never forget how Gaby made it a bit more bearable for me.
And now, she holds a beautiful bouquet of pure white and she is tall, so tall and lovely as she steps into her newfound life as a wife and my pride grows full and gladly overflows. She is kind and strong and pure like the lilies and there is no doubt she makes the days of her husband, Eduardo a little bit easier, a little bit better. I’ve given her a cooking tool set as a wedding gift and she gives me back that smile with a giggle. She is uneasy no doubt. This role as married one still feels awkward, unsteady. Those around her laugh as well and joke she burns water. But I know she’ll do fine, even better, she’ll shine, just as that teenager she was years ago who made a glorious flag out of paper, dedication and passion, she’ll always shine. In the meantime, I’ll offer her one of many cheater’s recipe: a meal that will dazzle even the most skeptical and requires little if any skill. Of course any meal will be perfect served with that dazzling smile.
Broiled Lobster Tails
2 lobster tails (purchase at your local fishmonger or supermarket)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon fresh dill, chopped
sea salt to taste
Turn broiler on to high.
Place a large knife lengthwise along the middle of the lobster tail and partially cut it in half, so as to open the tail a bit.
Drizzle melted butter and lemon juice and place under the broiler for 5 minutes.
Remove, add dill and salt.