That was the year we went to Colombia to visit her parents. Her mom had just had surgery on her hand and couldn’t cook, so we spent a month eating empanadas from the little market on the corner, the one with the blind dog that always lay across the open door. Perfect golden-brown crescents, we devoured them on the small white plastic table outside with a cold beer or we ate them as we walked around the town square. She would tell me the history of the church or about the protests that happened there when she was a kid.
That was also the year she got pregnant. We loved to think it happened on that trip, maybe one of the nights we were away in Anapoima. One of the nights we walked to the tiny bar atop the hill. The bar that was just six poles, an aluminum roof and a large ice cooler. Walls and windows and doors are not always necessary. Yes, maybe it happened one of the nights we got drunk there and chatted to the locals until the darkest hour of the night. She, already talking in cursive, would translate their stories back to me, and we all laughed as if speaking the same language. One of the nights we stumbled back to the tiny four-room hotel with paper thin drapes that blew into the room like ghosts.
But that was also the year she got unpregnant. That’s what we decided to call it. She lay in bed for weeks, often FaceTiming her mom, longing to be back in a place where she had childhood stories, back in a place where the soil and the trees and the drunk locals with missing teeth all spoke her native tongue. I didn’t always feel welcome during those calls and that was fine. Some things shouldn’t be translated. Instead I spent those days on YouTube, in the kitchen, flour dotting my forehead, watching videos on how to make empanadas. Perfect golden-brown crescents. The kind that crisp when you bite into them, a little bit of heaven wafting out with the steam.