I stood guard over Rocio’s pack and stared at the stuff being sold at the stands across the phone booths: long plastic bags stacked with small apples hanging from mysterious corners like appendages, lollipops of every color, fresh empanadas, bread wrapped in brown paper bags stained with margarine. An indigenous woman with two long braids sat on a stool between the stands and stared nowhere. Rocio said the call didn’t go through and I played with a tiny white puppy for a few minutes, I think. Who knows? Time flies when you’re playing with tiny white puppies at the bus terminal.
To the West, dark clouds hung low over the peaks, full of storm. To the East, the sun shown in a light blue sky and fluffy white clouds stuck onto it like balls of cotton. How could the sky fit all this contrasting madness? I hurt my neck checking it all out. This is Quito.
So, an eleven hour bus ride. Rocio took the window seat and fell asleep. It took awhile escaping the city for it to transform into country – cows grazing on steep mountains, indigenous women sitting on stoops with green or black fedora hats, flowing blue velvet skirts and their faces in their palms. A deaf black man got on the bus and handed out little pieces of paper that read “there is no work for people like me.” I gave him fifty cents and he gave me tons of tamarind favored candy – hard on the outside with a soft, chewy center. I felt like they were the symbol of something foul. I felt guilty. I ate them all.