Thursday, August 18, 2011
Full Big Lips & Night Train to Lisbon - La Paz, Bolivia
I crammed into the doctor’s office with all the rest and sat in the only chair available. Beside me was a person holding a book. Reading we both nonchalantly peeked at the title held by the only other person who bothered to carry one. Apparently, we had opted not to be assaulted by the ragtag magazines strewn about the waiting area. We, the only two, had wished to make best use of time spent waiting there in limbo. Her face was young and occupied by big full lips, a very different face than those readily seen here in Bolivia. A forefinger marked her place in a French translation of Salmon Rushdie’s Satanic Verses. She spoke first.
“How do you like it?” She said pointing with her nose at the Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier I had in hand.
“I am enjoying it greatly.” I responded noting her accented Spanish.
“I don’t know, my mother had the book and I tried and tried but just couldn’t. I just wanted him to reunite with the Portuguese woman he found on the bridge.”
Oddly now three quarters through, I had been thinking about that same Portuguese woman in the first chapter that Gregorius meets in the rain.
“Please don’t tell me more; I’d like to find out for myself.”
“Oh yes, so sorry, you’re right.” She’d said quickly.
“Did you finish it?”
“No I couldn’t.”
“Oh.” I said crestfallen.
“No it’s all right. I’ll finish it regardless.”
“Do you read French?” she asked showing me the cover of her book.
“Only with a dictionary.”
“Yes, I spent some time in Salvador da Bahia.”
“I lived there before coming here.” She replied in Portuguese.
“Really? Did you love it as much as I did?” I queried continuing in the same tongue.
“Yes!” she said becoming luminous with the affirmation.
I listened as she spoke of her love for the food, language, the people of Bahia and the sea. Exuberantly she bubbled her joy for living in Brazil facing the expansive Atlantic. Interjecting brusquely, a bustling white uniformed woman entered the room calling out from a list;
“Buchard, Celeste Buchard?”
“Here.” She rose and swiftly moved toward one of the examination rooms.
She looked back and smiled.
“Merci, à bientôt.” This said giving a small wave.
The door shut and I sat wondering. A few moments later another white clad woman called my name from her list. I obidiently followed her into a tiny, cold room and was asked to disrobe for the doctor who would be along presently. Twenty minutes later I was once again in the waiting area and the mystery girl was nowhere to be found. It occurred to me that the protagonist in my book, Gregorius, was not the only man never again to meet with his curiously captivating Portuguese speaking girl. But I believe both of our lives had changed forever for having met her just the once…
Copyright © Mick Huerta 2011. All Rights Reserved.
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