Thursday, February 09, 2012

plaza de duarte, dominican republic

I sit in Duarte park, a few blocks from L_____'s flat. Groups of people hang out on metal park benches drinking and playing dominoes. Tables of empty green beer crates on their side are chairs. In the middle, a large stone statue with someone bronze - Duarte! - standing on top, trees around the edge and wrought iron lamps yellow against the night and yellowing the bricks and the faces of people walking through.

I sit alone on a bench and write and watch and no one seems to mind.

It's a blustery evening and the wind is cool, verging on cold now the sun has set. Suu Kyi is a small, warm weight on my lap. He watches warily the child swinging a thin stick, shouting, who comes close and is pulled away by his mother, as she eyes the points of Suu Kyi's tiny bared teeth.

This is a space for us.

A door - a hole in the wall - opens into a cramped space packed high with packaged and tinned goods and two old fridges with grimy windows and icy beer bottles in a deep freezer.

The kid is screeching and throwing things and i think Suu Kyi is right to eye him. But then the kid is dragged away and Suu Kyi rests his small warm chin on my arm.

Tinny music comes out of the hole-in-the-wall but the main sounds are voices and laughter and the odd clink of bottle on bottle. Big green beer bottles - Presidente - or people pouring amber liquor into white polystyrene cups. Young and old, straight and gay. All in the yellow light.

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