By Janice Kimball



The American, blond hair now streaked with white, moved to the highlands of central Mexico to escape old hopes and expectations. She bought a small villa in Chapala and a battered pickup whose bed she filled with plants and flowers which she brought home to make a magnificent garden. Her dog, Dulce, the size of a small pony, five pond fish, and the cat she had been in love with until he ate her cockatoo completed this idyllic setting. The only thing missing was a man.

Having not yet learned that you can’t find love by searching, she went out that late afternoon in pursuit of it.  She painted her nails electric blue to match her eye shadow and applied a most seductive shade of red on her wanting lips. Rolling down her window she backed out of the gate, and turning, bounced down the cobblestone streets that led to Avenue Pepe Guizar where she would turn left at the traffic light on the carreterra. Her goal was California Restaurant, sure to be filled with expatriates getting in touch with their souls while eating turkey dinner, the restaurant’s Thursday Special.

Her elbow leaned out the window as she waited for the light to turn green.  She was stunned when her perfect man rode up on his horse alongside her, his steed prancing to the mariachi music that played on her radio. With a grin he tipped his sombrero and blew her a kiss. Their eyes locked in dreamy contemplation. She wanted the moment to last forever, but fate was intervened by the sound of a car’s horn beeping in protest as it pulled up behind them. In stride, they made the movement of the left hand turn together. Then he dropped back behind her and made a right-hand turn onto the street that led to the back entrance of the bull ring.

Surely her man wasn’t gone forever, she thought later as she chewed on a slice of turkey thigh at the California, although she had ordered white meat.  And wouldn’t her man have passed Tom’s Restaurant that often sold draft beer to Charros who left their horses tied to a tree out front? Perhaps that was the place they were meant to meet.

The following Thursday she passed through their intersection again and again as she willed her charro to reappear. As she sat at the red light finally ready to give up, a dog with long legs strode up beside her, panting. Why he looks just like my dog! He jumped up and stuck his head though her window.  Drips from the dog’s tongue landed on her knee in splashes as he looked up at her.  It was then that she realized that indeed it was Dulce. She opened the door before the light turned green and he jumped in beside her.

His snoring at the foot of the bed that night woke her from a sweet dream, so she got up to get a cookie.  Dulce rose too, as he had guessed her intention. As she leaned over to give him a bite, she noticed the petal of a flower blossom hanging from a hair of his lower lip. She hated it when he ate her azaleas, yet smiled when she reflected on the magic in her life. After all, she didn’t need to have a man to fall in love. She knew that for sure because she had fallen in love with Mexico.


For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com

Ojo Del Lago
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