Lima (before or after the jungle)
By Simon Barget
Roxy’s flat and with each flat a side entrance. Domed doorways to a hacienda. Wrought iron gate and mosaicked plaque and the earthenware floor tiles. Miraflores; the old neighbourhood gems cleaved in to the high-rise. Original houses original neighbours. A central atrium, hear them upstairs with their TV on blaring. Catcalling each other. The cat is thin and sloping. In the courtyard the trees full of flowers and the bushes she says are native to Lima. Because it’s summer but in winter not nice. Go out in summer, the sea, but not in winter. Seems bizarre seems like summer all the time. A sort of tropical feel just down this outside corridor of the building, although the rest very much urban. Or suburban. Red stone and brown stone and clay colours. Cosy and enclosing but not all that much sunlight. The books and stone walls and the stove and the worktop and the wealth of utensils and objects peppered across it. Things made before or being cooked now. Soup and rice and dates in a bowl. The homely pride. The reminder of an old Tel Aviv and pile up things to make it homely. A female touch. An eye for warmth. The designer tomes, books suiting her calling. Solace of the aesthetic. Her art and the Ayahuasca drawing her artist friend gave her. No she hasn’t drunk. Not much English and writing down what I had to say on her whiteboard. How she expected Spanish wanted to stick with it. Her shyness, diffidence, sort of deference but also just sweetness. Working out from where they come since we’re all European. Here in Lima all the way on the other side of the world. Roast chicken with rice and potatoes and vegetables if I want some. Him off to school. Coffee on the boil. A live-in maid or was she there for the evening? I am just one or two days out of the jungle, raring to get back. Get back to hope and change and something I don’t recognise as me. Always expecting some change, some change built in. If no change then misery. Still thin and emaciated, still on diet. How you don’t realise this time is gone like the rest of it all, however sacred.