Friday, July 10, 2009

How I found Jesus (Mexico City)

I have been going to this park almost every day to take dance lessons. Some days, I take two, especially if I make the mistake of participating in a cumbia class (translation: PE challenge) or if I've ended up with an hour and a half of danzon (translation: slow, but complicated dance favored by the elderly), followed by line dancing to the Spanish version of Achy Breaky Heart. What I want is salsa, pure and simple.

So, I've taken lots of lessons. In the process, I have acquired a series of partners. Ricardo is the 20-something, wife-beater-wearing, dark-skinned Steven Segal look-alike; Armando is the tall Zapotec from Oaxaca, a 40-ish government worker; Alvaro is the dapper older man, suave and graceful. Depending on which teacher I go to, there's always a fellow who seems happy to teach a gringa a couple of steps.

But I´ve been hoping to find Jesus, a guy I'd salsa'd inordinately well with on my penultimate day in Mexico last year. We went to a dance club for a couple of hours on my last night, and Jesus, whose intention was to teach salsa, proved to be my best-ever dance partner. So, each day I comb the park, before and after classes, looking for Jesus.

I'd already tried the phone number he gave me. The first day, I left a message. The second day, a man (not he) answered and told me that there was no Jesus (not at his house, anyway). Yesterday, I decided to look for him in the subway station where my Jesus had been working. If I didn't find him, no big deal, but it was worth a shot.

I rode the metro for half an hour to get to the end of the line, Indios Verdes. There, I asked a guard and a subway worker where I could find the office. "The office of what?" they inquired. Then they listed all the possibilities: security, cleaning, conductors, etc.

"I think he works in administration, " I said. They asked for his name, and when I told them, the one guy took a step back and said, "Oh, he's the boss."

When I found the right office, the men there informed me that Mr. V was at another station, one stop away from the one I'd traveled from. They gave me a number to call, but no one picked up. "Go to NiƱos Heroes," they directed me.

It was 5:30. I knew that Jesus had finished work at 6pm last year, so I was worried that I would miss him. I arrived at the station with two minutes to spare. Approaching the first policeman I saw, I asked for the office. The young man started to quiz me, and I was tempted to say that I was going to lodge a complaint; Jesus had given me a wrong number, after all. He asked me what the person I was looking for looked like; I couldn't describe Jesus, as I'd remembered only his excellent dancing and not his face. Saying that he had dark skin, straight black hair, and was somewhat taller than me would have described about 8 million Mexican men. Finally, the policeman said that the office was right outside the turnstile, but he didn't think that Mr. V. would be there. I turned towards the office and I saw Jesus, standing in front of and looking at me with a big smile on his face.

Now, isn't that how YOU would want to see Jesus?

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