It was hard not to see the effect it had on him, looking down over the marsh at several young children at play. “I used to be one of those kids” he said. I wasn’t used to seeing him like this. So lost and haunted now that there were no more distractions of excess and sin provided for his homecoming. It’s a busy Saturday night on the boardwalk and like the tide, residents rush into el Malecon de Chapala in the evening and recede back into town during the early hours of the morning.
“I’ve been all over the world and this is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. I knew you grew up in Mexico but I never pictured this. You had all of this every weekend?” I said gesturing at all the people and the amazing view. “Ya.” He exhaled with a wistful breath. Still I could see it was hitting him even harder now. Nostalgia is the enticing demon we face more often as years pass. No matter how much pleasure it brings, the pain seems to always win.
Twilight had packed the Rinconcito de Amor to our left with lovers young and old. He started to walk down the “little corner of love” not saying a word, staring intensely through everyone while stopping dead at a specific spot to turn towards the water. I want to believe the only thing he saw was the ghost of himself, young and terribly in love, still standing there. Or he saw that shard of a shattered heart still adrift in the water below. I felt it was best not to ask.
I had no ties to this place, personal or past but I was starting to make a connection during my short stay. To me it’s always been this beautiful and convivial with an undying collective societal ebb and flow but to him it was something more. I merely saw but he irrepressibly felt. Like a crawling fire slowly burning him alive from the inside. I don’t know which memories stabbed at him more, those of joy or of pain. To him I don’t think there was a difference.