My next-door neighbor speaks pointed BBC English. I’ve met her only once, this morning, as I was heading out for the day and she was carting out the week’s trash. She knew me as the foreigner, and greeted me in kind, and I was startled by how unstartling that tone was in my ears again. But then, I felt compelled to wear grey to match the clouds this morning.
I waded through Avenida Santa Fe in diminutive ankle-height rainboots, missing my knee-capping bright red wellies as I do every time it rains. There aren’t many shoppers out this early, so I have the puddles mostly to myself, and the squelching sidewalks, too. (The sidewalks are so broken they get their own slang: odio las baldosas flojas que hacen chof en los días de lluvia.)
My morning coffee is terrible. It won’t be sugared into palatability. I drink it all anyway, because it’s free, even though things are cheap enough here I don’t really have to. It’s important to me not to get used to that feeling. Which is easy because it’s so new, and so fleeting.
Everyone is atwitter about the royal baby this morning. And by everyone, of course, I mean my friends. No one here cares, and my friends say they don’t either. I can admit that I do. I kick off the family email chain: whoever guesses the royal baby name picks the restaurant next time we all go out together. (I won last time, with George, and got tapas. Thanks, little man.)
And just when I think I’ve hit the cap, I look down at my tablet screen to realize my only remaining library book is Austen’s Emma. Page one. Emma’s twenty.
Something about endings brings us back to beginnings. I’ve spent the better part of a year remarking upon all the ways in which London and Buenos Aires couldn’t be more different, joking about how much I miss zebra crossings in the midst of porteño chaos, enjoying the presence of the sun, longing for a good queue, celebrating fútbol properly. Today, though, I see one all over the other. It’s a way of taking stock, I suppose. I tie the ends of an experience together so I can manage it as a whole, at a distance, separated from me as it soon will be.