On my way back from my last English class with Mario, I stopped and talked with Luis again as he was just starting his shift. We talked for a long time; I didn’t know the hour or care to check. There were moments when we picked our favorite colors reflecting off the black water and others when Luis sang Tango and love songs for every passerby to enjoy. (I didn’t know he used to sing professionally…) When I realized I couldn’t feel my feet anymore, I said goodbye and started to walk the remaining fifteen minutes home. As I passed the last bench of the first dique, a man sitting down accompanied by a bookbag, a duffle bag and a guitar greeted my body when I walked by. I ignored him with a professionalism that a woman can only acquire after living six months in a Latin America. Thirty seconds later, with a woman’s sixth sense, I felt him following me. I would have stole a glance in the last window of the buildings bordering Puerto Madero, but it was covered in a tarp, windowless. Instead I made a half turn to verify my senses and saw him like a pack mule following me steadily no more than twenty foot’s distance. I didn’t speed up, just kept walking until I made it to the cover of the overpass; I knew there were usually two military police officers there on their cellphones. As I looked to cross the street I saw him still following me and turned left to join the three officers (there must have been an extra on duty for me tonight) leaning against the concrete of the highway. I passed them and leaned on the far side of them. Ten seconds later, the man passed, eyeing me one last time. As he walked on the oldest police officer asked me if the man had been following me. I said, “Yeah, thanks,” and walked the rest of the way home.
I am lucky enough that this is the creepiest thing that has happened to me the entire time I’ve been in Buenos Aires, but I have to say that it really wasn’t that scary; I know I run faster than pack mules.
Saying goodbye to Julie for the last time was harder than I thought. Sometimes I think we don’t realize how important people really are until we have to say goodbye and then it’s easy to say hasta luego.
I cried in coffee shop today reading a love letter. Was kissed in a park. Understood. Enchanted by a song on a piano created in the passion of the moment. I fell in love at the wrong time, with the wrong person, in all the wrong circumstances. Our love will always be the deepest secret we carry with us, but never anything more than a secret that we feed on when we feel alone and unloved.
I forgot to eat lunch today, filled instead with a passion to be alive. At four o’clock I arrived at Vita, the vegan restaurant nearby la Casa Rosada. I asked for the sweet salad. The gorgeous teenager that works there (whom I imagine is the most delicious item that the restaurant has to offer) apologetically informed me that they were out of two of the ingredients. I then asked for the next salad on the menu. His eyes slightly sympathized with me while still smiling as he explained they were out of zucchini and carrots as well. I was not deterred, rather captivated by the perfect fullness of his lips, so I asked him to invent a delicious salad just for me. He gave me exactly what I wanted—a smile that altered the essence of the afternoon and made the sun seem less warm in comparison.
My salad was perfect: filled with lettuce, pumpkin, tomato, broccoli, tofu, and cashews, but all I really wanted was to taste his presence across the table from me; the desire to get to know his soul pains me knowing that I am leaving in a week. If he only knew the impact his eyes had on me…
The chain of happiness he started, sending that women with the stroller to cross the street with me so that I could lift it onto the curb for her and later the two men carrying sheet metal into a hotel and my being there for them to ring the doorbell and hold the door open. All goodness came full circle today when I went to get my hair cut and the guy washed my hair. He was scratching my head and lathering my long locks in a deliciously slow way that I couldn’t help but smile and sigh. I told him, “Every woman that comes in here loves you don’t they?” He asked why and I told him because it feels absolutely wonderful. I will never be able to forget his shy chuckle. ¡Tu sonrisa me mata! A smile from the kid at Vita led to the guy at the salon washing and conditioning my hair four times over for a half hour.
I’ve cried more in Argentina than I have in all my life in the United States. That is why I know that here I have discovered a level of ecstasy that I never imagined existed. That is the reason I so often cry from happiness: I cry from empathy, I cry from inspiration, I cry from pleasure, I cry from discovering and finally understanding. I cry from experiencing. And most importantly, I cry from living, because before I never realized how powerful the force of life is. Tears are not a weakness, rather a manifestation of the reality of being.
When Fernanda’s mom told me the story of the first time that Fernanda and she traveled to Europe after her husband passed away, I cried. Not because I knew him, but because I realized the impact of moments that appear vindictive really give birth to the most beautiful blossoms. As I stood in Fernanda’s room today, silently wiping tears from my eyes as I listened to a wise tale unfold, I realized that my life too will someday pollenate and manifest something more beautiful than I alone could ever be in my time here on Earth.
I miss you. I miss your dinners that overlap the table with plates full of food, plates full of love. I miss chicken legs next to sweet potatoes speckled with parsley and romaine lettuce accompanied with homemade Italian dressing. I miss your white glass of milk next to red and green roasted peppers. I miss the pasta bathed in red sauce seasoned with Italian meatballs. I miss the Italian bread and soft butter in abundance. But what I don’t miss is that smile of contentedness that you offer to the table after grace, the moment when you translate your love through the food you prepare. I haven’t missed it like I have your lasagna because today when Milta, Fernanda’s mother, prepared me homemade soup she translated her love for me in three words, Buen provecho querida. Her eyes spoke the same language as you Nona and I realized it is only the language a grandmother can speak, a language more powerful than Castellano yet more rich, mucho más rico, than any Romance language. It is my blessing to be your grandchild and listen to you.
I got my Art and Architecture grade back today. I ended the class with a 9/10. It’s obvious that my adoptive parents here are both artist and architect isn’t it? In my Ethics and Metaphysics class I got an 8 on my final. I sent the parents my grades and got a very proud email back, one that made a daughter beam inside, more than any number ever could.
Sabías que 8 es el infinito moebius? este número vaya que te acompaña, porque así de infinitas son tus posibilidades y tu alma.
FELICITACIONES por el esfuerzo grande que hiciste y hacés desde siempre. Te queremos aunque el 8 se des-cruzara y te sacaras en los exámenes un 0. Sos MUY especial, y tenés que hacer valer esta especialidad, que muchos no perciben, los que sí la sentimos, estamos felices de conocerte, con orgullo y ambición de que logres lo máximo que desees en la vida para ser F e l i z !
Fer y Fede