Bambino

It’s hot. Humid. My face was bright red and beaded with sweat when I came back from my errand at the edge of town. I had to walk further than I had planned because the first bridge across the canal was closed at both entrances—I had to take the second bridge and walk back to the stationery store via the tourist stalls.

I’ve cooled off now. And the Frappe Nutella will cool me even more. I’m in Zihuatanejo, Guerrero State, Mexico.

Café Caracol has three small tables, each with two ladder back chairs with rush seats. Two tables are on the sidewalk—on the street really. To sit at the third table requires climbing up two steep steps and once a person is sitting down, there’s hardly a sill or a platform to put her feet. It feels precarious.

The American woman sitting at one of the two tables on the street is savouring the last mouthfuls of her dessert while Christian explains our order. He turns to me. “What is ‘hot water’?” He wants a long espresso.

“Agua caliente,” I say. My poor Spanish occasionally comes in handy.

A young woman emerges from the door across the street. It’s more a gate than a door. A lot of people come and go from there. Then a young man emerges holding a baby. He passes her their baby.

“Bambina ou bambino?” I ask, mixing a bit of French with my meagre Spanish.

“Bambino,” she says with a smile.

Baby boy is wearing a diaper and a sun hat with ears. He has chosen a hot country for his homeland. He’s very young. His head wobbles on his neck as he turns to where he hears the sound of my voice.

When he’s seventeen, he won’t sweat in winter from a short walk into town. Or even when he’s seventy.

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