Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Night in South America

Yesterday morning, the sun rose behind schedule.

Concealed by the mini skyscrapers of capital federal, it proposed daylight, emitted just enough to hint that it would someday arrive, framing the sides of my world in half-light. The street-sweepers and taxi drivers moved down Avenida Santa Fe, their bodies only shadows that graced the storefronts and cafes not yet open, the air waiting for the sun’s warmth that didn’t come; the wind moving autumn’s starched leaves across the pavement as they crunched under foot.

Yesterday morning, the sun granted us the hour once lost in time zones as we walked north. North towards the river, north towards the equator, north towards New York.

We walked and I told you about the man that sold me flowers on my corner, who held the bouquet as I clutched and offered up my 10 peso bill, the obvious exchange, the vendor who would not follow the laws of trade until I had lent my ear to his theories. The Kirchners he began, are not leftist, not really, no. I duly nodded and agreed. He spoke of political tides, of characters more colorful then the delicate flowers in the bouquet he grasped like a sword, waving victoriously. He gestured for me to come close and whispered of the changes that were to come, but they depend on you, on the youth! The youth need to rally. I put my bill down on his plywood table and slipped the bouquet from his grasp, smiling, thanking him, and promising to rally. If you can’t do something with passion, don’t do it at all.

Four months it took me to see Buenos Aires, to really see her. I was ambivalent, too critical, not willing to vivir y dejar vivir. But without warning, sometime in the past month, my love for the city snuck up behind me. While her name is a lie (diesel fluid does not a clean air make), I’ve seen the beauty in her idiosyncrasies and now cannot un-see…. The street murals, the smells, my neighbor across the airshaft who declares every hour an appropriate time to blast opera, the Argentine arrogance that only a foreigner would see as such.

Buenos Aires is a city of ephemeral beauty,
inhabited by those who understand its fleeting nature.

And yesterday, in the hour before day, in the parallel space where my flight home would not exist,

I was one of them.

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