Yo te miro y me pongo muy contento

Alcala

(I see you and it makes me very happy), said the man at the stand with the delicious-smelling soups at the stand called Beso de Res (Kiss of Beef). I smiled at him, this man who, until now, had only offered a drawn out, “Adios” as I had passed the first few weeks.

The funny thing is that I pass at least four times a day, coming and going at unpredictable times. (I would want to know what I’m up to.)

Instead, he simply marks my passing as does Constantino when he shakes my hand, the man with the baskets who says guera under his breath, Margarita who waves now (if she’s not advising me of weather), and the two girls with greasy bangs and new babies who whisper to each other about me.

These are some of the people that I see every day.  They also make me happy — for their predictability, for making me feel like I’m just one of the neighbors, like I have a place  in this city.

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