emma b. says

Monday, January 29, 2007

Reposado Redux

Back from the light straight into the night, gone from vacation and too many books and tacos, back to Haight street and the shuttered Gap on the corner and the cool pacific stars, farther and darker than they were in Mexico, where when one is bolstered by reposado, one plucks the stars from the sky and adorns her wrists for a couple of hundred pesos, and from the balcony watches the fireworks compete from different hotels on separate beaches and the silvery moonlit exhalations of beleaguered whales settling in for a tourista free sleep.

Back from the sun then, honeyed and freckled and blonder, much blonder, slightly embalmed in vitamin D, wearing my lonesome like a lace mantilla, shoulders back, all the world's music withheld in my gait.

On Saturday on a boat full of Mexicans, my parents and I understanding enough that the gringos are being good naturedly ribbed, I have in my hand a bottomless margarita and I am dangling my legs over the side of the boat. It's still earlyish, in that it's well before noon, pods of whales showboating for the maddening crowds, breaching, huffing, disappearing at the stern to reappear gamely at the starboard side. Not to be outdone the dolphins skitter across the bay, cresting I think, to the strains of Beethoven's fifth, to dazzle the drunkards by flipping in the wake, a sea turtle nods, and another. I think of soup. I think of all that life churned in the rudder, I think I'd like to slide in the water, I'd like to think I could swim that far.

Later I will drop into the water, with a mask and a snorkel, and spend some time investigating brightly colored fish and scuttling crabs, be sort of really surprised at all those living things being pulled hither by the ebb of the tide - and seemingly nonplussed - well no shit girl, fish are fish. I float above, fall in love with the sound of my own breath and the scrabble of the sea floor, the sun will sear the straps of my bathing suit onto my skin in the glare of the water.

And the afternoon will begin to wane, the water will bloom blue and iron gray in the shadow, they will drop on us a beach full of families on Saturday afternoon, on the beach in leotards and boxer shorts, good smells and tortillas and mucho cervesa, me and my hair and my tits will be the object of much beery leering, they will dart like the dolphins on the warm and negligable swells, they will swim close but keep a respectable latin distance, there will be many holas from bobbing dark heads and I will dive beneath the waves, hold my breath in the shallow water, grab sand in my toes and think I am a glorious mermaid.

At the appointed hour I will rise from the sea and stretch my honey dark legs on the prow of the little barca that will conduct us back to the boat, and the dark heads in the water bade me goodbye, my father laughed, my mother rolled her eyes, and the tour conducter threatened to auction me off, it was all a silly, massively flattering illusion and I needed it, I needed it like a tonic, like I needed the sun and a bucket of tequila, like everyone wants to be noticed, to be seen. Like a bad feminist, I only wanted to lap up objectification like a magic elixir, to taste it on my salt water skin after the sun had set, as if it would stave of his absence, as if it were love itself.

the rest is a haze of tacos and tennis, squalls with my parents and there is a subject in itself. I was far from the only one, slouching towards the latter thirties vacationing with my parents, we would eye each other warily in restaurants, and then eye the honeymooners with a mixture of disdain and wantoness, turn back to our dinners and our parents getting sentimental over that last margarita too much, fall into that merciless twin bed and dream of sex, dream of nothing but sex, because it's hot and the fan is whirring in your subconscious and the absence is a steamy component in all those torpid dreams you wake wrapped around morpheous whose celebrity limbs have up and left in the pallid morning. It makes for good tennis, I'll say that much.

Yesterday was Sunday. I shook off the dream I'd had about a famous boy who'd asked me if I trusted him to tie me up and I'd said no and let him do it anyway. I stretched and admired my tan lines in the mirror and put on my fetching blue tennis skirt, then I practiced my forehand on my mother, it's getting lower and faster and inadvertently, but wonderously goes effortlessly to deep corners. Then I ate grapefruits, in that I ate them with a sort of Pantagruel boorish sensuousness, ruby and bursting and the worlds best tomato juice, which is hardly juice, but some kind of mexican wonder to make a girl billious - herdez tomato juice con limon y picante, possibly a perfect concoction, just add a wee shot of reposado, what the fuck, after all, the plane awaits.

Then I sat by the pool, and then I swam, thinking it might be June before I swim again. Then I pet the sundry cats hanging about. Loaded my wrists with all the silver stars I plucked from the sky, had a last taco, had a last margarita. A little over a year ago, I boarded the very same flight, I looked to my seat and there he was, my seat mate, the engineer, the one who moved away and absconded with my heart, who I have tried to banish, and comes unbidden, I can't quite seem to unlove him, though I have tried. There I am at the airport, it's all the same as it was, it's the same line, it's the same surly dude going through my luggage. It's the same race to the gate, I am in the same flip flops. It's the same. But last year I was boarding the plane on the tarmac without expectation, I just boarded, sweating and frazzled and there he was. So I boarded in the same state, sweaty and frazzled and I expected to see him there, like it was some great cosmic do over, to correct all the wrongs that I had never committed, how could I rectify all the rights, he doesn't love me and it's as simple as that and he's gone now. But I cannot explain how absurdly hopeful I was that he'd be there, in the middle seat, but he wasn't so I laid my head against the window and wept. And the kindly grandma in the middle seat offered me a chocolate.

He was there in my inbox this morning. It makes me wonder about the heart's natural elasticity, just how far can it stretch before it finally breaks definitively, will it sound like a door slam or a protracted howl. Damn hope anyway, damn that wily, shifty thing. Damn it all anyway. I've got my tan, I've got my blond, I've got my silver bracelets, I've got nothing but hope, I've got nothing to lose anymore.


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