Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Good Clean Mountain Hangover

I’m standing in front of Don Adán’s house overlooking a breathtaking view of the valleys below. The air is crisp and cool, tingling my nostrils and healing my gut as it enters me. I may still be nursing a moonshine hangover, but nothing could take the beauty away from this view, not even the liquid death I ingested at the moonshiner’s house yesterday.
A rooster struts in the gravel in front of me. He fluffs his feathers and mad dogs me with his right eye. I suspect this is the same rooster that has been waking me up every night at 2:30 am, perching in the middle of the tree right outside my door and crowing full blast. I stare back at him.
I can hear the radio playing in the adobe house next door, the one with a PRD sun logo painted on it. The radio is on full blast, but all it’s playing is static, a barely discernible radio station with a cacophony of fuzzy white noise behind it. This is the exact same frequency the radio is on every time I walk by that adobe house. The more I hear it, the more I wonder who the hell is sitting inside that dark house, listening to pure static for hours on end.
I rub my eyes and take another puff from my pipe. The rooster is now trying to mount one of the neighbor’s hens. She resists his advances, and the rooster struts away, unperturbed. I didn’t even know chickens had sex. Maybe they don’t—maybe the rooster was just doing it to make a point. “Surprise, surprise,” I tell him in English. “Who would have thought humping her next to Don Adán’s outhouse would fail to put her in the mood.”
The neighbor boy Brian walks by with his teenage bride. They recently got together, se juntaron. No ceremony, no fanfare; one day they just fell in love and she moved into his parents’ house with him, and that was that. There is a beautiful simplicity to their romance. This isn’t a douchey teenage romance like you see in the city, where high schoolers copulate to the music of Fifty Cent and then drop out of school and get abortions. This is closer to the idyllic country love in Fiddler on the Roof. I think of Tevya’s line: “They’re poor, but they’re in love. The two of them are so happy, they don’t even realize how miserable they are!”
Brian and his wife hold hands and giggle. They will likely stay together for the rest of their lives, as is the custom in the mountains.
The wind is blowing cold and fierce. They must be cleaning the church today, I think. Every time someone touches the statue of Saint John in the church, a strong wind blows through town.
The trees bend over and the crowd of clucking hens scatter in the wind’s wake. The rooster looks at them lasciviously. He then flaps his wings, ruffles his neck feathers, and goes back to strutting and eyeballing me. I stare back at the rooster.
“You are such a cock,” I tell him.

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