by Hugh Aaron
ONE would think we were a couple of returning heroes. “Americanos, Americanos,” the naked children shouted, zigzagging like circus clowns in mad circles around us as Billiard Ball and I ambled abreast down the beaten path through the shade of the green canopy. Heavy duffel bags hanging from our shoulders were laden with gifts: bottles of beer, cartons of cigarettes, cans of fruit juice. Repeatedly sweeping past us like zephyrs, each child snatched a bar of sweet chocolate from our extended hands. We were no less boisterous than they, shouting along with them, asking their names, having a good time ourselves, caught up in the infectious joy of their freewheeling abandon. Such was the character of our entry into Lubao time after time.
As we walked down the village street, people waved from their houses repeating our names, people we didn’t recognize from our earlier visit. “Hullo Beelyard Ball,” and “Al. Hullo. Comusta.”
Anita emerged from one of the houses to greet us. “You must both stay with my family,” she said. Then Alejandro appeared and said to Billiard Ball, “I have been waiting all week. Please, if you wouldn’t mind some metaphysical discussion I would be…