part 7: sunday morning
It is Sunday morning. Again.
What begins, innocuously enough, with coffee and cigarettes has me waving in coordinates less than one hour late later. Cell phone in hand. Leaning out over the geraniums on our balcony.
Irene, Irene. Turbulent of eye. Cruelly inflicting Category 3 damage in the Caribbean where she first dabbled in tearing down the house. Horrifying cosmonauts in perpetual orbit. Truck drivers from Campanario through West Virginia.
There is rain in the air. Bruised skies.
And the threat first nursed in her sulking retreat in a Latin safe quarter, silk knickers hand-stitched and waiting in a loft somewhere in Manhattan. Flushed north, west with the tourists. On across the Atlantic. Those sodden skirts whipping up a lather.
What\’s that ? I scream. No, no. Right I said. Turn right.
My wife hands me the baby and jumps down the stairs. She and our visitor miss each other by a couple of streets. Take a fucking right and follow the avenue straight on down.
I windmill my arms and pace back and forth like Fidel on his mountain in 1957. Take our son inside and return to light a cigarette. It has been years since I have been close to a good cigar.
We meet up – our friend, my wife, her four-year-old daughter – and drink more coffee. Her little girl trips on the concrete and splits her knee. She does not blink an eye, but asks for pen and paper. Tires quickly of the scribbling and imprisons my tiny son in a pink chalk circle.
We listen to Cachao. Israel Lôpez. A little Miles.
I don\’t own a passport. I can\’t fake the moves. But I love to marvel at the women. The cars. Those tail fins. Radiator grills like the grins on circling barracuda; Myer Lansky\’s junkie cronies bedded down at the Hotel Nacional.
Hot-pants. Basketball vests. Ripe melons. Mojitos.
A ring of fingers spread along the Malecón.
Not quite 11:00 AM, my head is cloudy. Jammed full of trivia. Fatigued too easily.
Irene, Irene. She\’ll give you a slap still.