THE PAST IS ALWAYS PRESENT

Do you remember, little sister? El Urbanito that ran along
our familiar streets and was good to take us to La Plaza del Mercado
to "do the groceries"? But how in the imposing Expresso de Miraflores, the trip could be, for example to —the then far away— Lima, passing other cities, covering much territory?
Do you remember, little sister?

Better than reading Hansel and Gretel in the woods of Germany
or Sinbad the Sailor in the ports of the world, right? Our eyes
could hardly hold on to the groups of people milling at each
bus stop, the streets, the boulevards and between one city and
another our silence, of well-bred little girls paying extreme
attention to the cultivated fields with exotic colors, smells,
huts, with its peons, children, animals running through them. Then
we would transfer to the streetcar at Plaza San Martín, where the
enormous statue of El Libertador was on one side zealously guarded
by Elizabeth Taylor from El Metro's marquee, the STAR, unatainable,
remote, on the other by the impenetrable facade of Hotel Bolívar.
Do you remember, little sister?

Miraflores to EL Callao had taken us about an hour. The streetcar
kept going in a straight line. Walking, leaving the paved streets
we turned right. Showing off the beautiful dresses that mamacita
had sewn for us and only dirt under the patent leather slippers.
Then the handkerchief she had hand embroidered fell
from her pocket and someone returned it, his face shining
with prideful honesty.
Do you remember, little sister?

We were walking toward the house of the old aunt.
Toward the past that awaited us with open arms.



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