San Blas and Other Crazy Things

I read it, and I wanted to cry. So I started drinking water quickly to push it down. It doesn’t really matter.

I know you loved me more than anything. You taught me that the only way to love is unconditionally. You explained so much. I argued even when I knew you were right because that is how I was. That is how I am. You told me your heart is on the left.

Too selfish, these tears. I’m thinking of Guadalajara and those classes. How much easier it was for me, how little I understood about everything. We drank everyday. We went to a club called Osiris on the last day of school and we danced, heavy with beer and tequila. I can’t remember the name of the guy we traveled with afterwards but I have photos. Our bus climbed twisted and scary roads until we were at the top of a grassy hill and the air was crisp and dry. It didn’t feel like Mexico until we saw the parade and la virgen held high on a wooden platform painted light blue and gold. We stayed cheaply, all in the same room. There was cracked green tile everywhere and roaches in the shower. I remember the smell of sweat, fried gorditas at a stand, masa being rolled into tortillas. And over and under and through everything this thick unrelenting passion fueled by alcohol, grief and that painful, sharp need scraping the inside of my stomach. There was hunger motivating everything I did. And I missed daddy so much. That was there, too. You couldn’t replace that love but you tried. I tried. I wanted everything. I wanted to fuck the guy we were traveling with. I wanted you totally and unconditionally and forever and I didn’t want to have to do anything.

We went on a trip with the rest of our class, somewhere on the coast where the mosquitoes were thick and children sold us pepinos with lime and chile through the bus windows. Drunk, you stood on the bed and sliced your back on the blades of the fan but you said it didn’t hurt. The mosquitoes never bit me. Your arms and legs were spotted and scabbed and bleeding. We found relief in that warm ocean. I never wanted to get out. I still never want to get out.

Later or earlier, in another coastal town, we met that old ruddy gringo who had moved there. He found a local named Soledad and a little house with peeling paint and sandy grass in front. He spent his days catching and cooking fish over coals on the beach and drinking and staying in love with Soledad. There were pigs running wild on that beach. I have those photos, too.

I miss you so much right now. It’s only been twenty years. Like I miss drinking, or my father. Like a limb, or a ventricle.


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