Thursday, January 07, 2010

streets of laredo

She was an Aztec goddess.

He was an Air Force pilot.


Or, rather, he was training to be one.

In a time long ago: Richard Nixon had not yet been reelected president.

But it was not in a galaxy far, far away.
She lived in Nuevo Laredo; he in Laredo.

They were in love.
Or what passes for love for young people in their twenties.

The world was filled with unlimited potential joys.
But he had Qualms. He did not drink booze or use drugs, and fast cars were available only if borrowed. But there were always fast women.

Where they first met is stuffed in a dark corner of his memory -- behind his telephone number in the 1960s and the word for that electronic instrument used in horror films.

Was it at the officers' club?
Downtown Laredo? At a friend's party?

His favorite theory is that she intervened in Nuevo Laredo when an older man with a hard-scrabble mustache and a red eye patch approached him with the hissed invitation to purchase "Spanish fly."

Nuevo Laredo had its own form of performance street art.

She asked him to call her "Linda."
That was not her name, but neither of them could recall her given name.

She dreamed of being married to a blond American and living in a large house in Connecticut. The state's name enthralled her after she read it in a Mark Twain novel. After all, it had the word "Yankee" in the title.

She was beautiful.
Petite. Raven-haired. Ebony-eyed. But it was her face that escaped the gravitational pull of cliché.

Her high cheekbones showed a hint of Indian heritage.
But her skin and lips were as Spanish as any Criolle.

Lord Byron's love may have walked in beauty like the night.
But "Linda" was the very beauty of the night.

Young men in their twenties say such things.
With no shame.

At 26, she was four years older than her pilot trainee.
To him, she was as exotically sophisticated as a Hapsburg princess.

In his Miracle Whip world, their relationship would have been fodder for gossip.
The closest thing to Mexico he had seen was taco shells and jumping beans. In Laredo, they were simply part of the landscape.

For three months, they were inseparable.
When he would return from his supersonic world, she would soar with him in her universe. He led her to believe that she taught him to dance. It was a lie. But she taught him different steps.

It was never going to be a long romance.
He eventually stood in the kitchen with new orders in his hands for assignments far from Laredo.

There were tears.
Promises. And other lies.

But they both knew.
It was over.

At least, the moment was.

She became part of him.
Her love for adventure. Her ability to find new in the mundane.

On some lonely nights, he sits in his Mexican home and he focuses his attention on what was and who he is because of her.

And he wonders if she ever found her permanent ticket to cross the border into her dream.


John in LA said...

I like this. This is good.

Tancho said...

Oh,Oh.....You have been harboring a talent, I would have loved to hear your closing arguments a few times.....

Felipe said...

Spanish fly! Boy, haven´t heard that phrase in many a day. You shoulda married her, deserted the imperialistic forces, moved over the nearby border and opened a cantina. She coulda sang. How life would have been different. How disappointed would have been your mama. Ni modo. Missed opportunities.

Nice photo. ¡Ay, Chihuahua!

Calypso said...

I think I would have liked to have heard a few of those opening arguments ;-)

buena historia hombre

Chrissy y Keith said...

love this! and I would like to point out that without Mr. Jigg's to use an an excuse anymore. I think it may be time for you to find a wife. Or atleast start the interview process.

Anonymous said...

What a romantic story...she dreamed of living in Connecticut? I guess she wasn't picturing cold, winter days. Mary

Steve Cotton said...

John -- Thank you. It has been steeping in the back of my mind for some time.

Tancho -- The closing argument gene may still be called upon in the near future.

Felipe -- The photograph is representational. When I found it, though, I was struck by the similarity. I do not regret the relationship -- or leaving. But that was where my interest in Mexico began -- and remains.

Calypso -- You may hear a few more -- in blog style.

Chrissy -- No wife here. I have made it this far down the road solo. I intend to be stuffed in the final box without the drama of a weeping widow.

Mary -- I never understood the Connecticut dream. But she could not understand why I loved politics.

Leslie Limon said...

Quiero mas!!! You have a lovely way with words. Will there be a continuation?

Steve Cotton said...

Leslie -- I assure you, my life continues.