My memoir, Fast Break South tells about my romance with the totally wrong guy - a poor Mexican teenager. I was 33 and college-educated; he was 19 and hadn´t finished high school. But he was so cute! And decent. The Prologue includes a snapshot from our first date:
October, 1992: San Miguel de Allende
It is an October night in 1992 and, despite the chill in the air outside, I am wearing a sleeveless powder blue velvet top with front darts atop my low slung black jeans. My clothing choice would be vintage and hip in downtown Philadelphia where I routinely roamed four months prior, but here in a discothèque in the heart of central Mexico, the irony is lost and I suspect I even look a bit old-ladyish. Around me, Mexican adolescents dressed in shiny pants, short skirts and high heels shimmy to the disco beat but I have stopped noticing the teens because I am kissing one with my eyes closed.
His name is Carlos and he is my 19 year-old student and I have tried to resist him because I am the teacher, but not really. I haven’t been trying to resist him at all; I’ve only told myself so. If I had, I wouldn’t have agreed to come out with him on a Sunday night, when the disco closes earlier than other nights so it seems more innocent. I have brought along my teacher friend, Gussie to pretend to myself I am not going out with a student but the ruse is rapidly falling away. Muted squares of light from the disco ball above fall across our faces and Cristian Castro is singing, “Babe, I love you so. And I want you to know. That I’m going to miss your love, the minute you walk out that door.” Then he sings, “Please don’t go. Don’t gooooo. Don’t go away.” And there is a deep sadness to the words already because I have been asking myself in the cooler days of October why I am still in Mexico. I am a 33-year old coach´s daughter, teaching English a few hours a week for less than minimum wage and it is something, but not much, so I also ask, not only for how much longer will I stay, but what would be my destination should I leave. And now I am kissing my student and the questions will never be asked in a carefree way again.
But tonight, under the glittering disco ball, shuffling in a small circle on a wooden floor, one arm delicately around Carlos’ shoulder, the other hand clutching the too-long sleeve of his paisley button-down shirt, realizing his lips are so soft because he has almost no facial hair, I am not thinking of my life’s direction or lack thereof. I am just una muchacha besando a un muchacho, not wanting the song or the kiss to end.