Friday, March 2, 2012


Almost as if his first few nights in India were replaying themselves, but in Spanish, the Boy found himself flustered, exhausted, and frustrated with the local language.  Finally arriving in Buenos Aires, he sat in the arrival terminal and waited to take a taxi to a [temporary?] host's home.


Words so very familiar to him five years ago suddenly resurfaced in his memory and blurred together; as to what were their actual definitions...  That was going to take some time.

He wondered when his [temporary?] host would be home.  Not that it mattered - his watch still read Adelaide time.

"Lo siento..." he stammered, the flavor of six years of Spanish classes tasting stale, "sabes qué hora es?"  He watched as the woman sitting next to him picked her head up out of her hands.  She too looked physically exhausted, but she smiled.  ||  "I'm sorry... do you know what time it is?"

"Son las doce y media," she said, first glancing at her watch then looking over to The Boy's.  His fingers fumbled over the tiny buttons, first moving the hours ahead, then behind.  ||  "It is 12:30."

"No, no las dos, las doce." she emphasized.  The Boy half-laughed, and fixed the time accordingly.  ||  "No, it's not 2:00, it's 12:00."

"Lo siento..." he always was apologizing, "hace cinco años que practicaba el español."  ||  "I'm sorry...  It's been five years since I've practiced Spanish."

"Ah," she nodded, and placed a hand over The Boy's, "es bueno. ¿asdlkfqjwpeoincsdkjahsdlfajsfdh?"  ||  "Ah, that's okay. [something unintelligible in Spanish]?"

The sudden barrage of Spanish language hit him full force, and he frantically waved his hands in front of him.

"Perdóname, por favor,"  Now he wasn't sure if he was speaking Spanish or Italian, or the bastard child of both, "¿Puedes hablar más lentamente? Tengo problemas con... el... escuchar y comprender..."  He slapped himself on his forehead, embarrassed at how much he couldn't say.  ||  "Forgive me, please.  Can you speak more slowly?  I have problems with...  the... to listen and to understand."

The woman nodded, laughed.

If one were to walk past the benches in front of the McDonald's that afternoon from 12:30 to 2:30, they might have overheard the laughter from a woman and a seen boy speaking in broken Spanish, waggling his hands, and wringing his fingers through his hair.  Upon careful inspection, one might have noticed that plenty of things were being said and understood between the two.

"Tu español es bastante bueno.  Pero mi inglés, ¡ay!" she shook her head.  ||  "Your spanish is good enough. But my English, ay!"

"¿No hablas inglés?" The Boy asked.  He wondered why he hadn't asked this before.  ||  "You don't speak English?"

"Nada."  ||  "None at all."

He sighed.

"¿Qué esperas?" she asked.  ||  "What are you waiting for?"

"Espero... el tiempo correcto cuando mi... ¿host?  La mujer con quien voy a vivir llega a su casa."  ||  "I'm waiting for... the correct time when my... host?  The woman with whom I am going to live arrives at her house."

"Ah.  ¿No sabes si está en casa ahora?"  ||  "Ah.  You don't know if she is in her house now?"

"No... recibí un..." his fingers tapped the air in front of him.  ||  "No...  I received a..."

"¡Ah!  Un correo electrónico."  ||  "Ah!  An email."

"¡Si!" He exclaimed.  He didn't realize how much Spanish he had forgotten, or how much he would recognize.  "Recibí un correo electrónico de ella, y dice que no va en casa hasta las tres o cuatro de la tarde."  ||  "Yes!  I received an email from her, and it said that she's not going to be in her house until three or four in the afternoon."

"¿Porqué no la llamas ahora?"  ||  "Why don't you call her now?"

"No tengo un teléfono cellular."  ||  "I don't have a cell phone."

"Vamos.  La llamamos."  She said, pulling out her coin purse.  ||  "Let's go.  Let's call her."

"Oh.  Lo siento.  Me llamo Joshua." The Boy offered his hand and he put his backpack onto the trolley.  ||  "Oh.  Sorry.  My name is Joshua."

"Me llamo Rocio."  ||  "My name is Rocio."

She placed some coins into the coin slot, pushed the button to release them into the machine, and dialed the number in The Boy's notebook.  He watched as she held the phone to her ear, and as her eyes lit up when a voice came on the other line.  A countdown timer read 1:00 on the payphone.

"¿Hola?  ¿Betty?  Me llamo Rocio, estoy aquí con un estudiante... asldfkjqwpeoifajsdlfkahsdkfjqncasdaldkfajefuiandfaksfhkalshfasfkbdkadjfhalalksdjhfasldkfjhqweiounacsxkf."  More words were said that he couldn't follow.  "¡Ah!  Pues, debes hablar con Joshua..."  Rocio shoved the phone into The Boy's face as the timer read 0:05.  ||  "Hello?  Betty?  My name is Rocio, I am here with a student...  [something unintelligible in Spanish].  Ah!  Well, you should speak with Joshua..."

"¿Hola?  ¿Betty?  Me llamo Joshua.  ¡Adios!"  The call ended, and Rocio laughed.  ||  "Hello?  Betty?  My name is Joshua.  Bye!"

"Puedes ir a su casa ahora."  ||  "You can go to her house now."

Rocio and The Boy exchanged email addresses, and planned on finding each other on Facebook.

"Eres muy interesante." She said, narrowing her eyes and looking him up and down, just before leaving to catch her flight to Peru.  As he began to say his goodbye to this utterly random woman who had helped him contact his host, Rocio pulled him into an embrace and kissed both cheeks.  He turned away, and went to catch a taxi into Buenos Aires.  ||  "You're very interesting."

This was going to be fun.


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