This is life, I thought. Having satiated my appetite with a slightly dismal meal too rich in flour, I proceeded to the park down the street. Seeking useful employ for these sorry calories, I performed a bunch of exercises (primarily pullups) at the exercise area. The sun blazing, the shade scarce, the experience felt raw. Good.
I then sunk into a nearby bench to continue Julio Cortázar’s Final del Juego, checked out at the library days prior and brought along. Having read a sensational paragraph, I glanced around.
Behind the fence loomed a goat of black and white patches, though exclusively black from the neck up. Maybe it was an oversized sheep or an ox. I’m poorly versed in cattle. The animal remained in contemplation of the fence, taking occasional nips of the surrounding shrubbery. I imagined the ceremony to occupy the vast majority of its day. Some passing kids imitated the ‘beeeehhh’, which the goat echoed some time after. Was it a sheep after all?
Despite the animal, many of the passerby’s gazed in my direction with even heightened interest. Not too many tourists seem to occupy this part of town - not too many white guys even. Sporadically roaming Mexico through the years, I’m neither terribly annoyed nor overly pleased at the attention, though slightly less than indifferent.
The soiled and polluted river sprawled at my back. Dust cloudlets floated by. No rainfall yet ensued, though the rainy-season sky never ceased to threaten to extract its might. Flies were aplenty, and a couple eventually conspired to unsettle me, hovering too close for comfort a time too often. Though I would’ve preferred to linger another half an hour, the parasites impelled me to slowly pegar fuga.
Continuing to read the short story as I retraced my steps, I thought to myself - this is golden - relieved at having desisted from any of those Mario Vargas Llosa prize-winning novels I spent hours at the library inspecting with increasing skepticism and uncertainty. Julio Cortázar, on the other hand, caters right to my palate: the weird.
I should consider fostering the habit of transgressing my literary palate more often, but you know what (as I reasoned with my inner voice), how many second-language speakers can earnestly claim to have appreciated this literature - or any of these authors, for that matter? My own credibility, however, will heighten yet once I’ve read Rayuela in every order conceivable: sequential, backwards, random, and the author’s suggested.
Meanwhile, the pesky insects still buzzed and freeloaded off my sweat and blood.
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