It is because I am a super perfectionist that I love Oaxaca’s messiness. It reminds me that I am human. The old tile floors of Cristina’s apartment, cracked and grey where the grittiness of the city has seeped in. The masking tape, peeling away from the window grate ─ no way to keep the cold air out ─ 38 degrees this morning and no heat in the house. Rebar poking up from the pillar outside the living room window, and into my consciousness. Always something unfinished here.
A man sits on a step near the fountain a few steps from la Iglesia de La Soledad. There are some bags by his feet. It is warm at 4 p.m. He holds his head in his hands and does not look up when I walk by. What sadness or hunger or other pain he suffers I don’t know, but my heart aches for him. A wizened woman sits on the sidewalk. Tiny, she must be sitting on her knees, unless she has no legs because I can only see her skirt. She holds out one hand, palm up. It never moves. She stares straight ahead.
You ask, “How will the face of the Christ child come to me this year? In the man on the step, the woman on the sidewalk.
So, I am here. It was a hard trip. After having to break into my house on Boyd Avenue last week because the cleaning ladies locked the wrong locks, I couldn’t get into the apartment at #109 Abraham Castellanos at 11:30 pm Saturday─ the new key didn’t fit. Something about entry and barriers has been haunting me. But I am in; all is well, and all will be well.