Sunday, August 14, 2011

Kiki's Quince

We are now looking in the rearview mirror at EB's friend's Quinceneara. It's a better view, and a kinder one than the forward view.

Old friend Kiki, who dropped by three months ago, but two years after being on the outs with Earbaby, had her Quinceneara, the coming of age party for 15-year-old Latinas, recently. EB was one of her attendants. The last three months have been a real trial.

Let's back up. Kiki is the former next-door neighbor and best friend of EB. Despite the three-year age difference, the two girls were thick as thieves and at one time, loved each other like sisters. But an embarrassing display of bad behavior on Kiki's part at EB's 10th birthday party was all EB needed to defriend her former BFF. It was an ugly display that won't be revisited here. Before that, Kiki talked endlessly about her quince when she would turn 15 and asked EB to be an attendant even then.

When she showed up again to wish EB a happy 12th, we were surprised. They had moved a few blocks away and never kept in touch. About a week later, Kiki showed up again, this time with her mother and younger brother in tow. She formerly asked EB to be an attendant, and despite the awkwardness that we all felt, EB said yes. Or rather, couldn't figure out how to say no. I couldn't figure out how to extricate her, or us, from the situation either. She had asked my husband and I to be godparents for part of the ceremony, and because we had all been close once, I said we would.

Quincenearas are grand affairs. They are part religious, coming-out debutante and beauty pageant, and paid for by family and friends (godparents) who sign up to pick up the various parts of the tab. I wouldn't commit to paying half of the tab for the hall (the first choice was a $3,000 reception room) but I did say we would sponsor her for her last doll and a Bible (some of the ceremonial gifts). With EB having to buy essentially a bridesmaid dress (no, you'll never have occasion to wear that dress again), all told we were into the Quince for about $200.

No matter. We hoped EB and Kiki would at least reconnect and have some fun. And it would be a little education for us in someone else's culture.

But the buildup to this whole thing was painful for our family. EB went to practice to learn the waltz they performed with their partners and other attendants (it came out beautifully, so it was worth the aggravation) and the samba, which only the girls performed. EB liked that dance and it showed when she got on the floor.

In the meantime, the time, date, and place were changed three times before the dust settled. Luckily, because I was off on sick leave I was able to attend, although I had to fly out for work earlier in the week and fly back in time for the affair that afternoon.

And everything was in Spanish. And the times were off. We went to the wrong church, the one we were told, but I figured out that the 15-minute religious ceremony would probably be in the Spanish church. We were there on time (since they arrived in the Hummer limo late).

Most of the time unfortunately, EB was miserable. She and Kiki had never really reconnected and a part of me regretted not stepping in early and saying, thanks, but no thanks, EB can't be your attendant, but we'd be happy to come to help you celebrate. EB said she was asked because Kiki was desperate (I disagree there), but then when one of the girls quit, EB felt obligated and trapped since she didn't want to add to the stress (I admired her for that).

But there was little interaction with the other kids. EB had always wanted to ride in a limo, but the Hummer, with 14 people jammed in showed her that it was less than glamorous. She sat alone for a time at the head table (this is set up like a wedding folks), until one of the girls invited her to move over and sit closer to everyone else. There were endless photos, videos and loud music. My husband and I, as Bible and last doll godparents, did get in at least one photo. There was the ceremony with her mom changing her shoes from sneakers to high heels, her surprise dance with two friends and lots and lots of announcements and pronouncements.

The food was OK, takeout fare, but not at all bad. I just wished I knew more Spanish so we could understand more. And by the end of the night, EB's mood started to lighten up.

Because the dancing started.

It ended up being kind of fun. EB loved dancing the samba and it showed. She had the moves and her love of dance showed in every movement and expression. She was easily the most interesting attendant out there dancing, and it's not even a style from her culture. The merengue brought her up on the floor to dance with her waltz partner and then they all broke away and went to grab a friend or parent. She and I danced for awhile and she went to grab her dad.

While he and I looked at her during this hours-long affair, we pondered if it was a preview of her prom in a few years. When I watched this dressed-up young lady dancing with her dad, I pondered if it was a preview of her dancing with him at her wedding. They both looked so happy.

The party was set to wind down by midnight, but since Sunday morning service beckoned for us, we called it an early night, right before 10. Happily EB left in a good mood, feeling the way I always did when a party truly gets started. If we didn't have church early the next day, I would have loved to stay and dance a little longer.

It will be interesting to see if we hear from Kiki again. There is still a three-year age gap and spending time together takes more effort than just running next door, or playing volleyball over the fence. But if this is the last we see of Kiki, at least it ended on a high note. At least we all went out dancing.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, girl. I remember attending one of those. Lorelei's former best friend (they are not on speaking terms any more -- a boyfriend stealing fiasco that occurred back in high school) had Lorelei as one of her attendants. I remember saying, "for all this money, somebody oughta be be getting married!" It was a fun affair, the food was really good, and because the mother (who is still my friend though the girls aren't) Renee is black and her husband was Cuban -- there was plenty of English spoken.