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“There’s two things you should know about me before you stay at my place.”
Cosmita raises a chubby finger into the air. Her jawline is faded, and her chin runs away into an immense neck where two fat rolls sit on top of one another like tiles on a roof. As she speaks, the corners of her mouth perk up like folds on a map below gray-black eyes.
“One: I sleep a lot.”
Hey eyes shift, her smile widens, and a second stubby finger pops up beside the first.
“Two: I’m kind of a Nympho.”
From our patio table, the colors of the La Boca district stretch along the intersecting streets like light in a vacuum, painting the houses with reds, yellows, blues, and purples. Dapper men in clean pressed suits and shiny black shoes shout advertisements to the passing crowds. By the door of each restaurant, tango dancers step angled and quick around one another on worn wooden platforms.
“You’re a Nympho?”
She shrugs her shoulders and tucks her hair behind her ears looking at me plainly between the long black.
“Ya. I love sex.”
A long dress twists in a wave of red. Black heels slam hard on the wood forcing a loud crack that booms out over the Spanish guitar. The two dancers’ stern faces ripple as they step fervidly on the platform, elaborating the noise.
I’m in Buenos Aires, and the Couchsurfing host I’ve just met told me she’s a Nymphomaniac.
“Anyways, do you like the mate?”
We both laugh.
Out on the balcony of her home, the streetlights of the Palermo district poke through a green, continuous mass of trees lining the sidewalk. A small block right below her apartment is active, littered with people outside in the sound, smoking, and dancing, and moving, and talking.
“I was obsessed with frozen yogurt when I visited the States. I wonder if they have it in India? India. Why would I want to go there? I went to Southeast Asia once. Does that count? At least it’s not Australia!”
At first, I tried to keep up with her – the shifts in tone, the snaps into new conversations pursued half-heartedly till dropped by the snapping of another, the unconnected jumble of sentences, the obvious fables told with sincerity – but it was too much, and some filter in her had been broken, some switch had been hit, and she talked and talked heaving purposeless words forever at me without pause, without wait for a response.
“That must have been around Christmas time, but anyways a lot people have stayed at my place. My dog ate a condom last month!”
It’s almost three in the morning, and the once quiet street is suddenly invested with furor as even the old are out in it, sitting on frayed benches moving checker pieces, yelling angrily at a too close juggler. The clown moves. His baggy clothes flicker like a coloring wheel under the monotonous green line of trees. Bowling pins circle above him like a frown.
“But watch out! My cleaning lady is going to try fuck you. Don’t worry, I’ll tell her not too, and please feel free to help yourself to all the peanut butter in the house…”
Purple and blue lights alternate on the white walls of old Parisian-style buildings, and the night sky becomes a starless nothing against the pounding lights and noise radiating through the square like it was the world itself. I sway the red wine around my glass.
“Are you even listening to me?”
“I said. I have a surprise for you.”
She goes inside. I look down the street. Victorian windows stack on top one another like knuckles on the buildings.
Her right leg collapses in toward herself as her mouth opens to a circle and her eyebrows lift. I cheer triumphantly as she places the nachos on the counter.
Then it happened.
“Ya know what?”
A chubby forefinger rises to the side of her thin-lipped mouth. As she looks up at the ceiling, her charcoal black hair falls behind her shoulders.
Nodding happily, she asserts matter-of-factly, “I’m going to take off my pants.”
Instinctively, my head veers left to right in a rigid no, but as my eyes widen in shock to a pure white that vanishes my eyelids, all that escapes out my mouth is a disagreeable, “Ohhhhkayyyyy.”
I must state that throughout the course of the day – after she told me she was a Nympho – I firmly decided that I have absolutely no connection with this girl, and I would not do anything whatsoever with her. So as her sweatpants dropped to the floor and her stout thighs hit against one another like exploding airbags, sex was the furthest thing from my mind.
“There’s only one rule for eating nachos in my house. We have to eat them in my bed.”
A voice shouts in my head, “No. Fuck No. No. No. Noooo.” But I was so assured in my abstinence that when she picked up the plate of nachos before me, a different, clear and tranquil, voice filled my mind, “Look at those nachos. You love nachos. You must go to the nachos.”
As I sit cross-legged on one side of her bed, she lays herself out elongated on the other. She places the nachos between us and props her elbow against a pillow resting the back of her hand lightly against her cheek.
“How do you like the nachos?”
“They’re really good.”
She giggles. Red painted nails dangle below her chin. A coy smile forms on those thin lips trying to be cute and inviting.
“The nachos are good right?”
She throws her hair back exposing her naked olive shoulders lined with a single black strap, holding her top in place like an anchor.
She touches my leg.
I push her hand off.
“Ya, really good.”
She leans in a little and giggles, takes a chip, eats it politely, consciously, then stops, and giggles about nothing for a while.
I eat faster.
Out the window, the loud, boisterous, excited sounds of a Buenos Aires night clamor into the room. The music is louder, pressing bass notes into the breezes as mixing colors of light dance along the street buildings. I want to be there, but instead a hand touches my thigh, and I look over to Cosmita leaning on her stomach displaying the backsides of her wavy thighs as she raises a leg into the air.
I push her hand away and smile showing her the nacho in my hand, while chuckling a small, fake laugh.
She asks again, “But you like the nachos, right?”
Removing her elbow from the pillow, she props her arm up against the bed, and her body is tall as she speaks with inflamed, bitter eyes.
“You like the nachos right?!”
Our eyes lock, I take my hands away from the plate.
“Look I came here to eat these nachos, not your nacho.”
Never thought I was going say that on my trip. Also, did I just refer to a girl’s woman part as a nacho?
All the cold indifference in her face drains, red soaks her skin, her eyes grow mean, blacker, each wrinkle moves, her lips compress into a fist.
“Fine! If you just want the nachos take them and leave!”
“Ya! I will take the nachos!”
A stupid intuition overcomes me, and we begin arguing like a married couple as I stand up from her bed looking angrily down at her. She points and yells sexual accusations at me, while I place my hands on my hips and watch strange noises as they subconsciously leave my lips.
“Uhh! Tssss! No, I didn’t! That’s it!” I raise my hands like some definitive line in our struggling marriage was finally just crossed, “I’m going to the couch!”
“Ya! Take the nachos with you!”
With the nachos in my hand, I push my shoulder back and march out of her room like a soldier in a parade raising my knees high and proud as I leave. My head is high, and my shoulders sway illustriously with my steps.
“You know what?” She gets up from the bed and puts back on her sweat pants, “Just get the fuck out of my house!”
“Ya! I’m leaving!”
As I pack my things, the divorce is final, and I hear her making those same strange noises, “Uhh. Tsss. How could you even?”
“I’m taking the nachos!”
I grab my things and the nachos. The door slams behind me reverberating through the hall as I march proudly with those same medal-of-honor strides down the stairs.
But it’s 4 a.m., and I’m in Buenos Aires, and I’ve got nowhere to sleep as I open the glass doors of the apartment complex and step worriedly out into the night.
Placing my foot on the first stone of sidewalk, drunk masses of Argentinians flock toward me like I’m Maradona, and I remember: Argentinians don’t sleep. They are the functional, super-human offbreed of vampires who eat dinner at midnight and begin their nights at three in the morning.
A swirl of dark hair, and trimmed facial hair, and pretty eyes under straight browns and blacks, and pale cheeks, and white teeth in thick lips shout to me.
“Play us a song!”
“Where are you from? Why are all your things here?”
“Are those nachos? Why do you have nachos?”
“What brings you to Buenos Aires? Give him some wine!”
Through a howling mess of introduces, they devour the nachos and hand me an open bottle. The yellow streetlights are bright, blending with the rainbow sights of the bars. One of them removes my cheap guitar from its case and begins to play. A continuous line of green leaves shimmers neon. They all begin to clap and jump and sing, and we’re friends now as the girls smile dancing with excited arms high in the air. Friendly hands pat my shoulders and begin walking me to the nearest hostel as I step out of Cosmita’s life and back into my own on the beautifully deranged and insomniac Buenos Aires street.
David Hargreaves is homeless. He currently spends his time travelling South America asking strangers online if he can sleep on their couches. He writes, plays music, wanders, gets groceries, drinks, sleeps, and wakes up to do it again, hopefully in a different place, hopefully on a different couch, hoping a good story comes from it. You can tell him what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.