This was published in Library Zine! Voices From Across the New York Public Library. Click here to read the full story. Below is an excerpt.
By Alexa Recio de Fitch
At Baluarte San Francisco Javier, in Cartagena, Colombia, I listened to the rhythmic sound of the waves. A live band began to play the trumpet, piano, Güiro, timbal, maracas, bongos, and claves under the moon and the stars. I saw a toucan walk along the top of the wall that surrounded the old city. Construction began in the sixteenth century to keep the pirates out, through a system of forts, lookout posts, and canons pointed at the ocean. Gazing at the Caribbean Sea, I ordered a drink from the waiter.
“Will someone else be joining you?” the waiter said.
“No,” I said.
He raised his eyebrows and said, “Oh.”
Just then, a man with profound eyes approached me and asked if I would like to dance. The waiter stared at us. Ignoring him, I stood up and danced with the man to the song “En Barranquilla Me Quedo.” I imagined that the waiter had never seen a woman go to a bar by herself in his entire life. After all, what would others say? I knew that he probably went home that night and told his wife all about it. Colombia was no longer under Spain’s imperialistic power. However, it was as if there was a new conquistador, the Colombian patriarchy, and the women were their colony.
As the man I was dancing with twirled me, I caught a glimpse of the golden hue illuminating the dome of the cathedral. Horse-drawn carriages were taking the tourists around. Then, my drink arrived. I was about to sip it, when my phone rang. “There’s been a murder at the Santa Clara Hotel,” my boss said. I hung up and put down eighteen thousand pesos on the table. After finding the hair band I had used when I went scuba diving the day before, I tied my hair up, and ran out...
Read the rest here