Tonight on Avenida La Rioja

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Roxane Bolon
November 20, 2022
Tonight on Avenida La Rioja

Tonight on La Rioja, a street a block and a half from my climbing gym, I wait for the 101 bus. It’s about a week and a half until the end of my time in Buenos Aires, so I'm trying to reflect on the present moment. The sky in the city is washed in a nice pinky blue, like a watercolor framed by apartments and laundromats and trees. It’s warm and my hair is in a tiny bun at the back of my head. I’m listening to soft reggae because it feels like summer and that’s what I like to listen to in the summer. 

Tonight on La Rioja, there’s an old man in front of me waiting for the bus. He had been walking behind me but passed me to throw a bag into the trash a block ago. We ended up at the same stop, tapping feet and looking into the sky. It’s less pink and more blue now and I’m starting to see some stars. Like I came outside right at the perfect time when it’s transitioning from dusk to dark. He’s wearing worn jeans and he looks like he tells dad jokes. I think we would be friends if I spoke to him but I’m feeling shy.

Tonight on La Rioja, there’s another man, this one younger, strolling down the street with an armful of items. I see a shopping bag and a half deflated soccer ball in his arms and a perfect looking milkshake in his hand. He’s singing loudly as he strolls and honestly, it looks like a great time. The old man and I look at each other and laugh. The singer keeps walking and his tune carries him down the street. I’m pretty sure I will be able to hear it even after I get on the bus. What a funny performance.

Tonight on La Rioja, there’s another chuckle behind me. The old man and I turn to see a woman who has joined our little line for the bus. She’s wearing a long silver necklace and is shaking her head at the singer. Her and my old man friend exchange rapid fire Spanish about how people get silly when it’s warm out. I smile and nod and giggle. She has her backpack on her front and there’s a little keychain with a picture of a young girl inside a heart frame. It makes me think about my mom and how we always take photos together and try to figure out if we look alike. I can never really tell, to be honest. We at least look alike on the inside, anyways. We’re all still waiting for the bus but in a calmer way, like we are less preoccupied with where we could be and more content with where we are. Not a foot tap to be heard. 

Tonight on La Rioja, the buses and cars in the distance are hard to see. I blink a few times but I remember that it’s just because I need a new contact prescription. I sigh a few times because four of the 7 buses and two of the 98 buses have already passed and the 101 has yet to show up. There’s something grounding about being at this bus stop. It’s like being at the airport, where you’ve done all you can do and you’re at your gate and now your transportation is at the mercy of the airline people and the pilots. All I can do and all I can be doing right now is wait for this bus, so I can get home in time to eat my quiche and lay on top of my bed under the fan because, like I said, it feels like summer.

Tonight on La Rioja, the 101 fades into view. I’m almost sad it came, because I felt like I was squeezing memories from these moments. My best old man friend flags the bus a bit too early so he’s just holding his arm out like a lamppost for a few seconds. My hair is falling out of its tiny bun because of the breeze. When the bus doors open, he offers for me to go first. I turn and offer the woman to go first, and she smiles at me. Her framed photo jingles as she steps onto the bus. I step up and say my stop, and as the bus starts moving I’m somewhat catapulted to the back where I find a seat. I look out the window at the sky, now a deep blue, the stars, the buildings, the people moving in their own spaces, the trees, the shadows. We slide past the stop and tonight on La Rioja, the 101 bus passes through. 

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Roxane Bolon

Hi! I'm Roxane! I'm a rising senior in college and I'm so excited about studying abroad in Argentina. I love travel (duh) and I can't wait to live in a new city. I love most outdoor activities, but my favorites are rock climbing and trail running. My best fun fact is that I hiked a 14,000 foot pass in Peru when I was 14. Or that I can solve a rubik's cube. Those seem pretty equal to me. I'm the youngest of four kids and my three older brothers would probably describe me as energetic and excited! Matcha tea with boba is my favorite drink, so you can definitely find me doodling in a cafe when I'm in Buenos Aires.

Home University:
Lafayette College
Chapel Hill, NC
International Affairs
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