“They’re kissing!”


From The Smart Set:

The outdoor waiting room of the bus station in Nogales, Sonora was under a high metal roof with horticultural shade screens bungeed to the two-story posts. It had three rows of ripped-out bus seats, with about a dozen or so recently deported migrants slouched wide-eyed in the afternoon heat, some of them eating chicharrónes soaked in hot sauce and lime juice. I sat down in the second row and watched a teenage boy, the son of the woman who ran the food stall, whistle and tease a small parrot in a cage. His two younger siblings, a girl about five and a boy about three, rescued an injured sparrow they found in one of the spidery, cat-piss corners, and then spent a half an hour squeezing and petting the poor bird, screaming at it when it tried desperately (and ineffectively) to fly away until the kids’ mother came over to help. She was a beautiful woman probably in her early 30s, with a carefully made-up face, large hoop earrings, and a round, watermelon-protuberant gut which hung out of her tight tanktop and over her beltline. She took the child-tortured sparrow and introduced it, across the wire cage, to the parrot.  

“They’re kissing!” screamed the five-year-old girl, who also had a melonish gut.

But it looked as though the parrot, instead of wanting to kiss the sparrow, sensed the introduction of a rival, and wanted to peck the smaller, injured bird to death. The sparrow itself looked as if it were being electrocuted as it vibrated violently and squeaked in fear in the woman’s tight grip. Finally, the mother gave the sparrow back to her yelping, man-handling children, and spent the next 10 minutes or so widely opening her mouth and letting out a slow, childish, single-note whistle, which seemed to be as much as she could whistle, trying to get the parrot to either calm down or repeat her unmusical call. The parrot did neither, which didn’t stop the woman from repeating her kiddie whistle over and over.

“The Local to Mexico City”, John Washington, The Smart Set