Thursday night, I took the Little Businessman and Co.: Mateo and Cecilia (Sissy) and Augostino (Tin) and Julio (nene) and Cristobal to Café Brujula to use their internet to call M. We looked like a crazy parade as we walked down the smooth concrete pathway up Alcala. Brujula was closed, but I begged for them to let us sit inside, and they who’d delivered a latte with a heart earlier in the afternoon, agreed that it was probably a good idea, but we needed to keep it short. Of course.

We called M; he gave the kids a quick tour of the yard, the cats, the living room, the kitchen. They wanted to know where this place was and why M was speaking English and why I was speaking English to him. They didn’t want to wait for any sort of translation delay. And all of our six heads were struggling to see the phone to get a word in in any language.

M said to Augostino, “Da me un peso” (Give me a peso) This is how I first met the whole family, Augostino was demanding spare change. But Augostino heard, “Da me un beso” (Give me a kiss), He kept kissing at the phone.

They also wanted some sort of assurances about when we would all be together again. I said maybe Christmas, definitively sometime next summer. Our friendship would last through six month or a year of absence; it has before.

Everyone waved into the phone and offered an adios. The real goodbye comes tonight. We are all dreading it. Augostino even got cross with me as I was leaving last night. He said, “If you have to go, go then!” in this sharp voice I hardly recognized, and then he laughed and tried to tackle me.

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