My mother and I used to play Parques, much like the American Parcheesi, but the Colombian version. Mom and I would sit cross legged on our sofa and begin the game. This is back when I wasn’t a teenage yet and my mom still had energy and hadn’t been dragged down by my dad’s illnesses. We were happy then, and we laughed.
The games would happen sometimes during the week nights, but more often than not, our Parques game night happened on Saturday nights, after dinner, and while we watched Sabado Gigante back when it was still somewhat decent and women were three-quarters clothes (as opposed to the now three-quarters naked women pushing their Latin sexuality on the audiences). Dad never played; this was Mom’s and my game. I would go to the closet and bring out the box with the vibrant greens, yellows, reds and blues. Mom would sit on the sofa, trimming her cuticles while she waited. I’d set up the game and chose the color – Mom would always let me choose the color – and then we’d start. I won often, and sometimes I think she’d let me win. We would talk and laugh and enjoy that time.
Then Dad stopped sleeping and started taking some sleeping pills sent from Colombia. Our games stopped around then. We were in the 2-bedroom apartment with the den. My godparents had died in the 1990 plane crash in New York, and we had left Westchester for good. I was a new face, with glasses and braces, in a new school, secluded to my studies. That’s when Dad started breaking more glasses, and when the screaming became ordinary. My mom and I would go walking now; no more Parques games because something would set my dad off and the board would fly, the game pieces would get lost, and my mom would cry.
I miss those games.