Some memories remain forever in your heart, although the people who created them are no longer alive.
Visiting the place where Malta India is produced was a trip down memory lane. I remembered how my aunts always had ready for my sister and me these bottles of a sugary drink we enjoyed so much. I almost remembered the phrase “come, there are cold maltas in the fridge just for you”. If by any chance they were not able to buy them before we arrived, we would go to the neighborhood supermarket, at the corner of the street, where whatever they took, and we asked for, was noted in a notebook. It was such an adventure.
It was the adventure of living outside San Juan. The trip to the west was a three hour drive with mom and dad singing Los Panchos. It was the happiness of crossing an old bridge and screaming at the same time : “We are in Mayagüez!” Knowing we would be received by not one or two aunts, but three, and our grandma as well, contributed to that feeling.
As I looked at the maltas, being part of such a great production that reaches not only Puerto Rico but the world, I was brought back to the place where I have been going since I was born, even when my aunts are no longer there. The love for the west is a feeling that is lately getting stronger and it is the place I go to more often, whenever I need a change of life or pace, and where in some instances I find myself.
To live in the metro area has many advantages, but driving to the west always makes me breathe easier. To sleep in a house of wood and zinc, at this stage of my life is just priceless. To rest my body on an antique bed, feeling the breeze through windows without screens, and still having my grandma alive, who is blind and not so alert, say “the girls are here”, has the power to take me back to the place that we often leave because of stress and the rush we live in, go back to the place of the simple things.
There, I stood for a while. As I observed a complex production, with an extraordinary meaning for me, I gave thanks for my aunts. I named them, each and every one, remembering how happy they made me. I drank my Malta India, with the same love they would have had it ready if they were alive, and missing them as much as I do, since the day they left my life full of good memories.