My memories of Walter Mercado revolve around a small black and white TV. Where Walter would come on the screen and bless us between las noticias y telenovelas. I think back to 1997, when our home was split into two parts. How the El Niñstorm roared the skies in anger of greys and whies. Our roof holding on by plastic tarp. I watched our home split in half, torn from the inside out. How still I would sit by that tiny black and white TV in the kitchen. Turning the dial to Channel 19, positioning the antennas. How Walter would speak a poetic love language between spirit and stars. Watching as Walter spoke with a glow surrounding his words; with a slight turn of his bejeweled hands, speaking directly to the universe. I think back to the nights I wished for his words of guidance. For a sign. As the storm outside my window swelled and swallowed the earth. I sat waiting patiently for his consejosListening closely, holding each word like tiny stars in the palm of my hand– wishing, hoping, praying. Anything to take me away from this storm that continued to break this house in two. Knowing that tomorrow was another day to feel hopeful. Every night, Walter would sign off, “Y sobre todo con mucho, mucho, amor”. For a moment, I would forget the world existed. I would stay silent with the high of the moon beams and delicate stars that Walter placed around my heart. Waiting for the storm to pass.

Ellie Lopez is a writer, photographer and full-time chismosa from Tracy, CA. You can find all her latest chisme on the socials; IG: @lamexicanahermosa, Twitter: @missellielopez