September 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM
A Serialized Novel and Podcast by Andrew Leo Lovato
Andrew Lovato, Ph.D., is a communication professor, author and eavesdropper.
The following is Chapter Fifteen of a serialized novel and podcast. Start the story at Chapter One.
Cruising the Plaza could be described at times as almost a religious type experience. I can remember one particular day when I happened upon the kind of vision that appears only once in a lifetime. It was so unexpected and without context that I was frozen, unable to react or take advantage of my great fortune. It was a brilliant Santa Fe afternoon with white, billowing clouds floating across the bright turquoise sky like fat, laughing Buddha’s in a blue Nirvana.
I was sitting in my primo ’57 Chevy with the metallic, candy-apple red paint job and black, velvet seat covers, when it happened. My tape player was blasting and I was feeling fine.
Santana escaped from my window and wafted onto the Santa Fe streets proclaiming “Oye Como Va.” I slowed down at the corner of Washington Avenue and Palace, preparing to turn right toward the Plaza.
I glanced out my window as I reached the stop sign on the corner and that is when my vision appeared. What I felt at that moment was probably much like the awe that the poor, Mexican farmer Juan Diego felt when he encountered the Virgin Mary near Mexico City in 1531.
A Thunderbird pulled up next to me that was the purest shade of baby blue that I’d ever laid my eyes upon. It was a hue of blue that drew me in, embraced and absorbed me, it was three-dimensional. The car gleamed in the afternoon sun and radiated perfection. The convertible top was down and my eyes filled with the image of the most beautiful girl I had ever seen.
She turned her head and looked directly at me and her smile glittered like a million stars. Her long, black hair fell over her shoulders in immaculate chaos and her deep brown eyes projected innocence and simultaneously a sophistication that stirred me down to my very soul. She appeared to be no older than me, probably about 18, but she held herself with a confidence and grace that great beauty possesses naturally. She wore a long golden scarf that circled her neck twice and fell across the front of her embroidered blouse. Her features were like those of an ancient Aztec Princess.
I stared, wide-eyed and I could not even react to the smiling Madonna. I only sat expressionless and immobile until the T-Bird turned left toward Canyon Road. A car horn awakened me from my trance and I slowly circled the Plaza as Carlos Santana went on about a “Black Magic Woman” of his own.
I was filled with remorse at my inability to initiate any action in response to one of the most remarkable events of my young life. I gunned my engine and made my way in the direction of Canyon Road trying to follow the trail of her dream car. I spent the rest of the afternoon driving around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the object of my desire. As I drove, the day wore on and my despair grew. If only I could have one more chance; I would throw my caution to the wind and kneel at the angel’s feet to profess my undying love.
“Even though we don’t know each other and haven’t exchanged a word, I knew from the moment our eyes met that we were bound in some ancient, intangible way.”
I rehearsed these words as I rolled once more up Canyon Road and dusk began to fall over the city. Finally, in resignation, I gave up my quest and reluctantly started for home; hoping in my heart that someday fate might smile upon me once more and I’d see her face again.