The Queen of the Parade
Every year we meet on the main street of a small city in Mexico to see the cheerful National parade. The parties are an institution in that ranch and an opportunity to wear a brand-new dress, to prepare a meal with the family, go to the fair, etc. It´s a colourful provincialism.
With time, you have to set aside space on the sidewalk because it becomes saturated at unpredictable levels. Because of this, they put out some chairs that are tied with pots, and everyone respects those limits. Our chairs are almost always in the same place. Nearby, the huge casserole where carnitas are prepared exudes a delicious, stomach-upsetting aroma. People start arriving at around 9 in the morning, already well-dressed. Everyone is in a hurry in the house, we get up early to have breakfast, the ladies flutter around fixing the children and their special look for that day. It is necessary to arrive before the cuete, a firework.
At 10 in the morning, already seated under personal or communal umbrellas, we wait to hear the cuete that marks the beginning of the parade. Yes, bang bang bang can be heard in the distance. The avenue is three kilometres long and is only part of the route. After a while, the municipal president passes by smiling and greeting, accompanied by his wife and the council. They are walking in the open, suffering from at that time already hot sun. Then comes the escort from the town hall and for which they chose beautiful, slender women. Then comes a war band, and behind it a huge number of students, from kindergarten to university, passing rhythmically in front of us.
But I wanted to talk about the Queen of the Parade. I am not referring to the various queens that were chosen for the occasion, and kindergarten girls, high school youth, or veteran representatives of the elderly and who, from various vehicles, throw all kinds of goodies at their subjects. No. I am referring to a beautiful young woman with brown skin who sits, like every year religiously, on the opposite sidewalk.
Under a very appropriate awning, the Queen dominates the event with her frank and continuous smile. Sometimes she wears dark glasses to limit the Sun’s glare, sometimes she takes them off. She usually wears super skinny jeans, high boots, and nice blouses. With a slender figure and magical proportions, the Queen is accompanied by those who I believe are her relatives. Next to her is dad, a man of about 55 years old, with a serious face. Mom will be there. At the side, a sister with a baby, who is passed from arms to arms and must be well squashed. This year, the Queen for the first time takes her love with her. An ordinary young man, wearing a local soccer team shirt and glasses.
What strikes me most about the Queen is her voracious appetite. She gets into everything. While elementary and middle school boys and girls do pirouettes, rhythmic tables, and doubled steps, the Queen frenziedly consumes sweets and food. From pumpkin seeds, salted pistachios, Japanese peanuts, gummies, paper nuts, and prepared flour greaves, to popsicles, ice creams, and caramel-covered apples. The Queen’s digestive capacity is impressive. The Queen pulls her boyfriend, makes faces for him, kisses him with relish, eats from his hand and his mouth. Here on this side of the sidewalk we also enjoy the appetizers, but not in that proportion.
In the street, the last contingents represent fierce scenes from the War of Independence, with cannons that make a horrible roar. This is already unravelling, the vendors are cynically crossing, horses have already passed, of which some dropped their smoking poop, trailers, tractors, and even transvestites passed. But what I love to see is the evolution of the years of the Queen. I like to see her laugh and that she enjoys life, her edible cravings, and her love. Her beauty will continue for a long time. Long live the Queen of the Parade!
Humberto Peralta (México, 1968). A chemist and a Doctor in the Biochemical Sciences. His main occupation is scientific research but he is also cultivating a literary creation. He has a passion for the Spanish and English literature.