By Rubén S. Cubillos
A Big Chihuahua. Inc.

Life has a way of getting in the way of what we shouldn’t take for granted. People around us either inspire us for better or worse. The words I share here are to inspire a whole new generation of dreamers willing to give it their all and climb their own mountain.

From my experience music is an element that triggers moments in time once lived, in moving images of memories. Recently at a stop light the first six notes of a song on the radio triggered, at lighting speed, the images of a long lost acquaintance – Selena. It was a beautiful day with a deep a blue sky touching a few puffy pillow clouds almost revealing the smile of a giddy girl with tight china doll eyes speaking in slow motion. The song was “Dreaming of You” and as it had many times before, it took my breath away with a deep sigh and an empty sadness. It has been 15 years and the experience will remain seamless. Why, because emotion knows no boundaries… it’s timeless. The voice on the radio launched a quick time movie fully loaded with ten or more images and places once lived. The heart truly holds a hollow space for those we miss, yet the human senses recapture the joy of those very moments.

By the time the light changed to green, I had relived the drive from the recording studio back to the hotel in the middle of the night where I got lost on a long California highway. A twenty minute ride took nearly two hours – Selena along with a car load of other artists couldn’t stop laughing until we reached the hotel. The next memory that came to mind, was a recollection of how we made her cry during her first Capitol/EMI Latin album cover, because we asked her to step outside her comfort zone with less make-up (we got our money shot), and how can I ever forget being there with Marcella, as Selena approved the outfit for that same photo shoot saying, “Mom, Dad’s gonna hate this…” and I explained it was her call, and the outfit would reveal her youthful bronzed Mestizo skin — the radiating color of a stunning Goddess image. She made the right call.

Now, years later I understand the challenges of fatherhood, the insight of trying to make the best choices for one’s family first, and making a million right decisions as the earth is spinning at your feet. Selena had soul like no other during this time in Tejano. “What is a soul? It’s like electricity – we don’t really know what it is, but it’s a force that can light a room.” Ray Charles — that’s how I rationalize the Selena era. Her comfort was all about music, spirited laughter, and to experience her magic in the studio defined her power as a vocalist acting out the lyrics written by a story teller.

There is a voice inside me that tells me how fortunate I was to have experienced these small fragmented moments that allowed me to contribute her climb toward the mountain. She touched so many then and many more for years to come. It can be said that every star has a place in the night sky and so they shine forever. My faith allows me to believe we shall meet again. Tonight, I can almost hear that giddy, one of a kind, laugh coming from the stars.

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