El Tepeyac was at the end of the block, a small and crowded place, with business people, grandmothers with small children, a front patio with outdoor seating and potted plants.
An enormous outdoor grill was sending smoke signals to the neighborhood, because soon a mariachi group walked in and started playing. Ron ordered for us at the counter as I waited for him at a table.
He returned with open bottles of beer with lime wedges poking from the lips. I laughed. Not at the sight of the lime, I had seen those before, but at his audacity to consume beer at lunchtime, on a work day. He winked and laughed back.
We sat outdoors, boungavilla and roses climbing the walls; Mariachi making everyone happy, loud and happy children dancing; friends greeting each other. Ron waved at a few people, and exchanged greetings in Spanish.
“I told you about the art cooperative down the street? No. Well, I spent a couple of years there with a friend of mine from Cal Arts. It was supposed to be an internship for me.”
“And? What happened ?”
“I still paint and I still volunteer there. I do this and that. I get tired of one project and jump to the next. Before my divorce, I was on the road all year with a couple of bands.”
“Oh? How long were you married? Do you have children?”
“Not long. No children. She was fine with the money. She just didn’t want to travel after a while. I’m still playing and traveling.”
The grilled meat, salsa, beans and rice made up the biggest burrito I ever had. It was the only time I had a proper lunch since I started working there.
Back at school, the police was everywhere.
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