the magician

08/05/2010 § Leave a comment

I was approaching my last weeks of being in a foreign country. Trying to take in as much as possible, purely aesthetic: architecture, streets that I would no longer stroll, art galleries, films, anything to keep me from talking to people. I didn’t want to talk. I didn’t want to go home. I didn’t want to stay. So, I floated in between.

The sky was blue, as it had been for many days before that one. The sun was not tempered by a breeze, rather embelllished by it, warmth would wrap its hands around your face like a lover desperate for one last glance before leaving.  A comfortable wind would swirl through the ends of my hair and through my sweaters, reminding me of a similar season that I would enter in my nativeland.

I was walking home from my second-to-last horseback-riding lesson, already numb and trying to conceal the sadness of leaving that place. Maybe, never again. Do not dwell. Step into the moment.

I saw the same man on the corner that I would see every Wednesday evening. He had a glass orb and, like a magician, he used it to wield traffic to a standstill, for the drivers to roll down their windows and reach for their purses for a few pesos. His glass orb was inferior to the red-one lodged in a yellow-box above his head, his powers weakened by overuse and the audience’s boredom. Nevertheless, every Wednesday. I could count on it.

I thumbed around for a two-peso note, the impulsion to reward him, cat-like, mothering, reflexive.  I found a few centavos that I saved for the bus and promised myself, so to him, next time.

On my last week at the barn, I prepared to uphold my word to myself, so to him. I made sure I had that two-peso note, even if I needed to buy a carrot, I would use a larger note to ensure I kept at least one two-peso note.

I left for the barn, I felt odd that this would be the last time, I hopped on the bus, knowing it would be the last time I rode that one in particular. I was early for my lesson, so I walked and I walked. I was still early so I changed and I watched. The powerful jumpers, the kids cow-boying on ponies, the girls who, for some reason, tend to go together in twos, no more, no less. The decrepit dogs, the set-up of the PONY sneaker-release party (weird), the member-only clubbers solitarily sipping coffee, just passing the day. All this would be gone, existing only in memory and experience and personal chains of thought.

I realized that memories are best remembered when you share them with someone. Not only does that other person create an emotion around an event, but offers a perspective, too. I can honestly say that I barely remember most of what happened in Buenos Aires. I was numb.

What I do remember are the moments shared with good people — whether it was discussing ideas over a drink, sipping mate with a friend, or eating good meat from the grill. Everything else is a blur, a flash, an over-contemplation of existential thought. I don’t regret it. It was necessary.

I walked from the barn towards my bus-stop for the last time, ready with my two-pesos to offer to the man with the orb, just as a thanks for his company over the past 5-months. When I got to the corner, I looked high and low, wondering if he had taken a break for the Winter or if he found a more lucrative corner. Whatever the reason, he was not there.

That, I remember.


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