I’d noticed her a few months ago. She worked at the paleteria close to my apartment here in Mexico City. Selling paletas, Mexican popsicles, to throngs of sugar-addicted customers.
The place was open daily, but she only worked Sundays, so I didn’t see her often. She was hard to miss when I did. A young, slender, pale Mexican girl in her early 20’s. Long black hair, dark flashing eyes, killer body and beautiful smile.
And I knew she remembered me too.
So I started stopping there on purpose, every Sunday. Just to see her and say hi. She was random though. Sometimes she was there, sometimes she wasn’t. I was always a bit disappointed, secretly, when she wasn’t working.
I wanted to get her number, but this was gonna be a challenge.
For one thing, she was never alone. There were always at least two other kids with her at the same time. And the place was tiny, so they were almost on top of each other. The paleteria was super-popular, especially on Sundays, there was always a long line of Mexicans out front.
So I’d likely have an audience when I asked her out. I wasn’t scared of those things, exactly. But they were obstacles. But I knew I’d go for it eventually, when the right moment came…
It was a Friday night, around 6:00 PM. I was alone in my apartment, doing the second half of my bodyweight training routine.
I had my music on loud, and I was about done with my exercises, when someone started pounding on my front door. Now this is a rare thing, since there’s another locked door between the street and mine. So no one every knocks directly, they always ring the buzzer outside first.
As I struggled to open the old-fashioned lock, I realized it was my next door neighbor who had been knocking. He’d heard the earthquake alarm that my music had drowned out.
And right when I finally got the door open, the quake hit, the building started swaying and shaking. My neighbor was already down the stairs, exiting the building, yelling that there was an earthquake, as if I didn’t already know.
I flew down the stairs after him, building still shaking. Luckily my apartment is on the second floor, so it’s just one flight of stairs.
The street was already filled with people seeking safety when I got outside. I walked into the center of the street in front of my building, joining my neighbors. They were all looking up at something, with fear on their faces.
So I turned and looked up too, to see what they were staring at.
It was the old apartment building across the street from ours. Obviously poorly built. Construction corruption is bad in Mexico City, many building are made with sub-par materials. And that’s a big a problem during earthquakes, since these shoddy buildings tend to collapse!
And now it was twisting and swaying in a horribly ugly way. I could actually hear it creaking and groaning! A bolt of fear shot through me. I wasn’t scared before. But when I saw that 10-story building moving like that, almost directly above me, I felt afraid.
So I immediately turned and started power walking in the opposite direction, away from the building of death, right down the center of the crowded street. Getting away from there as fast as I could, without actually running.
Once I was about a half block away, I felt safer, and stopped. After my heart ceased pounding, I realized I was right in front of the paleteria.
So even though it was Friday, I started looking around for the pretty Mexican girl. And sure enough, there she was huddled with her co-workers on the sidewalk. I walked over and said hello. We chatted for a minute or two. Talked about the quake. Then I asked her if she had Instagram.
I’d forgotten my phone inside, but she had hers. So I had her pull up her profile. Then she handed me her phone. I quickly found my own profile, then tapped the “Follow” button, so she was following me.
And that was it.
The swaying building had stabilized, people were going back inside, and a line was forming for paletas again. So I said goodnight to the Mexican girl, and walked back to my apartment.
About an hour later I followed her back on Instagram and looked through her profile. Right away I saw she had a boyfriend – she had tons of pics with them looking happy together.
So I didn’t contact her, nothing came of it.
Who knows what could happen in the future? Young women break up with their boyfriends all the time. And now I can stay in touch with her through Instagram, and wait for the next opportunity to present itself.
The fact she’s taken was slightly disappointing.
But that’s not the point.
The point of the story is this:
Never let a good crisis go to waste!