Monday, October 3, 2011

The Mayor died last night

I don’t even know his name. Most people in the neighborhood simply referred to him as the Mayor. He lived within sight of our apartment and up until a few months ago could be seen most days sitting on a chair outside of his house where he would happily engage in small talk with neighbors and passersby.

Sometimes he would decide to walk to the corner and read or ‘hold court’ while sitting on the street marker. He was not in good physical condition and it was apparent that the walk was painful for him. Sometimes I’d watch his slow progress from our balcony, all the while hoping he wouldn’t fall. Occasionally he’d stumble and catch himself against the wall of a house, but I never saw him turn back.

Whenever I’d leave our apartment I could count on his checking me out to see that I was properly dressed. In the summer if I was not wearing a hat he’d call out, “Senor, el sol es caliente.” In the winter it would be, “Senor, que es frio y ventoso.” He was one of those people you looked forward to seeing and spending a few minutes with…his cheery presence seeming to signify that at least for the moment all was well with the world.

Descansa en paz, señor alcalde.

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