Para Hoy-For Today (Life In Mexico)
“Pará hoy”? the avocado seller asks. I nod. Yes, today. I have no life beyond today. -Tony Cohan
Perhaps the greatest thing that I learned on my trip to Mexico, on that Mexican time was that there is only today. Perhaps that is why tears welled up in my eyes when I was airlifted back into a life that seems all too often to take me out of the present and into some future. Future plans, future moments….I really don’t want any of it.
In Mexico, when you ask a restaurant if they will have a reservation for you, the answer is maybe. Always maybe. After all, you never knew what could happen between now and then.
I was not even back from my trip and already emails invaded my world asking me to make promises for certain dates, wanting me to already spend my time like a currency not yet earned. Back home, I must be accounted for like the last remaining pesos in my wallet.
My last day in Mexico left me feeling panicked, afraid to lose the sense of no time, the time that was Mexican time. So, I greedily snatched up fresh tortillas from the tortilla maker, her laughter giving music to my ears as she dropped the unwrapped steaming hot parcels of corn into my hammock sized bolsa.
How happy I felt, to be carrying around a bag almost as big as me, knowing there were steaming tortillas in the bottom. Next I had to get the queso, this cheese that I still miss which doesn’t even come close to what they sell at the Mexican tiendas here at home.
I ate three paletas that last day knowing that those tastes- the cajeta, prickly pear, coconut, tamarindo, too, would soon be gone. Somehow, I think that by buying these things I can bring these moments home and by trying these things later they will bring me back to this moment-this moment where everything is para hoy-for today.
For today, where I don’t have to worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Only the juice from the perfect ripeness of today drips down my chin, melts into my mouth like my body into a hammock, like the sun into the horizon across an ocean, a dusty road, a promise, one single second of now.