29 mayo 2008

A year ago at this time I was in BsAs, during a brief but refreshing stint with unemployment. I cashed out the meager pittance in my 401k, bought the cheapest ticket I could find and made my reservations for a month at a cozy family home in San Telmo. It wasn't my first visit but it was the first time I had gone on my own, a significantly different experience from the times I had gone with a group. I have no idea how a year has passed since then. When time passes by this quickly it becomes something almost terrifying. My memories are still so vivid, the people I spent time with so present to me. Some of the moments remaining on the periphery of my senses:

-The unusual cold of the winter, the air like a razor. This was the year when there was the snowfall in Cordoba, and a few weeks later in BsAs as well. I walked fast against the temperature, dodging the near-frozen dog mines in the black brick road among porteños cursing the weather, huddled and shivering and loudly bemoaning their shrunken testicles.

-Sitting in a café on Avenida de Mayo with S, my little sister in spirit, the two of us nursing recent broken hearts, swapping stories and encouraging one another in our endeavors.

-Looking out the window of an omnibus en route to Rosario, the darkening sky revealing the southern constellations to me for the first time outside the bright modernity of the metropolis. My good friend C putting me up at his house for the weekend on little notice, introducing me to the city he knew intimately. Near the river a stray dog, patchy, fur like tweed, sidling up to anyone who passed his way, his eyes alight with the hope of a home. He reminded me of that dog in those old Porky Pig cartoons, only less annoying and more pitiable.

-Sitting in an empty Il Gatto on Corrientes at 7:30 in the evening, Phil Collins sussudioing over the PA. Ordering a pizza only to be informed that they didn't have the dough prepared at that unusual dining hour.

-The subte at rush hour, late afternoon, getting swept up in the torrent of commuters and almost unwillingly vacuum packed into one of the cars. Sensing unfelt violations, sounds of things unzipping, then getting spit out at the next stop only to find my backpack pockets open, a Spanish/English Dictionary and a bottle of Advil missing. Later, back in my room, I notice a surgically precise incision along a jacket pocket, which gained the perpetrator nothing but me an anecdote.

Of course, there was tango. Milongas every night, classes every day, lessons that I still haven't processed, some that I have doubts I ever will. But that's all familiar stuff to everybody, right?

Miss that town. Much love to all my friends there, and all those I met who made me feel welcome and indulged my bad castellano.

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