Lola’s First Day / El Primer Día de Lola

I woke up before Lola did and checked that everything was in place. The clothes, tidy, at the foot of her bed. The small rucksack with clean clothes and her pink blanket for when she took a nap. A comb, a plastic cup and several other items.
As I went back from the living room to her room, I heard her yawn. Sure enough, she was awake and looking at me with a curious smile.
‘Good morning, Lolina! Did you rest well?’
‘Yes, I slept with my eyes closed!’
She winked and laughed a little, and I couldn’t help but smile and laugh at her peculiar sense of humour.

I went to the kitchen and had breakfast, and then prepared hers. She sat up slowly, rubbing her eyes, almost reluctant to leave the warmth of her blanket, even if for a little while. I set up her folding table and put the breakfast tray on it. She loves the purple flowers on the tray. I tied her bib, straightened it, and she got started eating.
Before I knew it, it was time to get her dressed.
‘Here, first clean underwear…Good, now the shirt…Tuck it into your sweatpants.’
‘These shoes?’
‘Yes, that’s right, but first your socks.’
‘I know that! Do you think I’m dumb?’
A flash of indignation lights her eyes.
‘No, of course not. It’s just so you won’t forget…’
She puts on her socks and shoes mumbling under her breath.
‘…always telling me what to do…bossy…’

Later, while we wait for the bus, a nosy neighbour asks if she was happy, and she snorts and decides to ignore her, so I contribute an answer.
‘She’s fine, yes.’
After a short exchange and a couple of minutes of feeling her eyes on my back, she realises it’s not worth the effort and leaves.

Just as Lola starts whining that she wants to sit down, the bus comes and before I know it, she’s on her way. I go back inside with mixed feelings. Happy that she’ll be safe and have companions to play and work with, but a little guilty that she doesn’t really understand where she’s going or why. I know I’ve said all that has to be said, but still I feel a pang of remorse.

After lunch, my phone rings and I see it’s from the director of the centre she’s attending. I answer as fast as my fingers will allow to swipe. He say that everything is going great and she seems to be enjoying all the activities. Relief floods me. I had dreaded getting a call telling me she was huddled in a corner crying.

When I go pick her up from the bus, her face is alight with pleasure and excitement.
‘Oh, they were all so nice! Wonderful…. Especially one…he was very kind and thought I was interesting.’
She gushed on about ‘him’. It seemed she had made a friend on her first day!

We got on with the afternoon and when I was handing her a tissue, already in bed for the night, she looked at me seriously.
‘Tomorrow my boyfriend is going to come and ask you for my hand.’
It took me a few seconds to react.
‘Oh, ok, sweetheart. He’ll be very welcome.’
‘I wanted you to know. I don’t want any secrets.’
‘You’re very right! Thanks for telling me. Now go to sleep. Good night.’
‘Good night.’
As I turned off the light, I saw a delighted smile on her face and knew that my mother was happy.

~/~

Me desperté antes que Lola y comprobé que todo estuviera en su sitio. La ropa, ordenada a los pies de la cama. La pequeña mochila con una muda de ropa, su mantita rosa para la siesta, un peine, un vaso de plástico y algunas cosas más.
Al volver del salón hacia su habitación, la sentí bostezar. Y sí, efectivamente estaba despierta y me miraba con una sonrisa curiosa.
‘¡Buenos días, Lolina! ¿Dormiste bien?’
‘¡Con los ojos cerrados!’
Me guiñó un ojo y se rió, y no pude por menos que sonreír ante su particular sentido del humor.

Fui a la cocina y desayuné, y acto seguido preparé su desayuno. Se levantó a desgana, frotando los ojos, no queriendo abandonar la comodidad de su cama aunque fuese un rato. Le puse la mesa plegable delante y la bandeja con el desayuno. Le encantan las flores violetas de la bandeja. Le até el babero, lo enderecé y se puso a comer.

Antes de que me diese cuenta, era hora de vestirla.
‘Primero, ropa interior limpia…ahora la camisa…métela dentro del pantalón de chandal.’
‘¿Estos zapatos?’
‘Sí, pero primero ponte los calcetines.’
‘¡Ya lo sé! ¿Te crees que soy tonta?’
Un relámpago de indignación le brilla en los ojos.
‘ No, claro que no. Es para que no te olvides…’
Se pone los calcetines y los zapatos mascullando por lo bajo.
‘…siempre diciéndome lo que tengo que hacer… mandona.’

Más tarde, mientras esperamos el bus, una vecina cotilla le pregunta qué tal está. Ella bufa y decide no contestar, así que yo le ofrezco una respuesta.
‘Está bien.’
Después de unos breves intercambios y un par de minutos en los cuales me taladró la nuca con la mirada, acabó por darse cuenta que era tiempo perdido e irse.
Justo cuando Lola empieza a quejarse de que se quiere sentar aparece el bus y en un momento ya se ha ido. Vuelvo adentro con sentimientos encontrados. Por un lado, feliz porque va a tener compañeros para jugar y trabajar. Por otro lado, me apena que no sepa dónde va ni por qué. Sé que se lo dije, pero aún así me siento un poco culpable.

Después del almuerzo, suena el teléfono y veo que es el director del centro. Contesto tan rápido como puedo deslizar mis dedos para descolgar. Me comenta que está muy bien y ha participado en todas las actividades. El alivio es inmenso. Me temía que me llegara una llamada informándome de que estaba en un rincón llorando.
Cuando la voy a recoger al bus, su cara está radiante de felicidad y emoción.
‘Oh, eran todos muy agradables, especialmente uno…era muy amable y me dijo que era muy interesante.’
Sigue hablando con entusiasmo de ‘él’.¡ Parece que ha hecho un amigo el primer día!
Seguimos con nuestra tarde, y ya en la cama al darle una servilleta me mira muy seria.
‘Mañana mi novio va a venir a pedirte mi mano.’
Tardé unos segundos en reaccionar.
‘Ah, vale, corazón. Será bienvenido.’
‘Quería que lo supieras. No quiero secretos.’
‘ Tienes razón. Hiciste muy bien en contármelo. Ahora duerme. Hasta mañana.’
‘Hasta mañana.’

Al apagar la luz, atisbé una sonrisita de satisfacción y supe que mi madre era feliz.

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