Kelly and Shea were at the terminal de bus.
We greeted each other Argentine style¹, a reflex.
I thought later how we were American men kissing each other, but that we’d all been down here so long it was like none of us was fully ‘American’ anymore.
Is anybody ‘fully’ anything?
There was a somber onda there standing by the buses.
The season was over.
Kelly and I had led kids down the river a couple days earlier.
Now he and Shea would be heading back to North America to guide rafts.
Layla couldn’t get comfortable on the bus.
I tried making up a story about a fish called ‘gaman.’
Halfway to Foyel the gears started slipping, then worked again.
In the bus terminal in Bariloche I held Layla above the toilet.
An old man ripped off a paper towel for us while we were washing our hands.
Outside the terminal were two American kids about to fly-fish the Limay rivermouth.
I had the biggest bags of anyone on the local 72 to the aeorpuerto.
When we got to the airport I appreciated the automatic bathroom sinks.
Inside an office marked “swissport,” two middleaged men and one woman were processing our boarding passes without, apparently, a computer.
Mami bought Layla a white lamb doll from the gift shop.
In the cafeteria we ate french fries 2-3 at a time.
I help Mica with one hand while drinking coffee.
After lunch he was fussy, needed walking.
Two Argentine ladies complimented him on his peinado. ²
The monitors showed “Delayed / Demorrado,” then switched to 5:20, more than two hours away.
Back at the table, Lau and Layla were drawing creatures.
On the other side of the glass it looked windy.
We bought an alfajor to go, went for a walk.
Three American men wearing camo were checking their shotguns as baggage.
Outside, a taxi driver and airport clerk kicked a soccer ball on new-looking pavement.
One wore a sweater vest and button down shirt, didn’t seem to worry about getting dirty.
In the wind and sun I felt less tired.
I looked at the ridgelines above the steppe, wondered what names people used to call them.
A windbreak of ponderosas made white noise.
I saw an oddly camouflaged color entangled in the fenceline trash, realized it was a hawk feather.
A policeman walked down the embankment where we sat and asked for my identification, what I was doing, what I was writing.
I held up these notes and said ‘poemas mias.’
¹ a single kiss on the right cheek, more just leaning in cheek to cheek than actually pressing lips against person’s cheek.