The following morning, I was awaken by my Aunt Carmen and fed a delicious breakfast with great coffee, some flavor indigenous to the Island, with her old friend George we were driven to my Grandfather's house to meet with him and my Father, Mother, and Sister. With mixed feelings I sat in the back seat of the rattling burgundy Lincoln Continental as Aunt Carmen narrated with gusto between puffs of her cigarette the passing countryside, telling me of how and why the streets are raised above the neighborhoods because of the constant carjackings. It is an epidemic here, it seems. Jungle passed, swaying palms, floral gardens...paradise. We pull up to the day-glo blue one story house with decorative bars, corrugated iron roof, Grandfather, tall, thin tanned and bald stands smiling outside. Next to him, tall and grim like a corpse with a stick up his ass is my Father, dressed in black slacks and white dress shirt. He isn't smiling. Ten years have passed and no warmth from that man.
With Grandfather hands are shook hugs are given cheeks are kissed. "My you are so tall and thin, just like your father." I look over at him and he just looks down. "Hello, Son. I trust your trip was a pleasant one."
"Yeah..." Was all I could muster.
"And, so it would seem." He said tightly. "Mother is inside. Come in and say hello."
How I hate him. Well, go through the motions, kiddo. Put on your poker face, you've conned pimps, junkies, bookies, hustlers, crooks, and worst...you can deal with the folks. Mother was not how I remembered her. Ten years of cancer has taken its toll. She was a withered grey phantom and it took all my strength to hold back the tears and keep my cool as I walked in the room and saw her sitting on the couch with that pinch faced bitch Sister of mine. Mother smiled and with outstretched arms stood and embraced me. As Father and Grandfather stood in the backyard drinking coconut milk from coconut husks (as did I, thanks Grandfather.), I sat in with my Mother and we talked of things. I had to be so vague with her concerning my life. I just kept repeating, "My life is so crazy, Mother. So surreal."
Well, I was informed that a huge family reunion was going to take place that evening and so it did. The party was pretty good, every one got drunk. There was good music provided by a live cumbia band. A huge bon fire was lit, they buried a pig which was devoured by the guests and the party goers were polite yet festive. Being half Puerto Rican (My Father.) and half German (My Mother.) has it's advantages...especially if the German half is dominant. These Latins really dig the white folk! It seems that half that freaking Island were relatives of ours and they all were interested in meeting me and the mothers or aunts kept trying to pawn their daughters off on me. Nigguh, please!
There were some awesomely hot guys there. I became a close friend with one of the translators. A tall thin guy named Fernando. He was a handsome man with a good physique; I liked the way his little ears poked out. With him, I really got to know the island. Fernando was a bi-sexual and who had married his girlfriend because he got her pregnant. Same old heterosexual bullshit. With him we cruised the straight bars and discos of San Juan and the neighboring towns. The times with Fernando were pretty hot, though it was very few in between. When he found out that I was homosexual, it didn't seem to phase him. But, he said he wasn't interested in sex with men.
The following morning, I attended the funeral procession and that was beautiful. It started in the main cathedral in Bayamon and then Grandfather, Father, and a few other family members carried her casket from the Cathedral down two blocks to the cemetery where the funeral took place. Flowers were everywhere and I stood with Aunt Carmen as she cried and placed incense and roses on Grandmothers casket.
There was this other translator named Paco, a short balding young guy who all he talked about was sex. I do believe that boy would fuck anything. I found him as sexually appealing as a wet mop. After the funeral, he took the whole group up into the rain forest to hike around. The rain forest, also referred to as El Yunque, was a state park located on the center right of the island. Acres and acres of steaming jungle and swamps spread as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking! The path we followed meandered next to a stream that eventually exited into a majestic waterfall. All of us brought swimtrunks and splashed around in the lake below. It was beautiful.
Late that evening, after Fernando dropped me off at Aunt Carmen's house, I was walking up to the gate and I was met by Omar. Omar was wearing nothing but a pair of black speedoes and sandals and it was so hot his ripped torso was glistening with sweat. I had the keys to the garage and we went in there to talk. He had gotten into an argument with his wife. Well, one thing led to another and we had very hot sex. It was so wild. Sweating in the tropic heat, Omar had my shorts down around my knees, we both were standing up, he screwed me from behind. Grunting and huffing, Omar pushed me up against the garage wall as he squirted up into me. Unfortunately, I do believe my Aunt was eavesdropping. The following day, when I woke up, she started screaming at me in Spanish, so I really didn’t understand her. But, I knew what the problem was. She kicked me out.
Here I was, stuck on the streets, on a foreign island, and not much cash. I went to the hotel where my Mother and Father were staying in San Juan, explained what happened and as long as I didn’t mind sleeping on the couch they agreed I could stay the night. Their plane left the following morning.
Conversation with Dad. 12:22 a.m.
Father: And if you want to go to bed with a member of your own sex, of which I certainly disapprove, I should think you could at least show a little more discretion. And why son...I don't understand. It's a sin...a sin...
Me: It's passive and feminine.
Father: A provocation. Look what happened. You end up getting poked by a middle aged married man...maybe he was just probing you for your money. Thees gringo, he got it somewhere. Well...I don't understand you, Son. I don't approve of you and I never will. And speaking of money, I guess you're broke, as usual. Here's two hundred dollars. That's the best I can do for you. I wish you would do some thing with your life, Son and stop this wondering around.
The following morning, I saw my parents off at the airport. I knew as we said good bye and I watched them walk up the ramp that this would be the last time I would ever see them for the rest of my life. My feelings for them? Well...nothing. Cold. Empty. Nothing.
My plane didn’t leave for a couple of days so I shacked up with Fernando and his wife. The cool part was his wife went to the city of Ponce to visit her family for a day and so Fernando and I spent it mostly in bed. How? Straight guys are so easy. Saturday afternoon in San Juan we visited this bar on the beach with his friend and got pretty toasted. Returning to Fernando's house we smoked a couple of joints as we played his PS2, and the conversation of sex popped up. The boy can fuck and fuck good. There is something erotic about getting screwed on the same bed by a man where he bangs his wife every night. I need not write what happened here, suffice to say, twice 'round and we both broke a sweat.
The next morning, when my swallows had finished Capistranoing, Fernando and I said our good-byes and I boarded my plane back to El Paso, Texas. Fernando, with two fingers and pucked lips, tossed off a kiss and was gone.
A sneeze travels at a peak velocity of two hundred miles per hour. A burp, more slowly; a fart, slower yet. But a kiss thrown by fingers—its departure sudden, its arrival ambiguous, and there is no source that can state with authority what speeds are reached in its flight.
El Paso: Death is absence of life. Wherever life withdraws, death and rot moves in. Whatever it is - orgones, life force - that we all have to score fore all the time, there is not much of it in El Paso. Your food rots before you get it home. Milk sours before you finish the meal. El Paso is a place where the anti-life force is breaking through. Death hangs over El Paso like an invisible smog. The place exerts a curious magnetism on the moribund. It is a dead museum.
Yes, Father, I will do as you ask...starting now.