She was a dark skinned princess with no kingdom other than myself and countless suitors. Why she chose me out of the all the orphans from St. Anne’s Home for broken hearts I’ll never understand.
Annie had warned me of the easy women on the street there – each with death in their eyes and on their skin. I stayed away from them all other than her. But then again, she was a stranger from New Orleans and didn’t speak a word of spanish.
There is a statue with a fountain in the center of town. It’s of a lady called sweet Melinda, with tears falling out of her eyes – the locals call her the diosa de la tristeza.
The men there they walk in circles or ride motorcycles as white walkers or ghosts from another time, same place.
She was called, Sara and she invited me to her room on Housing Project Hill where we could sit in the window and watch the festivities. We made love all day and then at 4 o’clock a mariachi band began to play and a ladies voice rang out as if in tears…
De la Sierra Morena,
cielito lindo, vienen bajando,
Un par de ojitos negros,
cielito lindo, de contrabando.
A band began to play and other voices joined in we jumped to the window to watch as a crowd began to dance to the song. We threw on some clothes and found ourselves amongst the natives of Juarez as the rain began to fall. It didn’t stop the party we just held each other closer.
We started off drinking some burgundy from a bota bag and then moved on to partake in the bottles of tequila, homemade, that were being passed around. There was a table beneath the overpass with local homemade food which the ladies brought in trays. We kept on dancing as long as the band kept on playing. The tequila made me dizzy so I drank some more which brought some equilibrium – the rain subsided and the clouds parted to reveal and hot sun. The band began to play a familiar tune, to me at least, and we stood aside and watched as some locals performed a dance they must have danced a thousand times.
Don’t ask me how the night ended because I only remember the time when I brought Sara to the fork in the road with the names Fortune and Fame. The legend was that it was either one or the other and neither was what it claimed. It was at that crossroad where I lost consciousness. I woke up in the local jail as the cops boasted that they caught me with a prostitute and a bottle of illegal tequila. I thought I would be in jail forever but apparently someone, possibly Sara, slipped the blackmailed the sergeant in arms and he left his post. When the tequila and the burgundy released me from their grasp, I slipped out of the unlocked cell and made my way back to my ride who was nowhere in sight. Sara was gone and so were all the friends I thought would be there for me when the going got rough. It was then I took a bus ride to my second cousin in Mexico City.
I never did see Sara again, although I hear she is the Mayor of Juarez or Jalisco or something. My ride never did show up again and all those “friends” seemed to disappear when I needed them the most. These days I play guitar in a small bar in Cuernavaca and I have just about saved up enough for a one way ticket back home to New York City. I don’t know if there is anyone there for me anymore, maybe Florence or Rosemary will remember me for who I am rather than the stories told about me. I have no mask and I am simply revealed. I only remember that Sara had dark skin and lips so red; I also remember not to drink tequila and I remember being lost as I danced in the rain in Juarez.
Sunday afternoon – based on Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues by Bob Dylan.