Javi, my brother, and Wendy, my cousin, both eleven years old, and I sat watching El Origen de la Lucha last night (a game show that every Peruvian seems to watch but no one seems to actually like - replays are on the morning news everyday). Both were fiddling on their phones and the room smelled overwhelmingly like feet. Suddenly, the tv blinked out. Complete blackness. We sat unseeing and unmoving for a spell. I giggled.
"I bet it's beautiful out," said Javi. Wendy agreed.
"Let's go to the roof!" I said.
On the roof each of us cradled a bunny in our arms and overlooked our square mile of city that lay in complete darkness. I rubbed the bunny's soft head against my cheek and thought of my dog at home in G-Town, and the feel of her soft ears and whiskery little lips against my cheek too.
There was a half moon, pale honey colored and bright. In our part of the dark city, I could see the reflective glows of car lights on the tops of tall cement buildings, a subtle stream of flickering lights showing me the maze of narrow streets below. Inside my neighbors houses the cold lights of cellphones guided the way across dark houses.
Houses are not soft here. No carpets and they're built with rough cement, steel, red brick or homemade adobe. Code isn't really a thing -- winding narrow staircases, no railings, risky drop offs, Windows with no glass, open roof rooms or simply whole open sides of houses are so common. It's hard to imagine navigating this in the dark...
These weeks here in Ayacucho seem to be a blur looking back. Seems like perhaps I've been in a honeymoon phase with this place the entire five weeks I've been here. And now, with only four days left, I'm just now starting to be irked by the constant honking, crowded streets and dog fights. Some of my annoyances are a given for a foreigner: I'll always be gringa, my Spanish will never keep up, I'll always get too many catcalls, and will never feel totally safe. I miss the freedoms that come with belonging, blending in and knowing that accompany my experience of the states.
All that to say, time is wrapping up, and I'm ready.