The Argentine Firecracker

Bouncing down stressed-out streets on a mountainside rimming Morelia, we are visiting relatives.

A new construction is spotted, a poor place but with a porch soaring high, offering a spectacular vista of the valley of Morelia. It brings back memories of Calle Norzagaray in Old San Juan in Puerto Rico.

A stretch of buildings there also offers, from the highest perches, stunning views of the ocean, the old Spanish forts, the slum of La Perla, and at night cruise ships, lit like candles, sailing out into dark seas.

I lived there in a penthouse apartment with the Argentine Firecracker: Silvina of Buenos Aires.

She was 20 years old, and I was 30. She came to Puerto Rico on a tourist visa and let it lapse, choosing to work in a smoky bar.

She was young, beautiful, intelligent and very rebellious. Perfect for me at that time.

But it only lasted six months.

Fading memories bring back breezy tropical nights out on the patio, swaying in a hammock. The Firecracker handed ice-cubed cuba libres through a stained-glass window to waiting hands.

We listened to Vinicius de Moraes or Atahualpa Yupanqui on the record player as the night waves pounded La Perla far below.

But rebellious youth, booze and confusion buried us. I flew off to Florida, leaving her there. Not long after, she had a child with a Puerto Rican waiter.

Then she was deported back to Buenos Aires, babe in arms.

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