Another bright, warm Mexico City morning dawns. From the terrace of our top-floor apartment—an airbnb rental with panoramic views—I can see the Starbucks on the corner…and I want some coffee. Neither of my sisters is awake yet, and I can stave off my caffeine deficit with some warm water. I’ll be ahead of the game when I actually get the coffee after all since I’ve adopted my new cup-for-cup rule.
About an hour later they emerge, tousle-headed but rested. We’ve been walking the city (as one tour guide describes it “the city that never ends”) and riding the Metro for days, with a couple of really early mornings thrown in for good measure. We need sleep! By now, I’m settled in, have almost completed journal writing and city gazing. My older sister Mary offers to make the Starbucks run.
Disclaimer here: I make my own coffee at home every day. I am not someone who hits Starbucks—or Dunkin’ Donuts when I lived back East. This rental has some amenities, but it also has its gaps, a coffee maker being one of them. There are bidets in every bathroom but no coffeemaker, priorities I guess.
“I’ve pretty much got yours, Trish. I can order the Café Americano, no problem, but I’m going to need some help with yours, Anita.” It turns out that, despite its bragging rights as one of the largest and highest capital cities with stellar museums and architecture combining the historic and the modern, English is not as ubiquitous as we had anticipated. Among us— “Las Tres Hermanas”— I have the most Spanish, so I write my younger sister’s order on an envelope scrap and hand it to Mary. She rehearses a few times, steeling herself for the unfamiliar. She is nothing if not an intrepid world traveler.
That scrap, my memory in artifact, is what falls from the pages of my journal as I rifle through, looking for the next blank page. And this is the slice it evoked.