My mother and father divorced when I was ten years old. All I really had to go by were the stories that my mother would recount about their courtship. A few years ago my father told me that he was dating a woman that he knew from Cuba. I asked her name and he blurted out something like grebluatous.
I asked him to repeat it and I still heard grebluatous. I didn’t ask again. I talked to my mother and told her hey, Papi has a new girlfriend. He says he knew her in Cuba. She asked me her name and I struggled to repeat what I heard. I told her that I didn’t understand what he told me but it sounded like Grebluatous. Call him, ask him yourself and see if it’s someone you know I encouraged her.
Turns out that the woman he was dating as an old man was a someone he attempted to date when he and my mother were on a break. Once she began to tell me the story I remembered that she had told me this one sometime ago. She bragged that there was no way that she was going to let him date anyone. He was going be with her and that was the end of it.
The woman’s name was Gretel. My mother followed my father as he picked up his date. My father took his date to a theater to watch a movie. My mother bought a ticket for the movie and sat directly behind them. My mother told me how she would kick the chair in front of hers where my father was sitting and he wouldn’t even look behind him to confront her. She resorted to lighting a cigarette making sure to blow the smoke right into their faces and still no response from either of them. My mother continues the tale of how she would ash the cigarette in my father’s hair and when she didn’t get a reaction she began flicking the ashes in Gretel’s hair. Still no one would turn around much less say anything. So then she decided that she would laugh really hard during a sad scene and wail uncontrollably during the happy ending.
I asked my father if he remembered that night and he did. He tells the same story as he laughs about the dreaded date that would never be repeated, until now when it was safe. To this day when my mother asks about Gretel, she asks “What about Grebluatous?”