by The Juicer

Part I

     Two months before Christmas, Gerrard came to our house in Tulla. He had lost his way. I was talking to Cecilia, my friend in Bogota when my mother called me, loud enough to scare the puppy awake. I hung up, picked Jerry who kept wiggling and made my way down from the attic to the dining room and then out to the garden. You would think Ma had something important to say but she just nodded at me and pointed her chin in the direction of a tall man standing in the street. Then she turned her back and resumed turning the soil. Ma doesn’t speak English very well although that’s not the reason she wouldn’t talk to the stranger. She doesn’t like being interrupted when she is gardening, least of all by a gringo.

     Foreigners were a common sight in Bogota but not here, in this town. Aunt Beth looked up from her book and snorted. She likes making fun of Ma and Ma would usually let her because she is so old. I gave my aunt a quick discouraging look and marched to the gate.

    “How can I help you?”
    “Your English is great, thank god! I was looking for a place, a hotel or a bed & breakfast to spend the night. I am on my way to Santa Maria. I’ve been driving all the way from Bogota.”
    “You didn’t know there is a bus from Bogota? You are not even on the right way!”
He shrugged and looked down the road. A gleaming blue sports car gurgled a few feet away from us. It was so beautiful that the idea of taking a bus seemed really stupid. I wondered if it felt warm and cold at the same time, driving it fast with the top down like that. I would’ve painted it yellow, though.
    “It’s a rental. What’s his name?”
    “Jerry.” I put the puppy down and immediately, it began peeing. We both laughed. He didn’t look as old from up close, I thought. “You can stay with us. We have extra rooms. There is no hotel here, it’s a small town.”

     I looked over my shoulder. Ma was standing half-upright now, her back crooked as if stuck, hands soiled and outstretched, a quizzical look on her face. Aunt Beth had dozed off in her chair. Too bad, Ma looked so funny. I opened the gates wide so he could park the car inside.

*To be continued*