In Pursuit Of A Dream
By Janice Kimball
I was a young 59 when I moved from Detroit, Michigan, to Mexico’s central highlands. I bought a house on the outskirts of the town of Chapala and planted a tropical garden. It was the quiet time before they built Soriana, when cows wandering onto the highway, not traffic jams, were a major source of conversation. A time before I needed to consult my calendar to plan the day. My rescued street dog, long and lanky, named Dulce, five goldfish, and the cat I had been in love with until he ate my cockatoo completed this idyllic setting. The only thing missing was a man.
Having not yet learned that you can’t find love by searching, my nails painted electric blue to match my eye shadow, I went out in search of it. In my camioneta (pickup truck), I bounced down the cobblestone streets that led to Avenida Pepe Guizar where I was to turn left at the traffic light onto the carretera. My goal was the California restaurant, sure to be filled with expatriates getting in touch with their souls while eating turkey dinner, the restaurant’s Thursday special.
My elbow leaned out the window as I waited for the light to turn green. I was awestruck when my perfect man rode up alongside me on his horse, his steed prancing in time to the mariachi music playing over the truck’s radio. With a grin and bravado, he tipped his sombrero and blew me a kiss. Our eyes locked in dreamy contemplation. I wanted the moment to last forever, but our fate was intervened by the sound of a car’s horn beeping in protest as it pulled up behind us. This startled the horse that then took off in a gallop, turning right at the street that led to the back entrance of the bullring, instead of us, in stride, making that left turn together. Surely my charro wasn’t gone forever, I thought later as I chewed on a slice of turkey thigh at the California, although I had ordered white meat.
The following Thursday, I passed through our intersection again and again, as if by willing, my charro to reappear. As I sat at the red light, finally ready to give up, a panting dog with long legs strode up beside my pickup. Why, that dog is the spitting image of Dulce, I thought. He jumped up and stuck his head though the truck window. I cringed when drips from his panting tongue splashed on my knee and ran down my leg. It was only when his nose pressed upon mine, that I realized that the dog was Dulce. He must have gotten out while I went to close the gate and had been running behind me.
I opened the door before the light turned green. With one long leap, he jumped over me and settled into the passenger seat, and we drove home. His snoring at the foot of the bed that night woke me from a sweet dream, so I got up to raid the cookie jar. Dulce rose too, as he had guessed my intention. When I reached over to give him his cookie, I noticed the petal of a flower blossom hanging from a hair on his lower lip. I hated it when he ate my azaleas.
Yet, when I reflect on the magic of my life, it is with a smile. After all, I don’t need to have a man to fall in love. I know that for sure, because I have fallen in love with Mexico.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com