Another love has happened to me, me being Artie Solunaz. I have three t?¡as, but that's as far as relationships go.
T?¡o Juan, an odd and aging fellow, lives with me. Let me tell you why. First off, he is a tenant but I don't charge him rent. He wouldn't pay me even if I did. To tell you the truth, T?¡o Juan is not my T?¡o at all. He just came over one day with a friend of mine. My friend left, but T?¡o Juan didn't. I felt sorry for the viejo. He looked and smelled like a rootless mutt.
But T?¡o Juan earns his keep. He sweeps, cooks and advises. He can cook many M?®jicanas out of their cocinas. His baldhead is shiny; his calcos are shiny; his advice is shiny.
Now that I have placed T?¡o Juan in literary perspective, let the horse race begin.
"Hello," she said.
I was working on my '58 Chevy Impala when this voice floated into my ears like an oldies rolla. Forget that I had the engine running. Her voice made me forget I was even under the hood in the Hood. I felt like I was where angels sing and play guitaras.
I turned to see a face that maybe came to East Los only once in the 40's, once in the 50's, twice in the early 60's and now in this new millennium. I couldn't think of anything to say. She could.
"My name is Rosa Midando. People call me Rosie."
"No kidding?" was all I could say, her angelic look making me lose all timing.
"I don't kid about names."
"Of course you don't. I do. T?¡o Juan is always getting on me about joking my way through life when life is a serious viaje."
"Is he the old guy I see planting flowers all around your house?"
I was having a difficult time concentrating on this beauty with dazzling brown eyes, dark-brown hair, flowing down the sides, waterfalls of sweet strands, reaching just below her graceful jaw line. She had some fat books in her arms. I could look at her light olive complexion forever, and I began to do just that before she put a stop to it.
"What is your name?"
"Nice to meet you, Artie," said Rosie The Angel.
She shot a hand toward me. It looked all delicate. I was afraid of breaking it. She looked at me like women do sometimes, like they know what a bato is thinking.
"Nice to meet you, too, ma'am," I said like in some old Western. I even tipped an imaginary hat toward her as I held her hand.
She looked at me for a few seconds as if she couldn't believe I was standing in front of her and had not been eliminated from the planet by now.
"Could you look at my car, it won't start," she said, dramatically pointing a rigid index finger to a little compact across the street as if to prevent me from checking out the wrong car.
She started walking across the street toward her carucha. I followed like a loyal perro and would have wagged my tail if I had had one.