We had been driving around the back roads of Chiapas long enough to consider ourselves friends. At one point he parked the taxi in front of his little house in Tuxtla Chico and introduced me to his wife, who gave me God’s blessing. But now we were winding up into the mountains toward a place called Union Juarez, in search of a thing we would end up not finding.

He was happy. Happy that a gabacho was in his cab, one who was paying him well for his time, happy to be heading up to the mountains, closer to the cool, deep gray of the sky, away from the sick jungle heat of the flats.

We came to a lull in the conversation. Wires were hanging out of the cavity where his tape deck should have been. So he sang Jose Alfredo Jimenez:


Por tu amor, 
que tanto quiero, 
y tanto extraño 

Que me sirvan 
otra copa y muchas más 
que me sirvan 
de una vez 
pá todo el año 
que me pienso 
seriamente, emborrachar 

Si te cuentan 
que me vieron 
muy borracho, 
diles que es por ti, 
porque yo tendré 
el valor de no negarlo 
gritaré que por tu amor 
me estoy matando 
y sabrás 
que por tus besos 
me perdí 

Para de hoy en adelante 
ya el amor no me interesa 
cantare por todo el mundo, 
mi dolor 
y mi tristeza 

Porque se 
que de este 
ya no voy a levantarme 
que yo no lo quisiera 
voy a morirme de amor 

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