The Anzalduas International Bridge opened for traffic at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009. It serves as the most direct and efficient route between the Rio Grande Valley and Mexican cities such as Monterrey and Mexico City. The bridge spans 3.2 miles. – City of McAllen, Texas Web site
I am not afraid. – Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands
You’ll slap it. Shock it. Pop it. Rock it. Smooth. Yeah, smooth. And then Crack! And you’ll make it go arriba a little and into the sky, up and over the parking lot, and watch it land close to where the pochos and Mexes and Winter Texans all slouch in line and the BPs stare like Oakleyed hawks and carry black, shiny guns. You’ll duck down when all those heads turn to see where the failed meteor came from, and so will Chuy and the rest of the gang behind you. Next to Julia, rubbing a shoulder against hers, pretending not to look into her cotton-white, teenie face, you’ll giggle too, act suave beside the daughter of Teresa, your next door neighbor, and Clifford, the ex-cop from Boston who RVed down one winter and slummed in your barrio with Julia’s mom and liked it so much he decided to stay. Caught up connecting her cute freckles you’ll think about the next time you’ll burn hacia adentro when you go over to her house to see Julia and how Clifford’ll be there. And it’s not so much his eyes you’ll hate when you walk in again, his eyes that you know have always fixed on your tits that you once tried to wrap tight like Gwyneth Paltrow did in “Shakespeare in Love” in front of your mirror a few times, that pinche mirror that shows you to you with fury, but then it all turned out as useless as pushing Mayan pyramids into sacred ground, so since then you conceded defeat and let them hang loose, no bra, freer than freer than free, just to make a statement, until Julia told you that other fine day that she did the same thing too, and sealed it with a kiss.
Nah. Not that. You’ll think of that other power Clifford’s got over you. His poder when he speaks. You’ll think of asking “Is Julie home?” clear and proper, followed by Clifford’s owning of your body with his eyes again, and his answer back in Spanish that you won’t understand in its entirety: “Julia está en su cuarto, machorra.” And then his laugh. His long laugh that seems to go on forever like the Palm Sunday Mass you always hate attending with your mother, the Palmview saint, who never fails to tell God and then you cambia…please change. But even Clifford’s laugh never bites as hard as knowing his words have eyes that look down on you, talk down to you, and that even if you were to respond with a “Kiss my ass!” or “Fuck you, you white piece of shit!” it wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter. You’ll wish you knew Spanish good enough to tell him something fierce like that, and you’ll blame your mother for failing to give you her native tongue because it was her fault for not showing you, the curse words at the very least, but then all those thoughts will disappear. “Julie’s in her room,” Clifford’ll say, as nice as he’s always been bad from the beginning, and you’ll watch the skin around his eyes sag so that if he laughed at that instant you’d know, you’d know deep down that he’d crumble like a dried up castle made up of South Padre sand. He’ll move to the side, forget you’re even there, and finally you’ll walk in.
In her bedroom, you’ll thank los santos y las santas that Julia always makes up for everything you go through before getting there. You’ll think of how she’s mostly English too, speaks but a speck of Spanish, and is much lighter in skin tone than you, like you’re the burned part of the tortilla while she’s the inside; and how getting close to her is also a language, your language with her, a language of love, where the both of you can communicate without any interference from the outside world. You’ll smile when you see yourself in her mirror because it’s always much more polite than yours, and the crazy thought of undressing in front of it and taking in the sights of all that God gave you, really taking them in and being proud of the whorls of flesh that make up your body, all of that will cross your mind. Unbuttoning your shirt you’ll look over at Julia, feet crossed with her cute pink toenails and staring up at you from the comfort of her bed, and you’ll reconsider. Not yet, you’ll say to yourself. Not yet. You’ll cuddle up next to her and watch TV instead. You’ll hold her hand and let the sweat build in between. She will too. The world will turn slowly with both of you on it, but you won’t even know it’s there.
In the present, you’ll look up to make sure the coast is clear, and the others will follow your example. Chuy’ll play the role of your biggest fan at the moment, and he’ll praise you with a flurry of words packed into a sentence and followed by the word “buey,” and you’ll use the word too, not worried about what it means because you’ve never heard Clifford use it, but you’ll remember your Tío Armando who said that word all the time too, your tío with the cleft lip and missing his uvula from birth so that when he spoke it seemed as if God had assigned him a personal demon to eternally pinch his nose. You could talk to him about demons, you’ll think, then smile. What’s booey? Julia will ask, and everyone will laugh until you wave your bat at them, and then Chuy will tell her it’s the same as “dude” or “bro” when speaking in Mexicano. Booey! Julia will say again, cute, and this time no one will laugh. After a wink she’ll stand there tall, like a wall you’ll want to climb over, but you’ll hold yourself back, feeling like a million bucks and twice that in pesos. You’ll tell Chuy it’s time for the next one, and he’ll nod, and the rest of the guys will back away. A kiss for Julia, and then you’ll pat her on the ass, MLB-style, for everyone to see, and see they will, and you’ll watch her join the guys a few feet away. You’ll feel a strength in your soul, hacia adentro, inside your body and in your arms like never before, and the expanse of silky blue sky above you will seem conquerable all of a sudden, and the moment made just for you. You’ll yell out in confidence, “You see the sky?” and the guys and Julia will say “Yeah! Yeah!” You’ll go on: “See the clouds? See the space between them? Those holes in the firmament of el cielo?” They’ll nod and agree, saying ¡Sí! Yes! ¡Sí! and at that moment you’ll know. You’ll finally know. You’ll know it as deep as the blood inside you. Chuy’ll swing his arm back and toss that hard piece of caliche your way and you’ll time it, bring around your bate and smack it and get this one good, as good as ever, all sweet spot, cabróna, and you’ll hit this one far, farther than ever, and it’ll fly up and arriba like an ancestral spirit on fire and set free, over everyone, over everything, over men and women and pocho, Mex, and border-patrolled flesh and occupied earth and pissed-in water. On a heavenly arc. High. Up and over that brilliant bridge. And you’ll imagine the rock finally falling on the other side and rolling, tumbling on its belly across the unpaved Reynosa streets to the feet of hungry children selling gum for five pesos or ¡Alarma! magazines with full-color photos of their fathers’ severed heads stuffed tight in Igloo coolers bought in the EE.UU. You’ll feel like a crumpled dollar smoothed out as best as possible for the Coke machine, but still rejected.
Then everyone around you will cheer. Then a silence. Julia will come close. You’ll stand there with her, with everyone else around you, like in a ceremony, watching, praying, hoping. Waiting. Waiting for that special someone on the other side who’ll take the chance and hit it back.