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  • I call it the black cloud of March. It creeps into my airspace right about this time now, mid-march. It used to come on the first of March, but each year, it gets a little later. It always goes away on March 18th.

    It's been twenty years already, I tell the cloud. Just let me go. But it won't. In my sleep and in my waking hours, I have visions of those days. The dreaded call. The pakistani taxi driver who rushed me home from NYC. My neighbor waiting at my door, telling me to go see to the children. The children, huddled and scared in the playroom. The slow ride to the hospital. The nurses asking if I wanted to see him. My disbelief, my shock. My son Carl, at 12, standing strong by my side.

    The funeral. The packed church. The firemen dressed in their funeral best. The funny eulogy by John Foley. The bagpipes as we walked out. The flower-covered fire truck. The light snow sobbing over the dry earth. His parents. His children. Our children, so young.

    Me.

    Alone.

    LA NEGRA NUBE

    Yo le digo la nube negra de marzo. Se acomoda sobre mi espacio aereo para esta fecha, mediados de marzo. Antes, llegaba a principios de marzo, pero todos los anios, llega un poco mas tarde. El 18, se va.

    Ya pasaron 20 anios, le digo a la nube. Dejame ir. Pero no se va. En mi suenios y en mis horas despierta, tengo visiones de esos dias. La llamada temida. El tachero pakistani que me llevo a mil hasta casa, desde Manhattan. Mi vecino, esperandome en la puerta, diciendome que no hay apuro, que me ocupe de los chicos. Los chicos, asustados, juntos, en el playroom. El camino, lento, al hospital. Las enfermeras preguntandome si lo quiero ver. Mi incredulidad, mi shock. My hijo, Carl, 12 anios, fuerte, a mi lado.

    El funeral. La iglesia repleta. Los bomberos, vestidos de gala. Las palabras graciosas de John Foley. El sonido de las gaitas al salir de la iglesia. El camion de bomberos, lleno de flores. La nieve suave llorando sobre la tierra seca. Sus padres. Sus hijas. Nuestros hijos, tan chiquitos.

    Yo.

    Sola.

    (Photo of Fernando, in one of his cute and funny moments)
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