Embrujado: St. Valentine’s in San Miguel by Tawni Waters

, Dawn called us, though if we were witches, where were our brooms and pointy hats?  Bustiers we had in spades, and stilettos, despite the night chill and the cobblestone streets.  In the jardin, marachis sang about corazons as confetti showered us like snow.  I wanted to stick out my tongue, swallow some whole.  Merri told me no, though I’m sure I licked something that night.  Heledo. Salt from the rim of a margarita.  Sweat from some waiter’s lips.  Who knows?

Church bells rang, celebrating us as we danced through the streets, buying rings, bangles, dangly things.  Christine, newly rich, became our silver sugar momma.  She draped us in jewels.  Slathering her in kisses, we wondered as sugar skulls watched from windows if someday we would haunt these streets, dead, jealous things, ogling fiestas, envying the milagros of life, the  dances and the laughter and the helado stands, the starlight flooding the spaces between human hands pressed together.  “I love you,” we said not knowing what we meant, meaning everything.

In the shadow of the church the saints looked on, less than somber.  The white Jesus moaned to Merri how he’d never had a tan even after soaking up so much sun.  “My homeboy,” she said, high-fiving him, tossing her red Jewish head.  We slouched on the steps, watching the moon melt, wondering if nights like this were dreams.  Eva said she hoped we wouldn’t wake up.  “Someday it will split at the seams,” I said.  “The whole world.  Light will slip through the cracks.”  But that night, the melting moonlight tasted like tequila.  “Who needs a man?” Caitlin asked, and the Mary statue, draped in all her purple finery, laughed, rested her cool hand on my head.  “You do,” she whispered.  “And if you don’t know his name by now, that burro clomping by is so much more clever than you.”

Overhead, two stars shone brighter than the rest.  I laid back and watched your fiery eyes burn.


About Tawni Waters