The lights would eventually be turned off (save a nightlight she insisted on) and we’d say goodnight into the semi-dark and inevitably would start to communicate.
“Que fue ese ruido?” (What was that noise?), she would ask in her Argentine Spanish called Castilian with a melodic sing-song heavily laden Italian accent. I later learned in a linguistics college course that once you reach the age of puberty, you are stricken with an inability to ever lose your accent when learning a new language due to the jaw bone rigidity that is perpetuated with adolescence. It is a convincing and scientific argument for learning several languages at once before the junior high age.
In my unbelievably horrendous version of the Spanish language, I replied, trying to console, “No es nada Abuela, solo es el viento.” (It’s nothing, Grandma, it’s only the wind.)
The chatting ensued. Abuela Estela told me about my similar-aged girl cousins (whom she was lucky enough to live with), my dad’s childhood including his mischievous but clever antics, and about her own life growing up in Italy as a child and into her teenage years before her move to Argentina.
Interspersed and interrupting our conversation, she queried, “Estas segura que apagaste la luz en el bano? Te lavaste las manos?” (Are you sure you shut off the bathroom light? Did you wash your hands?)
“Claro que si” (of course) I assured her so she could sense all was well and resume her narrative.