A Trip to New York
Isabel did not stop drinking. She boarded the plane for New York, stumbling slightly so that the flight attendant, a slender young man, smirked slightly as he reached out a hand to help her. If she could have gotten her hands on drugs she would have taken those, but tequila was as accessible as water and she drank to forget the bargain she had struck and what awaited her once she brought Estrellita back. Her work ground to a halt and even her cat, Mimi, spent her days skulking around under furniture, never venturing outside to chase lizards or lie in the warm sun. Finally a new doubt began to sift through Isabel’s hazy mind, a doubt that she pushed away even as it resurfaced stronger each time she denied it. Would Señor Sierra Vargas stop at Isabel?
He had arranged everything. A car to take her to the airport in Puerto Vallarta. A private room for her to wait until boarding. Expedited passport and security. A first-class seat for herself and another next to her so she wouldn’t be bothered once aboard the plane. And in Houston, someone to meet her and hustle her through passport and customs and to help her make the connecting flight to New York, where another of the Señor’s many contacts led her through the airport and to a waiting limousine that whisked her to the city and her hotel suite on Fifth Avenue only three blocks from the gallery where her show would open.
She wore dark glasses. Partly to hide the circles under eyes but also to hide herself from seeing the world at all. On both legs of the trip she took the drinks offered by the flight crew so that when she arrived in New York, instead of excitement, she felt drained and heavy like a log that had been lying for years in water. It seemed to Isabel that her life had changed so much in the past two weeks that she did not even know herself anymore. The work in her show now felt as if it were from some time long ago, as if it had been made by a shadow of who she was now, as if she was falling fast away from that part of her life and disappearing into a fog that surrounded her. Only thoughts of Lita kept Isabel from completely giving in to self-loathing. She was doing all this for her, for the daughter she had in some way denied by hiding the facts of her birth. But still Isabel could not fully see that, and so she drank to hide from herself.