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Love Lab

Taxi Fare Well Spent.

-What’s your name?
 Emma I said.
– You remind me of a girlfriend from New York. 

A taxi driver who comes from New York?,  I wondered silently. He immediately sparked my curiosity and my rebelious mind set out to ask questions.
When were you in NY?
– Three years ago. I lived there for seven years because I was in love.

I only have 15 minutes on this cab, but there’s definitely a story here.

 And was your girlfriend Spanish? I, said.
 – No, she is Mexican, Have you ever been told you look Mexican?
– Yes, countless times, at least Latin-American… So, do you live here now? 

-Now I live here but you know what, actually I live floating in the universe of  “The love and hurt”… I’m a zombie. I’m alive, but i’m actually dead.

I almost break into applause, I can swear to you, that this was his own fantastic phrase, not mine. 

Tell me your story, I asked him almost pleadingly and for the first time in my life, I crossed my fingers that the traffic would get worst in this  chaotic city.

– My story is very long, “Morenita” (Which is slang for brunette), are you sure you want to hear it? Like if I wasn’t already eating out of his hand when he called me “Morenita”.

Of course, I want to hear it all. I said so fast I could hear the pitch of voice getting higher and higher, And then with a twinkle of his eyes that I guarantee would light up the darkest night, he told me one of the most fascinating love tragedies that I’ve ever heard. 

I do not know if it’s all truth, but I’m professing fervent faith in these love stories, so I decided to believe him:

His name is Raul and the woman who broke his heart is called Shunita. Shunita is an orphan, as could be inferred, because Raul never dared to tell me directly, she left México 15 years ago, running away from her world of prostitution. She did not speak English when she moved to New York for the American dream. In México, everything has a dreamlike texture, it’s like walking in a dream. It is a country that puts a place where the environment stimulates: the colors, the smells, the food; walking among so many different types of weather by merely 20 km of distance. He said.

Raul never said he had been there, I wouldn’t be surprised if half of his story was an invention of his mind, but I was enjoying the narration so much, that I did not care about how much of it was true or whether or not he was telling a different reality.

 He did describe places and cuisine like an expert; He proudly told me that he and Shunita ate the same amount of spice and turmeric, ginger or any peppers, he was proud of it.  he also explained that there, in that amazing country coexist three religions: Catholicism, Christianity and Peopleism. (Peopleism; to have faith in people)
Imagine, Morenita; for them everything has to do with punishment, my Shunita is a Catholic and she has nine siblings, meaning that I had to learn a lot of names to follow conversations when I spoke of religion or family, and I was always very slow when it came to memorize things… but love does do miracles, I remember every single one of them and could talk about it as if I’d known them for decades.  He said.

And what happened later, why did you leave New York? I wanted to swallow my question but it was too late… Those bright eyes filled with tears. He was silent. Sniffing like he had a runny nose.
There it was, the perfect representation of a broken heart.

I was silent, I didn’t want to stick my nose too far in, even though it was already too far… After a while he pulled himself together and explained why he was now living in the UK.

He had a master plan of proposing to Shunita. He had been saving up for 3 years, to afford a plane ticket to México. so he could ask Shunita’s brother for his blessing to marry her… One day, Shunita found the savings he had keept in the house and left with the money. She was never seen again.

I never would have imagined it, Morenita.  Because she was a nice woman, she was shy, quiet, always trying not to step on people’s toes. I do not know what happened. At first I thought she was in danger,or  that she was injured. I looked non-stop for her, went to the police, went to hospitals… Until I discovered the money was gone too…. I suffered… I was in pain… love hurts.
I stopped going to work and I got careless, I became a zombie… overstayed my visa. Therefore… they deported me.
And now I’m back here, I wear an orthopedic belt because I hurt my back when i was working in construction so now I make a living out of driving…

After hearing the complete story, I was shocked… I was speechless, I said to him that even a zombie can be treated, and it might take a long time to regenerate all of the lost pieces of his heart. Not every woman was the same, and the wheel of fortune always spins… there is hope, as long as you are still breathing. Time heals, love heals as well…  I said.

-Sure, I can fell in love, Morenita, but after living the greatest love, nothing will ever be the same, he said. 

Maybe you haven’t met her yet, Shunita was just a sneak peek of the greatest love that’s about to come. I said.

I rushed out of the car after thanking him for sharing his story, got into my house and cried for an hour… He had touched a sensible fiber of my heart. But to preach of hope is much easier said than done.




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