Shantih Journal 3.1 - Page 99

links to the old neighborhood. But he couldn’t go anymore by himself to the one little Gallego market that still stood amid all the Chinese and Latin American stores. The shop smelling of sausage and spices, with the bloody-smocked, friendly-gruff butchers who spoke his old dialect. And who sold the precious red saffron in tiny jars or tins holding just a few strands, like curly thread or thin, wiry hair. It cost a fortune but it made the dish. ​ ow Beatriz was asking him if he needed anything else. He decided not to be N mean, and simply answered “No, thanks, cara.” He watched Beatriz drive off in her fortified vehicle, through the mud of the poorly paved road.​ ​ ndrew sat at his computer, trying to concentrate on a nature web site. For a A while now he’d been interested in bugs, and had been compiling a list of insects on the property, which he would carefully divide into categories and sub- categories. Today he’d found some carpenter ants and wanted to learn more about them. ​ nly his grandfather understood about the bugs, which bugged his parents, O especially his mother. He couldn’t tell if they were bothered more by his entomological interests or the fact that his grandfather wasn’t bothered and in fact encouraged him. Andrew knew the hobby was a little weird, and sometimes he understood his parents’ attitude. Other times he just wanted to tell them to fuck off. Occasionally he fantasized about capturing some lethal species, small poisonous spiders maybe, and letting them loose in the house before making his escape. His grandfather knew a lot about plants and birds and animals, especially sea creatures. He talked to Andrew a lot lately about the ways of nature, how they seemed meaningless and cruel but might be part of a grand plan no one had yet figured out. He and his grandfather also shared a dislike for Andrew’s new house, which was in a development called Park Avenue West. His grandfather called it Parking Lot West, or sometimes, when he didn’t know Andrew was listening, Pretentious Assholes West. Andrew had looked up “pretentious.” 99