I fly home tomorrow.
I leave my house at 10:30 AM because I found a couple to split the two hundred peso cab ride with, so that's worth it. My flight doesn't leave until almost 3pm though. Good thing all the books are in my carry-on. I layover in Phoenix or something and land in Memphis Tennessee at 11:54 PM. My father will pick me up and we'll go straight to the Beale Street Blues City Cafe for a whole mess of ribs and tamales, but not the kind of tamales I've been eating here, these are ridiculous southern-style wrapped in parchment paper and boiled in spices, and we'll eat baked beans and slaw and Texas goddamned toast and drive home miserably full and sleep until I can't anymore.
I'm walking much better now. Still a little hobbly, but you won't hear any complaining from me. I still feel like I won a prize. But I will be coughing up whatever they want to ask for luggage carts, you can bet on that.
I said goodbye to my piano teacher today. I can't believe I failed to put him on the list of things I'll miss. I've been adding to those lists, things I'll miss and things I can't wait to get back to, in my head over the past week or so as my departure sneaks up. Lately he's been playing this nocturna by Chopin, his last I think, and loves to tell me the story about how Chopin's girlfriend used to lie underneath the piano while Chopin would write songs... "EE-MAH-HEE-NAH-TAY" he says, 'Imagine!' Then, "No manches!" the way of saying, get out, no way, ridiculous, you've got to be kidding. And his eyes get all full of water because of the beauty of life and music.
Lately he's been saying I can't go. He's goign to get a chain, he says, and a lock, and I won't be able to leave.
Telling him goodbye today was the saddest thing I've done since I can't even tell you when. I didn't cry like this when I left my father or my puppy to come here. I think because he's so old and fragile, and the odds that I'll ever see him again are so slim. I practiced for a while, and he came in and visited a bit, and when I was done I went to tell him goodbye and his face was just like... heartbreaking. We hugged, I told him I'd miss him more than anyone, that I hate saying goodbye, and thanks for everything he taught me. But he couldn't talk and ended up kinda pushing me out so he could close the door.
I'm crying now. I've been crying off and on all day. The thing is, I have gone and practiced piano there every single weekday with very very few misses. He's been an absolute inspiration in that he got me back interested in an instrument I played for eleven years and then hardly touched for twelve. And he didn't just guide me and teach me about music. He's been the kindest person I knew here. And he's so ancient, so old and fragile, and the odds that I'll make it back here aren't super high. I mean, it's possible; I finally made it back to Barcelona after five years. But does he have five years? What if it's ten?
I'm so mixed up. After leaving school I went to the center, to go to the Mercado San Juan de Dios one last time, this huge indoor market downtown. I wandered around, looking for I didn't know what, last minute somethings to give people. I got some bracelets for my cousins' wives and my aunt. I got a jersey for myself, for the national futbol team, and a cute top that's very Mexican. I got some copal to burn for incense, since I loved it so much on Day of the Dead. I got some other nonsense to give away. I ran into some friends from school and we hugged and got sentimental. I tried to eat some pozole but it just didn't go over well, my belly was too sad, and I ended up giving it to this hungry old lady and little girl.
I want to go home. I want to see my family and friends and dog and house. And I want to keep practicing in the music building every day and see my maestro and go find amazing cheap food on every street corner and speak Spanish all the time. It's not possible to have both. I've complained about attitudes I've encountered in this conservative catholic macho country, but now that it's time to leave ...
I'm out of words.
I still owe you the story of my pilgrimage to Mexico City and Fridalandia. Hopefully tomorrow will be completely boring and uneventful and I'll get home and tell you once I'm settled there.