Part V: “One Foot Over the Line, Verdad?”(691 words)
By 2005, on a quick trip south, though, I thought the ángel-chuncha with don Moncho had gone too far, past the line between honor and reasonable awe to a stance of fervent católico devotion, better left to Diós in the charming new Iglesia—Ee-glay-see-uh--such a melodious word for church. Mi padre couldn’t stop telling his amigos in the streets , the tiendas and his Católico pequeños that “I had no needs but peace” (true, in a way, but I approached 280 pounds on a 5’6” frame of tiny bird bones, from nervous eating in the States, an indication of major distress). He crowed that miracles surround his family with grace when I’m around (also verdad, but it takes the whole grace-filled family); he chanted my praises to the heavenly skies and began revering chicken feathers at my feet. “Entonces,” he whispered, lit with passion and glee, in the ears of half Teote, “Douglas must be sent from Cielo,” as well as the States, “to earn his wings.” I felt an overweight but somehow venerated holy relic! I kept expecting him to check my back for wing buds or to bring me an angel’s bell, a la It’s a Wonderful Life, one of my favorite Capra movies.
I’m hardly a celestial being, as my former wives can attest, nor do I want to fight those ancient battles of right or wrong, in life or international relations, a quagmire of guesswork in both. I prefer romantic logic with classical tools: both sides being valid, then, “Let’s fly up the middle with Miguel, transcending discord for mutual peace,” I say to mis hijos. But, I’ve got plenty of personal quirks, sins and raw, wounded skeletons grinning ominously in my closet, not on public view. So, the angel elevation felt, though a distinctly luxurious box, just too confining, one I could not humbly live with. What a weird responsibilidád, to be an angel! I told him, por favor, to cut it out, for the sake of my ballyhoo’d celestial tranquility.
And, so, he did, thank the stars.
Now, it’s up again, after last night’s tete-a-tete over rice pudding, when he whispered it, una más vez. I imagine now--God forbid!--I’ll have to do something really-truly—horribly non-angelical, like dancing through the streets desnuda, with all my leftover flab hanging out, covered with pasted-on feathers; or painting my fingernails bright black, like las brujas from Honduras who, according to the local curandera Esmeralda, dance sin ropas at the snake-infested hot spring up the river near the border, once a month at full moon. Whoo-ee! That would be a wicked picture to point at for proof! Or, perhaps, I’ll get disgustingly drunk on guaro in the baño, easy enough to do, but I’m no longer one for booze.
Something’s missing here, a solución less painful, pronto! H-m-m-m? Why is my imagination running towards nudie shots?
Maybe, I should troll los calles for una enamorada here, to show I still have at least some carnal needs? However, sending all the mamacita matchmakers loco with delight for the futures of their charming daughters, “Soon to live with don Douglas in the States, un rico fabuloso, I hear!”—Ay, Chihuahua! That’s dangerous territory, es cierto, for a confirmed bachelor with very little money, though none here believe it, in a very small town. I’m clearly, in potential, the most desirable, antique Sugar Daddy in all Teote, and probably for another hundred miles in all directions! Talk about cosmic jokes! I’ve been celibate, by choice, for most of twenty years. Everyone here loves—covets--the Chéli, the North American Teotano from La Brigada de Glenwood Springs, with the loco Nicaraguan heart. It all seems just too much, an incredible amount of trouble, guaranteed to spin in the wrong direction a very graceful, very simple life, lived cleanly, but only somewhat angelically, , here in my comfortable, far south of the border quietness.
Ay, Chihuahua, I’m such a crazy perfectionista, who wants his things and life just so, that’s claro. I check it, now I’m retired, all the—Oh, ay de mí! Click! That’s it. Hallelujah, Nicaragua!