I thought I would post my Argentina writings in chronological order once I was back in the states.
But. That’s not what’s happening.
As I begin to edit my musings, the last is drawing me in first. Therefore, I apologize if the order of my coming posts is confusing.
The following writing is from my flight back to the US from Buenos Aires three weeks ago.
a tickle in the back of my throat, tears on my cheeks, and a squeezing heart as my feet carry me away from my Argentinean family and along the path of the “hasta luego“s.
Two minutes ago
I grasped my second mother’s arms so that my fingers as well as my words could say, “Te aprecio! Te amo!” with my feet planted and my hug hard to show I mean it.
Five minutes ago
a small face in the backseat ready to head home but asking for one more hug before he goes, arms around my neck squeeze tight and then “ya esta!” That’s enough for this three year old but he’s already touched my heart.
Six minutes ago
a baby’s kiss below those ever-wondering eyes and the exhausted abrazo of my host brother showing he cares.
Ten minutes ago
a little gray dog wriggles under my fingertips as my second father brushes through a good-bye we don’t know how to say. “Volves, no!?” “Of course I’ll be back,” I say to reassure myself as much as him.
The past two hours…with my Argentinean family. My family. Familia. Situating that part of my heart that will stay here when I get on a plane in 24 hours and fly towards the parts of my heart waiting in the US.
Do I mind that my heart is seldom whole, split between countries on opposite sides of the equator? Do I mind this heart squeeze walking toward the bus stop? No! I’m lucky to have a heart shared between so many wonderful worthy people. These tears—wet on my cheeks, biting my tongue on my walk to the bus, heavy in my steps away and towards my heart— these precious tears…are a blessing.
This is the torta I’ve been trying to find for over two years. Since I tried it on my first trip to Buenos Aires every other chocolate torte has been a slight disappointment. Now, accompanied by tea tasting of Christmas and my best friend’s smile beaming across the table, I revel in the deep moist flavor of the perfect slice and am thrown back in time…
…I can feel the words bubbling up in contentment but I don’t want to let them slip past my chocolate-coated tongue. I’m nervous though I don’t know why. The torta I just shared with my Argentinean friend—one of my only friends in this big foreign city, one of the only people who understands me though we don’t speak in my native language—mixes with butterflies in my stomach as my mind races in Spanish. Could this wonderful smiling young woman feel the same about our friendship? She is so amazing! She shines so brightly! Does she want to be my friend as badly as I want to be her’s? As we step out of the café into the Belgrano street I take a deep breath and when she hugs me good-bye I tell her. “Sos una de mis mejores amigas. Sos mi mejor amiga en Argentina.” (You are one of my best friends. You are my best friend in Argentina.) The words simultaneously feel so vulnerable and feel so right. We smile.
Two and a half years later we sit in the same restaurant with tears coursing down our faces round with crinkling smiles. The same húmeda de chocolate delights our pallets as we talk and talk about the past three months of deepening this bond of friendship…crazy Patagonian traveling, personal challenges, and lots of torta! It’s been one hell of a ride to adventure with this young woman growing with me, but all good things transition. Change is our only constant. So with matching earrings flashing along with the glittering wall of this Buenos Aires cafe we cry happy tears for what we have. Goodness sometimes gratitude hurts: it’s painful to say good-bye to someone you are so grateful to have in your life.
I pull the baby blue Aerolineas Argentinas blanket off my sleep-creased head and groggily try to remember that I’m flying. There is a round window on my left but when I pull the shade up only a few puffy clouds greet me. I turn away thinking of falling into uncomfortable slumber once again and catch my breath. Looking across the seven other blue-black silhouettes of the passengers in my row on this flight from one home to another I see the window on the other side of the plane and this one is lit by fire. The sky outside glows an orange-pink blaze above the clouds and sets my heart alive with excitement. I’m in limbo; I’m coming home.