Pink and Blue | Al Valentín

On countless Sunday nights at home in Woodhaven, Queens, my Titi Sonia’s fingers moved gracefully. Lifetime movies blared in the background as she and my cousin Lisette sat on their white leather couch. File in hand, swaying back and forth like hips, Titi Sonia shaped her long nails, squared at the tip. Sometimes orange. Mostly pink. I never saw Titi paint her nails firsthand, but they were more than memorable—symbols of beauty and strength. Her talons declared she was no nonsense, and they didn’t lie. At work, Titi was known for getting shit done and making sure you knew not to try her. Men fell in love with her wherever she went. She couldn’t care less. She was unabashedly herself, unashamed and unbothered. She was a rare thing, a beautiful thing.  The pink inspired by her nails and her favorite lipstick emblazons my shoulder, etched with ink to form hydrangea—flowers that grew in front of the old brick house she bought for herself and Lisette in Richmond Hill. Years later, my tia found herself in … Continue reading Pink and Blue | Al Valentín