I’m in love with a foreigner who seems to be trapped alone in Ecuador at the moment, gazing sadly in the direction of other lovers, all alone in his sadness, alone in the darkness of a warm night- I wish he would find me, because I am somewhere, something… someplace for him to come home to. Until then I am empty.
I am in Puerto Vallarta, in the company of many, my mind lost in the crowds. I hear the chatter “Si! Si!… Si, es bueno!” and sit down on a broken curb to think, hands cupped over my sweat-drenched bangs, pressing the dead clinging pieces of me into my forehead. I look up and see my family. Oh god- surrounded by family and I still feel alone, isolated in front of the firing squad. I need a cigarette. I’d pull one out of my pocket, or buy one from that helpless little Mexican child hustling over on the market corner, I’d light it up and glory in its dusty anguish filling my lungs, but I’m surrounded by expectations. How dare I be human in a world of chimpanzees? I chuckle and think: somewhere there is a guy chain-smoking and thinking of me, and I bet the next thing he’s going to do involves a lot of wine and self-pity. All I can do is wait for him, because he keeps moving and my chances of running into him are greater if one of us stays still.
I feel the backs of my thighs cooking. Hot- hot pavement. I smell the market grills. Thousands of mouths, towers of food, all with one purpose and one alone- profit. Not satisfaction, but profit. All for one and one for profit. Well here’s a prophecy for you: all of this is useless out of context. I am the only home I will ever know, and yet I’m empty and waiting for an occupant other than myself. Someone to kiss me back: my lips cannot kiss themselves. I see two lovers walk by me, whispering nauseatingly sweet nothings to each other, nothings that I wish I could feel, nothings that only become somethings when they are on your lips or in your ears.
My lips are chapped, I lick them wet with the little saliva left in me. I taste blood and feel the sting from the spices on my tongue, all the cracks and crevices of my lips are filled for now… but those of my heart are left waiting. My family isn’t waiting for me, I see them laugh happily and buy meaningless tokens of affection for one another. I pull another mango candy from my pocket, unwrap it delicately and pop it into my mouth, letting it slide easily from one side of my mouth to the other, anticipating the burning excitement of chili powder at its center-one of the many things tourists don’t expect, like so many other things.
1.) The reason Mexican men whistle is because they like viewing mass amounts of your flesh and you’ve pleased them. It’s a frightening reminder of why you shouldn’t wear your daisy dukes… you might even have pinch-marks to refer to later, like a shiner from a fight.
2.) Just because it’s silver and shiny, doesn’t mean it’s worth crap.
3.) Definitely don’t crap in public toilets- chances are they wont flush.
4.) Don’t sit on the toilet, get into a yoga stance with both feet straddling the bowl.
5.) Don’t get your pants tangled or you’ll end up on the floor and you wont want to take them home.
6.) You are given only one chance, there are no second takes.
7.) Don’t give, and the panhandler will follow you for a block.
8.) Do give, and they’ll definitely follow you for a block, or more… with all of there friends following behind them like the Children of the Corn.
9.) That isn’t white gravy on the corn… it’s lard.
10.) Dogs love lard, but it’s used mostly on dishes made for humans.
11.) There are stray dogs everywhere, feed them if you feel so inclined, but don’t complain when you become one of the pack.
I don’t want to become one with the sidewalk. Standing up I feel the blood rush from my head and get dizzy, staggering- a man walking by catches my arm before I fall. Looking up at him I smile. He smiles back. A woman runs up and grabs his other arm. Winking at me he walks off with his girl: he and she, arm in arm. I look down at my empty arm. Better luck next time. I sigh and turn my head to see the ebb and flow of people in the crowd. Maybe he’s out there, but only if he chooses to be. This I believe.