Total Pageviews

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Doblogango

I am rushing diarrhea pills across town to a friend in need. A British friend with British bowels (custard and marmalade). I am underground of course – I am so often underground these days I am starting to feel strangely unmammalian – but the air is no worse here than above, so…

wait… wait…

…he’s here!

Yesterday he sold mirrors, the kind with two sides: one for your face; one for blackheads that hide, and hairs you cannot see. Today it’s permanent markers. He drops them on your lap, walks away and returns moments later with a pitch in espagnol. “Everything you write with this marker is permanent,” he says of his permanent markers.

…but none of this is the point: The point is he’s got my hair, my teeth, my nose, my FACE. He even swings his arms like me. And in his voice there is that scratchiness – you know what I’m taking about – that scratchiness that is mine. Mine!

A bastard-brother in the southern hemisphere? A genetic experiment? A figment of my imagination??

…there he comes. Shorts, flip-flops, a nervous tick in his lip and a tongue that rolls a rickety R. I give him five, he gives me change. And with my own graceless gait he shuffles out at Bolivar.

Wait! Attend! Wacht! I say. But language fails me (not enough poly in that polyglot, Labas).

I skip Serbo-Croatian and go for broke – a gringo in a wagon full of porteños – I shout my name, LUI! – I shout it loud – LUI LABAS! And again, until he turns on his heels, the markers drop to the ground and he stands before me, my mirror image on the platform.

***

I have pressed my hand against this city, grimed my lungs with its air, missed its buses, digested its food, listened to its people, its traffic, its dogs… and now,

I’VE ARRIVED.

I write this in big letter – ARRIVED – permanent letters that go right through the page. Twice, therefore, I write it. Twice…

Once for him; once for me.