A girl from the country who knew how to handle a plow in more ways than the average Argentine macho man. The loud scar that stretched from her wrist to her elbow spoke about that, and clumsily disguised itself along her forearm with traces of thin skin revealing her green veins.
She protected her long black hair with a scarf which she wrapped around her head, bringing a buried piece of her great grands’ customs to life in this small and forgetful German infused Argentine town.
After a bottle or two of wine, she shared her opinions on the strugglin’ folk of Santiago de Estero and sex education in general. A bright and courageous mind seeped out from behind her veil with each word. More and more, still, as the red wine took hold of us all.
The bottle carried a single eye on the label situated in between the glassy neck and the heavy bottom full of juicy fermented grapes. An odd body, made fragile and potent. With a glass eye staring at the whole dinner table, hypnotizing the girl with the veil and her audience to give in and open up, as it had done for us.
So we did.
Her permanently swollen lips told us colorful stories that her eyes had seen, that her fair and stubby fingers had touched, and that her battle wounds had conquered.
She prepared a tasty meal, fish and vegetables. Gave advice and listened intently to the new black sheep in the room. Me. She was no longer the rare breed trapped in between two local natives, even though some might consider her more native than most. After all, her great grands were a “mixed cocktail” as she coined it – a runaway African slave and an Arabian man on one side, a Native American and a Spaniard on the other.
Every now and then, we’d share a familiar beat between our eyes, and I no longer felt misunderstood.
The country girl with the scarred arm and the swollen stories brought home to the table.
And for a few moments, I no longer felt homesick.