As her worn but steady hand turned the knob,
She could hear Riley’s sniffling sobs.
The pillow had become her cover.
She refused to talk, even to her mother.
But this wise mama knew Abuelita Ruby had the special touch
To cheer Riley up when she didn’t want to say much.
“Thanks for coming Mama. I’m afraid Riley’s had an awful day.
She didn’t eat after school, and I hate to see her this way.”
Abuelita Ruby smiled, slid off her coat, and sat down.
“What’s this I hear, my smiley Riley’s wearing a big frown?”
Riley shook her head in protest of speaking.
Abuelita suspected to keep from weeping.
“Hm, let’s see… could this have something to do with school?
Maybe you are having trouble following some of the rules?”
The fluffy pillow moved from side to side,
Confirming a nonverbal no with a faint sigh.
“I see.” This answer came at no surprise
For Riley completed her schoolwork with the utmost pride.
“Perhaps it has to do with the ñiños in your class?”
This time Riley’s pillow didn’t move an inch,
But Abuelita felt the slightest flinch.
She had a hunch this was the why.
Being the new girl can make anyone cry.
I see, well it can be awfully hard when
You haven’t been somewhere long. But then…”
Abuelita stopped. A pair of hazel eyes slowly uncovered,
For Riley’s curiosity was like no other.
“Then what, Abu?” came a faint voice.
“Well you see, querida, you always have a choice.
When something happens that makes you sad.
That’s what your Abuelito told me when he was a joven lad.”
“Abu, what did he mean?”
“Sometimes when life makes you…
Well makes you want to scream, those are the moments you see what’s true.”
Del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho.
That was Abuelito’s favorite phrases, you know?”
“Abu, my Spanish isn’t that good yet.”
“Oh cariño, don’t you fret.
It took me years to understand that one.
This Spanish proverb is more than just rhyming fun.
But I think one of Abuelito’s stories is the best
Way to understand this kind of test.
He told me about one of his hard days.
When he started a brand new colegio, he didn’t want to stay!
The school was full of unknown faces,
And your Abueltio refused to go to this new place. “
“Abuelito? But he always told me how much he
Liked school, that was his lugar favorito to be.”
“Sometimes it’s the thing we hate in the beginning
That ends up having the most meaning.
Your Abuelito stuck his nose in the books.
He was timido and wanted to avoid awkward looks.
As he avoided these classmates of his,
He started to ace every quiz.
Most of the other niños didn’t mind that he kept to himself.
He became more concerned with the libros on the shelf
Then worrying about where he would sit.
He wasn’t too concerned about where he fit.”
“What the other niños thought of him.
He started to see that line of thinking makes life quite…dim.”
“Abu, are you telling me I don’t need friends?
That doesn’t sound like a very happy story in the end.”
“Paciencia mijita! Let me finish telling the story!