Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Long & Winding Leg...

"Sometimes I wish that I had never met you, so I could go to sleep at night not knowing there was someone like you out there..." - Anon

By Patrick Alcatraz

San Miguel de Allende, Mexico - We were in town to work on a story about Americans retiring to this lovely, mountain town north of Mexico City. Mike Boddy,a photographer for The Houston Post, and I were trolling for interviews, at the market, at the Instituto de San Miguel, where the foreigners studied languages, music, and art, at the downtown plaza, at the post office, at the cafes, at the hotel. They were everywhere, at the time said to be some 7,000 retirees and students from the U.S., Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. Boddy went off on his own after the second day. I hung out with the man serving as consul for the American Embassy in Mexico City, the guy Americans ran to when they got in trouble with Mexican law. It was through him that I met a bubbly woman from California named Helen. She became my guide.

And so we traipsed across the old, Colonial town, and it wasn't long before a new friendship turned into a new affair. Helen had something for an underground piano bar, where she would go and sing along with the nattily-attired piano man. The name of the place was The Princess and it quickly became my evening hangout. On the other side of the plaza was a noisier disco - The Bull Ring. I enjoyed that one, but Helen would sooner or later steer me back to The Princess, which, truth be told, served better, bolder drinks.

She lived in a second-floor walkup some four blocks from the downtown shops, in a cluster of apartments leased by Americans. She had a small fish bowl on a kitchen table and two-three parrots in cages set along corners of her small living room. The bedroom was out of the 1960s. A beaded curtain took you in from the hallway. She had asked that the door be removed, is what she told me. I'd have guessed, going in, that she'd have a frickin' water bed in there, but it was just an ordinary post bed with a headboard she had adorned with paper flowers and more beads. It did look - and was - rather comfortable. I recall falling on the bed and bouncing nicely before she lapped-up to pull my boots off before going for my jeans. She was a bit older, something like 52, was my guess at the time. In short time, she made me quite aware that her age had not at all sapped her energy. She was tallish, leggy and used her physique as leverage when we eventually completed the coupling.

My stay that first time lasted two weeks. It would be yet another time when a female source for my stories ended up as a photograph in the newspaper. When I told her I was leaving, she took me out and sprung for a great dinner at an outdoor cafe known for its tree lightings and cackling flock of evening birds. I walked to the bar and picked out a bottle of good wine. We drank while talking our asses off, as if knowing this would be the last conversation between us forever. It was. On occasion, she would mail me a postcard with neat-sounding words and I would stick them in my desk at the newspaper. But I remember I cleaned out my things and threw most of that stuff into a trash can when I left The Post and headed East.

Helen likely stayed in San Miguel. Who knows?

I know this: Endings such as this one are common in meaningless flings...Que lastima, indeed...

- 30 -

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