The first thing to go was the radio station. The combat-booted crabs that landed on the beach made sure they got that. So, all day we could only tune in to classical music and commercials for imported groceries.
That’s when he appeared in the streets. I’d see him from the veranda at night walking zombie-like with that macaw on his shoulder. He was indifferent before the helmeted soldiers on each street corner enforcing curfew with their machine-gun straps that formed triangles over their shoulders, equally oblivious to him.
The curfews were finally lifted after the dissidents had been helicoptered to the sea for diving instruction. Then I’d pass him at night on the sidewalks and greet him with “Buenas,” but he would only gaze at me in silent suspicion. The bird, though, would answer “Buenas.” One of us had to be a hologram, I figured, but I just didn’t know which. That’s when I realized the importance of memory.
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