our lady of guadelupe

Listen, put it into your heart, most little of my sons:
let nothing frighten or grieve you,
let not your heart be disturbed,
do not fear any sickness or anguish.
Am I not here, who am your Mother?
Are you not under my protection?
Am I not your health?
Are you not happily within the folds of my mantle, held safely in my arms?
Do you need anything more?
Let nothing else worry you or disturb you.
—  – Words of Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego

who knew it was a holiday? i didn’t. turns out it’s virgin of guadelupe day! a bank and school holiday. yesterday, on my way back from pizza jazz—a narrow storefront with the best pizza i’ve had in mexico and free jazz—throngs of people were walking up tlalpan. were they on their way to pay respects to the virgin? maybe. there was a party next door to pizza jazz, where hamburgers were 2 for $50 (or was it the beer?) and everybody was dancing to cumbia. during the softer, or less loud, moments of our set at pizza jazz, cumbia wafted in, weird and broken.

anyway, the market was packed today. families everywhere, eating. i went thinking i was going to get fish, but instead i got comida corrida. comida is the main meal in mexico, usually eaten between 2 and 4. corrida is on-the-run. comida corrida is meal-on-the-run, for lonely businessmen, for packs of lonely businessmen, for the elderly and infirm, sometimes for me. today it was mostly families at comida corrida “mi lupita.”

comida corrida “mi lupita” is kind of a rectangular bar, in the middle of which stand staff, cook surfaces, a microwave, plates, a drinks machine with a warning sticker on it that says “always stay connected to the earth,” and other necessities. they stock beer for the sushi spot next door, staffed by teenagers and men wearing fancy coats with mexican flags on the lapel. seems legit. it was packed today! anyway, mi lupita is nice. i think lupita got mad at me the other day when i wanted to sit where she was standing because i wanted to see the tv. she was right, obviously.

i went to the market thinking i was going to get fish, but instead i got comida; i went to the market thinking i was going to watch the game, but instead i watched daytime tv. gloria? a talk show. i think it was called gloria. the show featured a skeletal being with burnt ochre skin and violently golden hair. do you remember that scene from the first season of game of thrones where future-khalisi pours a bucket of molten gold on her brother to prove something and he melts? gloria’s hair is kind of like that. today’s theme, in reference to the holiday, was “a miracle changed my life.” gloria played a video of an adolescent girl, who cried. she then invited the girl on stage. the girl cried on stage and gloria reached out and clutched her hand. her face—skin stretched taut, garish pink-orange lips, black eyes devoid of compassion—registered a kind of disinterested revulsion. later, some adults, who may or may not have been associated with the girl, accused each other of some sort of disgrace.

while they were arguing, gloria abruptly stood up and walked to the front of the stage, where another woman was pressing a white object an that resembled a dildo or a personal fan against her face. it turned out to be a skin care product: you press it against your face, it smooths out wrinkles. two women demoed the product, one at the front of the stage, gloria at her side, the miraculous girl and the disgraceful adults behind her; one at the front of the audience. they must have been no more than five feet away from each other. at one point, during a close-up of the woman at the front of the stage, she appeared to be tearing up, in awe or pain or both.