Thursday, October 23, 2014

phantoms in the park

One of the small quirks of my apartment is that it does not have a walk-in closet. I have been actually living out of my suitcase since I moved in. So, today I decided to go buy one. Here in Mexico, most apartments do not offer walk-in closets, so the furniture stores offer quite a large selection.
It was around noon when I headed out and wished to eat lunch before pounding the pavement in my quest. On Juarez Ave., I nabbed two burritos with diced weenies and beans from a tiny shop I frequented. The food is cheap and the people who run it are exceptionally friendly. I made my way through swirling dust and coughing, antiquated buses to a vast park which held a massive monument of former presidente Bonito Juarez. To me, the statue always seemed as if he was flipping off the city. I don't blame him.
As I walked over the dying grass, dodging massive pools of drying, black muck, a tall and quite handsome hustler dashed up to me with the worn-out ice breaker, "Hey, you remember me?"
Actually, I did remember him. The last time I drank at bar Buen Tiempo, he popped his head in the swinging doors, smiled at me with a curt nod of the head, and then disappeared back out into the night.
He introduced himself and stated he was from Honduras. Tall, athletically built, and masculinly handsome. His neck was spotted with an array of hickeys. His voice was stern and deep. I said hello and attempted to continue on my way to locate a bench to eat my lunch but it was too late, he latched on, following me and babbling with questions on what I was doing today in his broken English.
We began chatting about his wish to cross the border and him being reunited with his family in Los Angeles until the hustler's point turned towards sex. He watched a plump female waddle to the nearby bus stop.
"You like the womens?" He asked.
"Nope." I stated.
"You like the boys?" He smirked.
"You crazy. You like nothing?" He laughed.
I only wanted to eat my lunch. As I took a bite of my burrito, he looked at me and leered, "Let's go to your house?"
"That's okay," I said. "I've grown attached to the things in my house." I really didn't feel like being robbed, either.
There was a long pause and I stated, "I never thought you were homosexual."
"I'm not homosexual!" He blurted.
"You have sex with men. And obviously like it."
"Only for the money!"
"Then why don't you have sex with women for money?"
"They not pay!"
"Why? Are you bad at sex? You have a small dick? You cum too fast?"
The disdained look on his face stated he obviously had enough of my shit. Mumbling something I couldn't understand, he dramatically rose and walked away.
Finishing my lunch. I made my way to the markets where they sold used furniture and perused the outlets. I did notice several objects I wanted for my house but I couldn't shake the doubting urge to just pack my shit and get the hell out of Juarez. The thought looms constantly over me like a thick fog.
To alleviate that frump, as I was exiting the market district and making my way to the cathedral, I ran into someone I hadn't seen in almost a decade, my old friend Enrique.
We stood a bit under dusty awnings and shot the shit going over the what-ever-happened-to-so-and-so routine. We eventually wound up in a booth at Cafe Central sipping coffee and pleasantly chatting of days gone past. In the early days, I had such a crush on Enrique when I used to sit on humid nights with my friends in Plaza las Armas and he would saunter by all handsome and full of boyish smiles. He was and still is a great conversationalist as we whiled away the afternoon dunking cake and casually catching up. It was refreshing to talk to someone without the constant dread of it becoming a financial play.
We shook hands on the corner of Ave. Francisco Villa and 16th de Septiembre under the glaring light of a baneful moon making plans to meet for drinks.
As I returned home, my depression elevated as I thought, that is what I want. Not romance or love or recognition, but just good friends to hang with and talk and have a few kicks. Maybe Juarez isn't so bad after all...

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