A fresh peach and glass of water followed by the breeze off the dique cooling the sweat pooling around my eyes squinting against the warmth and glisten of the morning sun on the water. Running along Puerto Madero and watching people rowing, skimming across the water, as I dodge uneven cobblestones is becoming one of my favorite ways to start my morning. I come back and drink a vodka bottle worth of water and feast on an orange before I shower. School starts soon…I probably shouldn’t get too comfortable living this life of no responsibility.
I went upstairs to steal the Internet from El quinto piso, because once again my American computer is boycotting the Argentinian Internet and I needed to check and see if my professors had posted where my classes will be held on Monday. (No answer yet…) Ends up, Fernanda, owner of El quinto piso bakery already had customers this afternoon—Heinz and Dani—and there was a magical bunt pan in a dutch oven pot over the stove making succulent chocolate smells waft throughout the bakery, under the door to the hallway, and out the window down the street. Maybe Federico was correct after all…there is no way to keep a restaurant or bakery with mouthwatering aromas like this a secret. And for once, I am in agreement that it probably is illegal to torture innocent passerby by forcing them to smell freshly baked desserts.
I just wanted to check my email, and I ended up interrupting a party…barefoot in a t-shirt and shorts…and somehow eating chocolate cake and looking at pictures of Fernanda when she was doing an artist residency on a beach in Spain after she won a scholarship. Wow. She is just wow.
I finally left…three hours later…to go to a gallery opening that Fernanda told me about. To be truthfully honest, it was not worth the hour bus ride both ways and the upset stomach from the empañada I ate at the pizzeria across the street. Fernanda told me that she had displayed her art in the gallery before. She didn’t tell me that she no longer displays her art there, though, because her art is in an entirely other league. Her humility gave me a free glass of wine and another chapter of Cortázar on the bus ride, but not the weekly session of art therapy I was hoping to attend for free. I should have turned all the lights on in my apartment, dressed up, poured myself a glass of my own wine and leisurely looked through Fernanda’s portfolio and art storage room if I wanted an art endorphin rush.
Nonetheless, I know that I was supposed to go to that gallery of high school art projects tonight. Not because the white wine was sweet, but because I know I was supposed to experience every part of my adventure tonight. Deep down I want to be a realist, because realists have their feet planted on this earth better than the optimist and for certain better than the pessimist. But I know I am not a full-fledged realist, I’m really an optimistic-realist. I would much rather float across the surface of life feeling the breeze of an innocent bliss, close enough to see the scum on the ground, but high enough to keep my feet from being sullied. That’s why I always allow the reprieve of the concept of fate flow over me when I can’t explain why things happen the way they do. Why did the Internet fail today? So I could see Dani and Heinz by surprise. Why did I run through Puerto Madero? So I could eat Fernanda’s chocolate mousse cake today and feel a teeny-bit less guilty. Why did I get lost today on the way to the gallery? (My realist side allows me to admit that I am awful with directions.) So that when I asked a woman for directions, a guy who had just finished a work-out could walk with me to the next bus stop and give me perfect directions of how to get to the gallery. He said it was his favor for the day. Without me, he could have gone the whole day without helping someone or telling a girl trying to learn a new language that she spoke Spanish really well. White lies really can make someone warm inside. Our kiss on the cheek good-bye was a thanks from me, but even more so the sealing of a pact that I would pass along the good deed to the next person who needs me. Why do I always bring a pen and a notecard in my purse? To write down all of Cortázar’s words that I don’t know and that he invents. But I really brought my Cortázar reading supplies with me tonight so that the woman sitting behind me on the bus could borrow my pen.
Fate. Love. Generosity. Whatever you want to call it. An inexplicable force that makes life possible connects us all. Some people choose to ignore it and find themselves surprised when they experience its power. Others expect it and are let down when they find that they are the ones that are the kink in the chain. Then there are the ones who are acutely aware of the might and capacity of this unifying force and participate in its dispersal and garner its abundant wealth; they are the ones who give without hesitation and receive with no thoughts of guilt because they understand that the way in which they live will repay the world exponentially with deeds that will make others believe in this nameless power.
I have met so many people in this new and distinct país, and not only the ones whom I know by name have made me realize how important it is to be a part of this worldly force. It is the easiest way to float through life, drifting just high enough above all the pessimistic filth, having faith that you are a link of a more powerful chain of happenings and magnanimity that don’t require explanation, but merely exist so that one can live with a reassurance and appreciation of the people among us.
So when I was riding the colectivo home and thought I would throw up from being bus sick, I knew it would pass. Eventually. Ends up, I got home and it was worse, so I texted Fernanda asking if she had any recommendation for what to do for an upset stomach. And there she was at my apartment door, and brought me upstairs and made me fresh lemon tea with un montón de limón and within the hour my stomach had already started to settle. I can’t repay Fernanda or Federico for their generosity, but I know that they are two of the strongest links in the chain of this force and they have placed me right between them. I know there is no way I will ever be able to be a kink as long as I live. Optimist-realist? Nah, just a believer in the force. Fernanda is always telling me that everything has an energy. I know what kind of energy I want to be in this life; she has showed me.
I thought I was living my life here with no responsibilities, but I realized today that enjoying these generous happenings and participating in this cycle of energy is really the greatest responsibility of all.