Y2 – Day 181 – World Cup – page 3

During breaks, we would enjoy sharing a meal and conversation at any of the many outdoor cafes.  As the youngest, I made friends with everyone, watched carefully and listened to everything said, with an open mind.

I especially got close to Marguerite, a French, ex-ballet dancer that had immigrated to Buenos Aires to start anew after a disastrous affair with a man she was convinced was her soul mate but later found out was already married.  In her disgust and pain, she quit Europe, headed for the New World, but couldn’t escape his memory and she pined mostly in solitude until we met. She was older, wiser and keener than I but we had the yearning for a culture and the love of our lives living so far away as a common bond.  She had class and style coming out of her eyes, fingers and skin.  She dressed like Isadora Duncan and spoke in a soft but deeper whisper like Jackie O.  She loved to eat because she could finally indulge, giving up dancing.  She was big boned, tall, with a large distinctive nose; long light brown tresses and she had an air of Venus the Goddess within her.

We became fast friends, day one and beyond our Cup experience.  Then we lost touch, as we drifted away, separated by nations, worlds and years apart.  But I never forgot my ballerina.

On the heels of a militant state of siege, guerilla warfare and investigations into the disappeared political prisoners, The World Cup proceeded full force into the international public arena and judgmental eye.

Many ugly conversations took place or accusations were directed towards me during those human moments at the coffee shops, as nationalists blamed the U.S. for helping certain factions of government to overthrow this puppet or scurry the other, into exile, free of punishment.  I had no idea what anyone was talking about; I did not care (the only thing in my little brain was how was I going to get back to my boyfriend, Michael, who of course much later became my husband but that’s another story). And why pick on me because I was raised in the good ole USA anyways?  Marguerite always had my back and eventually we realized whom we wanted to sit with or where other farther, welcoming cafes were located.

My favorite thing to order was a banana or peach licuado  (shake) and a grilled cheese.  Most of the other, more mature trainees had demitasses of coffee with a croissant or media luna (half moon) as we call them in Argentina or sandwiches de miga (tea time crust less cucumber, thinly, sliced boiled egg, or ham and cheese sandwiches).

Dinner awaited us when we commuted home and we all had a large breakfast or lunch so as to spend as little of our allotment money for food in the cafes. I made sure to splurge and treat Marguerite as often as she allowed because she was on a tight budget, renting a room nearby in the expensive, international quarter of the capital.  She taught me much about compassion, forgiveness, letting go and acceptance as she moved through her melancholy.  She also fed my Francophile self and told me endless stories of her adopted homeland as she was really born in Uruguay, I found out as our friendship grew even more intimate and true.  I often wonder how the rest of her life turned out and if she ever created a “happy ending” for herself.

“If you do not find peace in yourself,
you will never find it anywhere else.”
Paula A. Bendry 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *