After Pepón Osorio’s El Chandelier
He had left it all behind, la esposa, his daughter, el carro, la chamba, all behind so he could marry this little Americana he met on WhatsApp. He thought it would be his last chance after casi toda la vida jalando, unas pocas viejas, and his best friend Benny dead in the last cat fight. And when he arrived to her house and saw it was not in the barrio, but on a nearly soundless street, he wanted an object to remember every brave thing he had done. A kitchen magnet from when they held hands out in the open at the Tower of Americas. He wondered how far he could see if he had the nerve to go up. He hung an old license plate that started with the letter A over his new wife’s bed because they had had sex for four hours straight on more than one occasion, and he wanted to remember it was just like driving a car — A for Aprendiendo. He was a Learner, and he liked it this time. He kept all the brochures any hotel clerk or street hawker ever gave him. He kept all of the colorful junk mail because it has his name on it, stacked on his dresser in the bedroom because these pages had things he had never seen before. Battery powered song birds. Upside down tomato planters. Genius. He filled their house with these small objects, his memories shelved on every surface in his house because he had to see what he had done since he could not believe it. Until there was nowhere else to hang the plastic babies they sold at the Dollar Store in the After-Christmas Bonus Dollar Sale Bin, and his new American wife had yelled there was not one crammed space left in any drawer where he could hang the dominos and water guns the kids left behind from the neighbor baby’s birthday party — until he saw it at la pulga for twenty five dollars and said, ah. El chandelier. And he packed it in the backseat of his carcacha, hung it immediately when they got home. He wanted to see it dazzle. That chandelier held todo — todo lo que le dio la pinche gana. Jugetes, mugres, dolls, memories. Every crystal scallop an shining echo for every tiny new gem of his life, every transparent strand of beads, a hook for any plastic palma or pearl-rimmed bird’s nest he could find, recuerditos, he had called them. He wondered if his daughter could see this magical upside down Christmas tree, if he hung it from the top of the Tower, if climbed it, if she could see it shine.
This work was previously published in The Western Humanities Review, Summer 2016 Volume 70.2.
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