Monday, June 20, 2016

I leave Saltillo. Again.

When all the games are over (and games always end) it was time for me to say goodbye, once again, to Teresa and goodbye, once again, to Karman Rodriguez Barranca Costales. It was time to get back in my Ford Fusion and drive back through the desert, back past the sun-bleached Coca-Cola signs and the cactus, back beyond the green of Monterrey and the Praetorian guards at the border crossing, back to Corpus Christi, and back to New York.

I don’t remember the score of the game people paid to see between the Delfines and the Seraperos. I stopped caring about games long ago—except maybe for ones my kids played in, and even those, I knew, I know, are dumb and ephemeral. They’re games, after all. Games we play as we struggle to find meaning in a world where there is little. Games that help us pass our days. Games that give us something to talk about. But in the end, they’re games. As meaningless as flying a kite in the dark.

Teresa and Karmen walked me from the house to my rental car. I hugged Teresa and she handed me a small tin-foil wrapped package of bunuelos—donuts—she had made me, with the perfect ratio of cinnamon and sugar. I placed them, along with an iced-coffee on the little island between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s.

Karmen hugged me as well. And we kissed. And hugged again.

“It has been 41 years,” she said. “I have missed you.”

“There has hardly been a day when I haven’t thought of you,” I admitted.

No son siempre los días de vino y rosas.”

My Spanish is rusty, but I got it. “They are not long, the days of wine and roses.” Her Ernest Dowson got to me. “They Are Not Long” was always, since I first read it, one of my favorite poems.

I said to her, in English, like I said my Spanish is rusty.

“Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream.”

She smiled a wistful smile. Like the smile I saw so long ago when I saw her in her White dress in the stands at Estadio Francesco I. Madura.

“Sigue sonando, Jorge,” she said, as I backed the Ford out of the drive to begin my drive away from home and to home.

“Sigue sonando, Jorge.”

Keep dreaming.


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