My mother traveled to Mexico sometime around 2006 to participate in a medical conference, it was very common for her to do travels of that kind back in the day — it was a different life, that much is certain.
She received a bottle of Tequila as a gift among other stuff that I can no longer remember. The bottle came with two shot glasses that depict Mexicans posing in what nowadays an offended terminally online person will denounce as stereotypical and perhaps even racist, should they be that too far gone in such discourses.
Unlike her siblings, she wasn’t a drinker and, much like my brother and I, she would only drink on very specific occasions such as Christmas or New Years festivities — and even so, she’d never drink heavily. The only time I ever saw her somewhat tipsy was on her last New Years, three months before she died.
Because neither of us was into alcohol (and because I was barely 18 when she got that gift, my brother was 11), that bottle of Tequila stayed on top of a shelf, forgotten and unbothered as time went by and as our life started to become increasingly complicated by the collapse of Venezuela, family crises, and my mother’s unfair fight against cancer.
It wasn’t until 2016 or so when that bottle of Tequila crossed our minds again.
I cannot remember the details of the conversation, but long story short, my mom suggested that we should finally have a go at that bottle once she 1) successfully finished her cancer treatment and 2) we’d be all ready to move out of Venezuela, starting anew, and leaving behind a collapse that, at the time, hadn’t even reached its final form yet.
Unfortunately, nothing went as planned, and thus the bottle remained untouched and forgotten.
I remembered the existence of that bottle some months after my mom died while I was doing some cleanup. It was one of those “oh, yeah, we still have this” kinda moment. Still, I didn’t feel like opening it, because there was nothing to celebrate.
After my efforts to find a way to legally move to another country whilst being able to take my brother with me failed in 2018 I didn’t feel like opening it on that Christmas either. By 2019, I eventually told my brother that we’d definitely were going to open that bottle and drink the hell out of it once I had found a way to legally migrate together.
Then I failed to find a way out in 2019, and in 2020, and in 2021, and in 2022, and for most of 2023…
But now that we’re weeks away from 2024, I can finally say that, at last, we’re going to open that bottle, because by the time I post this we’re almost six weeks away from finally leaving this country.
I have spent nearly six years of my life trying to earn the right to open that bottle. I failed so many times, lost so much precious time of my life and physical/mental health trying to pursuit different paths towards a new life only to fail over and over again. Sometimes because of my lack of education preventing me from opening some doors, others because of technicalities (nailed a job at the US but lost a shot at the required US Visa because the job description was not 100% in line to the requirements), others because of COVID, and others because I couldn’t find a solution that would allow me to take my brother with me.
We’ll be leaving to Italy soon, strangers in a strange land, to start a new life with nothing but a promise I made on my mother’s deathbed, a bunch of dreams in my head, a draft of a fiction novel series, and a nationality obtained by right of Jus sanguinis, nothing more, nothing less.
That bottle of Tequila has remained sealed for all these years, the cap has this spherical glass glued to it, but it came off on its own, that much time has passed for the glue to fade away.
I’ve never actually had Tequila before, as I said, I’m not much of a drinker, and I’m not even a very social person to drink on weekends like those that gather around a liquor shop that’s near my house. The most “exotic” thing I’ve drank was Frangelico a long time ago and a little bit of Jack Daniels on my 25th birthday.
As I’m no liquor connoisseur, I cannot even tell you if this is a good brand or not, but that matters not. This bottle, whether its contents like it or not, holds a symbolic value to me, as this was going to be the thing we’d drink once my mother had beaten cancer and we’d be on our way out of the country, together.
The bottle is a reminder of what could’ve been but wasn’t, of uphill years trying to hold it all together, of a celebration that we were looking forward to, — but never came to be.
I’m not opening it today, as I have some pending stuff to do. Right now, and unless something changes, I’m planning to open it next weekend. I suppose I have to get like, limes/lemons and pour salt on the glass’ rim. That’s something I’ll look into beforehand.
This bottle will symbolically give closure to the past ten years of my life in the same manner that our upcoming flight to Italy will bring closure to the past 25 years of my life — but that’s a story for another time.
Until the next one,