“Wake up” the voice says while I hear a motor idle. It’s very hot and humid. I can smell the salty breeze and hear the white noise of the waves crashing, creating surf. My eyes hurt from the sun and she passes me the imitation wayfarers. I thank her and she half climbs the seat. I can see from the corner of my eye a little bit of thong and I feel both a little curious and a big filthy pervert. So I look towards another direction, wondering if I need to go to confession for what I just saw. I assume not. She asks “pop or beer?” and I say pop. I can get a beer in Mexico City or anywhere. Pop, though, the one they sell here is fantastic. What kinda flavor is “iron”? It’s not Root Beer, it’s not liquid metal, it’s just, iron. I fling the cap of masterfully with my keys while she unscrews the American beer she got from her dealer at Macallito.
It’s still early, but, c’mon, man, it’s the tropic, we are on holidays and it’s Saturday. A couple of still burning hot tortas de la barda are waiting in the back for our square meal, a bunch of still radioactive gorditas are ready to be devoured with the first drink of the day and I wonder, yes, I wonder, what’s the future between Natalia and me. Her parents are doctors in the local MexOil hospital, mine are chemical engineers. We should be natural enemies according to the colony’s rules but nah, we couldn’t worry about petty rivalries set by The Greatest Generation.
“What are you thinking of?” she asks from behind her big, visor like sunglasses. I can see the outline of her big brown eyes. “Not much, just how much I missed this!” I say and I’m pretty sure she can see my eyes and my gaze through the cheapo plastic lens in these knockoff glasses.
“Can you hear it?”
She looks around, says it’s the white noise from the waves breaking, crashing and rolling back. She says it’s that “alka seltzer fizz” sound you get from the sea what’s making my damaged nerves alerted.
“Or maybe it’s because it’s not the capital, you dumb chilango” she says with a wry smile.
“No” I tell her as I get out of the car and look around. I lose my sense of direction, wooziness overcomes me and I land on my ass. She gets out of the car, beer in one hand, pop bottle in the other and sits beside me.
“Doctor’s orders.” She’s now drinking my soda pop and making me swill that poison she calls brewski. Alcohol takes the edge away after the second sip. Yup, always been a lightweight.
“You need to relax. Get the fuck outta dodge, move here. Rent with your aunt. Or come for a summer as an exchange student. We can hang out more and have fun, like.”
I want to tell her yes. We’d have a great time. But I can’t. It’s this foreboding sense of doom I’ve had since I was a kid. I want to blame religion, but my mother is religious and doesn’t have these panic attacks. I want to hug her for the duration of this beer, but it’ll feel like I’m blackmailing for a “rescuer.” These past few years, it’s been a bad ride but people always have my back.
So why am I so darn gloomy about? What’s with the morose attitude and the never ending guilt?
“Earth to Brint, come on, you want your orange mocha frapuccino?”
“Earth to Meekus, duh, it’s all you need.”
She smiles and gets out the remote from her pocket and turns the car stereo music on. Why do we need remote controls in cars? The folk music rises in volume and emotional intensity and I no longer hear the noise from the crashing waves.
I ask for her for the remote and pause the music.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
“The noise missing. It’s the Earth. The Earth isn’t humming anymore.”
Then it went silent and only the waves kept crashing into a never ending stream of white noise.
Words & Photo: Sam J. Valdés López