The Road to Cordoba


(Mark Peterson - Redux - )
By Stuart Dybek
Sunday, February 10, 2008

While we were kissing, the thick, leather-bound Obras Completas-- opened to a black- and-white photo of Federico García Lorca in profile, a mole prominent beside a sideburn of his slicked-back hair -- slid from her lap to the jade silk couch and hit the Chinese carpet with a muffled thud.

While we were kissing, the wind known locally as the Hawk soared off Lake Michigan on vast wings of snow.

While we were kissing, verbs went uncommitted to memory. Her tongue rolled silent r's against mine, but couldn't save me from failing Spanish Lit. Yet her beloved Federico, to whom she'd introduced me on the night we'd first met, wasn't forgotten:

Aunque sepa los caminos

yo nunca llegaré a Córdoba.

Though I know the roads

I will never reach Cordoba.

While we were kissing, Verde que te quiero verde. Green I want you green. Shaking off cold, her stepfather, Ray "El Tiburon" Ramirez, came home from his late shift as manager of the Knickerbocker Hotel. He didn't disturb us other than to announce from the front hall: "Lise, tell Jack it's a blizzard out there! He better go while there's still buses!"

"It's a blizzard out there," she told me.

It was then we noticed the flowers, white roses in a green vase that her mother, who resembled Lana Turner and who didn't much like me, must have delivered while we were kissing. Lise and I looked at each other: She was still flushed, our clothes were disheveled. She shrugged and buttoned her blouse. I slipped back into my loafers.

"I better go."

"It's really snowing. God! Listen to that wind! Do you have a hat? Gloves? All you have is that jacket."


CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company