Eran las 3:00 am. cuando, con sueño en los ojos, desmontaba mi maleta para tomar el primer vuelo hacia la ciudad de Nueva York. Cargaba en mi brazo el “coat” ya que llegaríamos a la Gran Manzana en medio del invierno neoyorquino, implacable para mi sangre que aún fuera de mi patria bombea por mis venas a unos treinta y tantos grados Celsius. Los dominicanos tenemos una particularidad, hacer una fila para esperar cualquier servicio nos convierte automáticamente en hermanos. Entre unas veinti-tantas personas me tocó frente la que se convertiría en mi hermana de vuelo, Rosario (si lees esto y recuerdas quien soy por la historia, recuerda que te dije que algún día escribiría sobre ti, bueno aquí va!). Rosario vestía un bello pantalón blanco, su manicura perfecta y su impecable chaqueta de cuero negro pudieran haberme engañado, juro que pensé que Rosario viajaba tan frecuente como lo hacía yo. Solo nos diferencian dos cosas, su Tubi y el hecho de que yo viajaba como visitante, ella llevaba ese sobre sellado en sus manos en el que se encerraba una despedida a su patria. La familia de Rosario la despedía con lágrimas y ella, un poco nerviosa, me dice en la fila de la línea aérea: “Ay amiguita, no me vayas a dejar sola!”. Los que han viajado conmigo saben lo que pasó después, ¿verdad?, Rosario y yo pasamos juntas al mostrador y con la seguridad que te da ser dominicano y viajar seguido conseguí que nos pusieran en asientos continuos. Al pasar el área de migración y sentarnos a esperar el vuelo, la dejé a mi lado texteando a sus familiares mientras yo me sumergía en mi libro de turno. La pregunta que rompiera el silencio me dejaba boca abierta: “¿Por qué viajas sin Tubi?”. De las miles de preguntas que ella pudo hacerme, esa me arrancó una mirada de asombro, le contesté: “Yo ni loca viajo con un Tubi, de hecho no se me hacer uno”. Ella me miraba como que había violado alguna regla y renunciaba a mi nacionalidad dominicana por no saber cómo hacerlo. Su reacción me hizo sonreír. Si no sabes lo que es un Tubi, es seguro que no eres dominicano. Este arte es una forma de recoger tu pelo, que en la cultura dominicana, es lo más cercano a cualquiera de los milagros descritos en la biblia. De hecho, el Tubi está localmente catalogado como la manera en que las dominicanas mantenemos un pelo hermoso aún bajo un 95% de humedad (Sorry Rihanna we invented it, we mastered it, and its ours). Montadas ya en el avión, al momento del despegue, la ansiedad de mi compañera de vuelo era evidente y mientras su mano casi rompía la mía, decidí, para hacerla pensar en algo más, preguntarle: “Y tu Rosario, ¿por qué llevas un Tubi?”. Recuerdo haberla escuchado enumerar las razones una por una: “Mira el pelo se te mantiene lacio, sabes tengo el negro detrás de la oreja y se me ondula seguida que salgo del salón de belleza…”, pero la que más me impactó fue cuando me contaba como su madre le enseñó a perfeccionar este arte a los 7 años de edad, claro yo no dejaba de pensar como la cultura del Tubi no estaba todavía incluida la educación de mi hija mayor, que ya rondaba los siete. Cuando se anunciaba el descenso a la ciudad de Nueva York, yo como una perfecta compañera de vuelo agarraba las pinzas que Rosario cuidadosamente sacaba de su cabeza luego de haber retirado el gorro tipo redecilla con el que había amoldado su bella cabellera color ámbar. Fue en ese instante donde una mirada rápida me mostraba que una fila de asientos delante, otras mujeres hacían lo mismo. Ante el discurso de desaprobación de la azafata, yo soltaba mi cinturón de seguridad y me paraba unos minutos, repasaba aquel vuelo con mis ojos y sentía que de algún modo yo, con mi pelo negro, rebelde y suelto, le había fallado a mis raíces, era de las pocas que no llegaba a la Gran Manzana con un pedazo de nuestra cultura envolviendo sus cabellos. Esperé paciente que Rosario saliera, recogiera su maleta y juntas caminamos fuera del área de migración. Le había prometido prestarle mi celular para que llamara a sus familiares pues ella llegaba sin comunicación. Minutos más tarde mientras a mi aún no me recogían, llegaban unas seis personas que abrazaban felices a mi nueva amiga. Al decirles quien era, ellos me abrazaban como si yo también llegará a vivir con ellos, me ofrecían llevarme a comerme un sancocho a su casa en Washington Heights para luego llevarme a Brooklyn, que era mi destino, como si el trayecto fuera nada, pero así somos los dominicanos. Tuve que rogarles prácticamente para que me dejaran sola en el aeropuerto, luego de prometerle al tío de mi amiga que si no pasaban por mi yo le llamaría. Mientras se alejaban escuché a la Tía de Rosario decir: “Qué bello tu pelo!”, yo la veía sonreír, mientras en su cartera se encontraba el secreto, un arte tan patriota como nuestra bandera. Ella era una exponente de lo que me gusta llamar, la cultura del Tubi. Me reí, a carcajadas y Rosario gestionaba con la cabeza, cómplice de un chiste que sólo nosotras entendíamos.

72 thoughts on “La Cultura del Tubi”

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