summer night

I am sitting in a quiet square in Mendoza. Loud, distressed cars cough and struggle past. As it has been lately, tonight is another sultry night filled with dry heat from the streets which radiate the energy from the day’s inescapable sun. I sweat a dry, evening sweat and hope for even a hint of a breeze. It teases but never arrives. So i am cooled by cold red wine mixed with ice and sparkling water. It is intoxicating in it’s refreshment. Malbec, ice and soda blur and obscure the heat as buoyant collections of people wander off for late dinners, content to have a respite from the labors of their day. Thieves pass observantly in urban camouflage and I am captivated by their dark vocation. In shadows, confusion and dexterity they pick pockets while workmen deliver ice and meat to local shops. The motions and subterfuge go unnoticed. Apathetic waitress fan themselves with menus and gossip about everything, which is really nothing at all. Their laughter fills the corner of the square and mixes with the shuffle of mothers passing with newborn babies from the nearby creche. A car alarm screams, unacknowledged, while a grandmother passes with a child who provides a jejune yet animated description of his day. Young lovers hope to find intoxication in each other, ignoring tomorrow’s inevitable regret and their own unhappiness. Old lovers ignore each other, yet chat all night. I drink my wine and wonder why the night has nothing for me. Perhaps because it has so very little for any of us. The night, I realize, asks what we have for her.

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