The second time Bobby was in Mexico City the entire Sanchez y Compania came along. At first, they boarded in the convent, that vacant hacienda without land or horses in San Angel. Manuela Roma and the father of her daughters had just returned from a month in Cuba, and she was unwilling to talk of anything else. Bobby was with his new wife, Rebecca–he was no longer in thrall to Melindra and for now had given up on Cathleen, who was too far away; Earlene, back in New Orleans and recently remarried; Connie, still married and waiting tables at the all-night hash house–in brief, as he was wont to say, he married Rebecca because she came with the black convertible Austin-Healey 3000-Mark II and its six cylinders and five speeds; that and her never-ending energy, her Franz Kline paintings and Ed Kienholz papier-mache sculptures . . .
Manuela and her man, and Tim and Isabel, took Bobby and Rebecca to the Cuban embassy; and that’s why later, in the Ibero, Rebecca lay in bed naked, after they’d made love, and asked Bobby if he knew what he was doing. Meanwhile, Doug and Myra were in the Londres and Sanchez was staying a block away, on Buenavista, with his new squeeze, Carmen, while Tony had taken a room with Laurie in the Ibero and Clark could not get enough of Mexico City, walking and dancing in the Zona Rosa and being the flaneur on Reforma and Insurgentes, where inevitably he was solicited and invariably accepted an all-nighter–they called them in the States if the lady had a place to sleep–money no object because hell, they were all working . . .
Manuela tried to explain why cars turned off their headlights when they were idling at a stoplight, then the father of her daughters tried to unriddle the puzzle, and finally Rebecca told Bobby she thought it must be a way to save the lights; by that time they were at the Ibero again, where Rebecca loved to use the bidet after "screwing," she liked to say. They were fascinated by the culture, of course. Reynolds told them they should see the Museum of Anthropology, so they did, and Bobby was astonished by Coatlicue. Then they rented a car, a dicey situation here because they knew if they were in an accident they would be at fault, under the Napoleonic Code, and wind up in the Tombs until they could pay their way out . . . At Tenochtitlan they climbed the Pyramid of the Sun, and Bobby was transfixed by Tlaloc. So he constructed a little mythology out of his travels: Coatlicue, with her skirt of snakes, the patroness of women dying in childbirth and the mother of creation as well as the world created, and mother of Huitzilopochtli, the god of sun and war . . . and Tlaloc, papa thunder, lightning, rain, hail, and fertility and with his bugged-out eyes and fangs perfect for consuming the children sacrificed, though his water drenched the womb in which they were nourished and traveled the birth canal to begin the fate Coatlicue knew awaited them and she could do nothing about it, the fierce Tlaloc hiding in caves, among mountains, when Coatlicue came for him . . .
That was how he remembered Che when he died in Bolivia . . . as Tlaloc. His lover, Coatlicue, was the woman known as Tania, who died shortly before him, wading a river holding her rifle above her head, where she took the bullet. Tlaloc missed Coatlicue so very much he left too many tracks, the peasants were eager for the money paid to betray him, and finally the militia trained by the CIA caught up with him and ambushed the guerrillas, took Che alive and locked him, wounded, in a shed transformed into a makeshift jail, until the general pronounced his death sentence while puffing on a cigar to get it lit by his aide-de-camp. So one story went . . .
By that time Rebecca was having trouble staying in love with Bobby. He was too indigent for her taste. Besides, Seattle was not her natural habitat. The rain was okay but she missed her daughter, who was living on the other side of the mountains, with her father in Yakima; and anyway, Bobby didn’t care about anything but words and music. Then she began demanding he pull out of her before he orgasm’d, she didn’t need another child, she had her art the way he had his, and eventually, before the third trip to Mexico City, the big one, Sanchez called it, the marriage was in trouble, with Bobby wondering what it was all for, this thing called marriage . . .
(25 April 2012)
copyright 2012 by Floyce Alexander