Wednesday, June 22, 2022

It was yet another rainy night over at Casa Pancha. I was cramping, lethargic af, and ultimately, incredibly annoyed. After working from the bottom bunk of my shared dorm all day, my numb legs needed to move, and my stomach needed more than just my favorite salt and lemon Mexican chips to keep going. I felt everything and nothing all at once- and decided to take an Uber to my favorite restaurant just ten minutes away. You would think that on a rainy 60 degree night, finding a table for one wouldn't be an issue... but there was over an hour wait just for single tables alone. Not having the patience to wait, I ordered a burrata pizza to go, and called it a night.

Two days later, I still didn't physically feel strong enough to go anywhere that wasn't within a close proximity to a bathroom- but somehow let my roommate convince me to go to a Salsa class at a club nearby. Apparently another girl in our dorm met a local at a park who extended the invite. And now, here I was, smudging purple eyeliner across my eyelids trying to look put together when I internally was ready to collapse. There was roughly a group of nine of us taking the trip to Mama Rumba, and my eyes were greeted by the neon words "Bienvenidos," upon exiting the Uber. Once I stepped inside and felt the energy of locals and tourists alike- I started to feel at ease just watching people dance closely around the dimly lit dance floor.

After a lackluster Sangria, some small talk, and my failed attempted at proving I was a Puerto Rican with rhythm, I found myself chatting the night away with you. Tall, cute, shoulderish length hair, gauges, nose ring- christ, my type never will change. I recall asking what you did for work, and from there we spent half the night dancing, and people watching from our seats; with little-to-no distance in between us.  We poked fun at the couple nearby in which the woman was clearly pretending to like her overly interested date, and at the guy on the keyboard who looked like he'd rather be anywhere else. There might have been some flirty remarks exchanged, but I didn't want to think too deep into it.

And the following afternoon, we regrouped- not knowing that we would be practically inseparable the rest of the week.

The following day, after coworking together from the patio, I invited you out to dinner with me. I remember watching you walk out the hostel in a button down shirt and black jeans, and me in a rust, keyhole halter. It was almost as if we tried to dress up for each other. Which was kinda cute.

I don't really recall how the topic of octopuses came up, but you suddenly pulled out your phone and showed me a video of one swimming underwater and camouflaging into any color it came into contact with. I can't say I knew much or anything about octopuses prior to that moment,  but now this memory is engraved in my brain as the most random thing that happened during a dinner. Despite a two year age difference, we were able to have seamless conversation, and I was pretty impressed at how you were able to both express yourself, and keep a conversation going without it getting dull. You also, read books! The men I had gone out on dates in their thirties couldn't/didn't even do this. We spoke so much that we failed to realize that Lardo was about to close for the night. After a chilly walk down Avenida Matzatlan, we headed back to the hostel were we decided to get jackets. We then continued with a walk to Parque de Mexico- where we shared a few kisses at midnight while taking about life.

The rest of the week went by faster than I would have liked. We worked together during the day, and went out for lunches and dinners in Condesa and Roma at night. I wasn't expecting a brief fling, but it ended up being the most fun I've had with a man in a while. I hadn't realized how much I missed sharing moments like breakfasts at the park, holding hands, having someone to go out for a drink with, and sharing travel stories- especially after spending the past year and change being ultimately bitter and very much alone. I had this odd euphoria that I haven't experienced in a while and really couldn't pinpoint what it was. The shy shared grins, compliments, the laughs, and small gestures such as you opening doors for me were actually so surreal, that I wondered if any of this was evening happening in real time. It felt so nice to effortlessly connect, and not once have to doubt a single thing. I actually felt happy.

That Saturday, we were a little closer than the days prior. I remember you standing behind me, arms wrapped around my waist as we waited for our food outside of Panaderia Rosetta while watching the violinist play. It was a gorgeous day as we strolled through town hand-in-hand, flipping through vintage and passing by cute dogs. All of my stress was absent, and it felt so good to be existing in that moment. We regrouped in the evening over pizza and a few drinks. I could feel you giving me a look at Doghouse, and knew what you were sheepishly hinting at. Anyone else would have been more upfront, and you simply said how you wanted to be "intimate," with me. I remember the thrill of going to not one, but three hotels in search of availability for the night, and not having any luck. It was both comical and rather unfortunate. Yet, you took initiative, and made arrangements for the following night.

You played our favorite songs while we both looked up at the ceiling from our room at Hotel Cle. Mine was "Desconocidos," by Camilo- a song about two strangers that hook up and "lo que pase, pase." Kind of ironic now that I think about it. That entire week we did "pasar un buen rato." We indulged in each other, not once, but several times. And not in a crazy overly aggressive way, but in a slow heartfelt one. Something I have yet to experience. You gave me soft forehead and shoulder kisses, as your hair brushed my face. And we woke up the same way we fell asleep- perfectly cuddled and meshed into each other.

My last day in Mexico City was upon us. We had my favorite, chilaquiles for breakfast at Cafe Nin, while the same violinist played "Hallelujah," outside. The clock was ticking, and every hour down was another hour closer to going home- something I was truly dreading. I couldn't help it at this point, I caught a small case of feels and wanted another night together. Hence a night at Hotel Nuevo Leon. After a pretty strong final goodbye drink at La Morida del Caiman, I knew that in the morning, we would go our separate ways. And lowkey, as I was looking out the hotel window, I felt pretty bummed about it.

Now that I'm sitting back in my corner of the world, I can't help but reflect on our collective of shared moments. Everything from watching Stranger Things while eating Dominoes in bed, to the tacos we had from Gracias Madre in the rain, to how we played the most botcheddddd game of Monopoly in two-player history, to the last hug goodbye- I'll miss you towering over me, and you mentioning all the movie and show references that I will never understand, running my fingers through your hair, that trip to Oxxo so that I could try Flamin Hot Cheetos for the first time, and every conversation we had. All these moments were so innocent and pure, and that's what I loved about them most.

I could tell you were a good person whenever the less fortunate approached us, and every time you took your wallet out. Or how when I asked if you could have anything in that moment, and your reply was ," a conversation with my mom," which made me so fucking sad. It's been a really long time since I've come across a soul like yours- with Golden retriever energy , good intention, and a willingness to see the world. I hope this never changes.

As you prepare to leave for Germany , and I continue on with my life in New York, in due time (if not already) our shared moments will fade away, just like the memories of us. Then we truly will become "desconocidos," and the motions become full circle- from strangers, to friends, to strangers once more.

Sometimes I wonder- is it better to have these moments, or not to have had them at all?

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