Note: The following posts are parts from a 45 page journal entry (in word 23 pages), I wrote while in Buenos Aires. The entries were written during my first three days in the city. I had a rough start but by the end of my trip all was ok. However, my final thoughts about my destiny with the city in part 8 still stand true.
P.S. I am including a soundtrack with each post. All the songs are from my “The Return to Buenos Aires” playlist. I hope you enjoy!
Here is part four of the epic journal entry. Don’t forget to read Pt 3 before you read any further.
I had one more bookstore hunt to go on, which was conveniently located close to the apartment of a new friend I was to meet— Wendy. I hopped on the subte and headed a few stops away to Recoleta. After my final bookstore hunt, I stopped in a little bakery to pick up some treats for Wendy and me. The women inside were so sweet and helped me pick out what I wanted. One lady gave me a delicious chocolate treat to nibble on while I waited for my order. She spoke to me in Spanish. I understood most of what she said to me and realized, after only three days, my mind was opening up and accepting castellano again.
As if she read my thoughts, the woman said in Spanish, “Ah. You understand but you can’t speak.”
“Si,” I replied.
I thanked the women and headed a few doors down to a beautiful cream mansion like building with black antique balconies and barren vines climbing its structure. I pressed the button for Wendy’s apartment and a beautiful English accent crackled through the speaker. “Hello?”
“Hi, Wendy! It’s Jennifer!”
“Oh! It’s so nice to meet you! I’m coming down to get you now.”
A few seconds later, a woman appeared in the lobby and waved welcomingly through the glass door. I felt the warmth of the welcome penetrate through the glass and my mood began to lift. There was something about Wendy that made me spill my guts before we even reached the elevator door. As she led me pass a crystal chandelier and paintings, I began to tell her about my Buenos Aires blues.
“I’m just feeling so disconnected from the city and its making me feel so despondent,” I said.
“Well you’ll have to tell me all about it,” she said as she unlocked her front door. The apartment was just as beautiful as the buildings lobby, with the same luxurious appearance. The stairs lead to the living area downstairs and the sleeping area upstairs. There were two balconies, one upstairs and one down.
“Make yourself at home,” Wendy said.
I placed my things on the kitchen bar as Wendy offered to make drinks. She set them on the table and asked what I preferred. Then she brought out two heavenly chocolate cakes and sat them on the island too. She asked if there was any music I would like to hear.
“You got any Nina Simone?” I asked.
“Yes. I’ve got two Nina songs actually.”
She put on Nina and soon that familiar smoky voice came crooning through Wendy’s Ipad. Birds flying high you know how I feel. Nina’s voice was like a tranquilizer to my heart— a cure for any blues. I closed my eyes for a moment and let those notes seep through my skin.
Wendy made her way around the island and placed two forks on the side of the cakes. “Here you go. Some soul food. Now we’re just going to dig in and you’re going to tell me all about what’s wrong,” she said. “I’m a good listener.”
I told her all about my blues, about the doubts I was having in regards to Buenos Aires and the relevance of my book due to the changes. I told her I worried that a black woman would read my book and expect to have the exact same experience as I did in Buenos Aires, but would not because of some of the changes and in turn she would feel disappointed.
“Do you want them to have the same experience as you?” Wendy asked, her eyes stern.
“No. I want them to have their own good experiences.”
“And if they don’t, is that your responsibility?”
“No. But sometimes I feel this pressure like it is.”
“It’s not your responsibility,” Wendy said. “This is something you’ve been working on for five years and it needs to be told. Just get it out there. How people respond to your story is not your responsibility.”
“You’re right,” I replied, feeling all the doubt and blues begin to disappear. We shared travel stories and spoke about what it was like to be a young black woman traveling solo. Then Wendy offered to treat me to a nice dinner and we decided to go for a walk. We just didn’t anticipate how interesting of a walk it would be…
(To be continued)
NOTE: Photo found via. I do not own any rights.