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“’Cos this heifer will give me milk and meat,” he said,—ooh, how mauve my lips bloomed in the kiss. When I tell my family I got married, I’ll persuade them that Simón is a caring son-in-law: what’s the use of Great Uncle’s banknote hidden under Grandmother’s mattress? “We’ll lend it to hawkers, the interest rate at fifty per cent. Your old ones will thank me for that.”
Not a soul in the history museum—two visitors a day is a lot. I lead my husband to the first floor, for better privacy on our first wedding day.
“My verse—my son—you will live on,” Simón reads aloud at exhibit one, recognizing the only piece of poetry he knows by heart. “You will, too, if you’re a good girl,” he laughs, pulling me against its edge. My heart on the boning knife stanza, my coils swathed around my husband’s fist, a thousand cream chandeliers burst behind my closed eyes. My arms flung out, I soar over the Crashattic, the happiest wife alive.
Simón zips up his Wranglers. I pull on my Levi’s. I can swear we set off for the appointment in time—blame this kiosk two blocks from your embassy. At first, I don’t notice the unassuming box at the far end of the counter, the delirious cream liqueur-filled chocolate that deflowered my taste buds so early.
“Stop staring, we’re running late,” Simón says. “Choose one box as a wedding gift—you can have it if you’re a success.”
“S-s-wan Milk,” I stammer, my nostrils flared, my crotch a jackknifed mess. Just look out the window. He is waiting for me outside, isn’t he gorgeous, his shoulders the wings of a condor, his lips a dizzy highway. Let me out, Herr Consul, enough of precautions: my husband is finishing off my Swan Milk with his sixth bottle of beer.
At the embassy portico, an angel-white travel bus has opened its doors. The first batch is to be transported to special hostels from Dresden to Munich. They are the smartest people, the ones who had to wait just a couple of months, having heard of your project before word spread. Into the baggage compartment the men push identical checked bags with their owners’ last names written in marker along the zipper (“My porcelain, you hedgehog!” a woman shrieks)—the first batch take their seats in the bus.
Your face is softening, Herr Consul. You’ve switched off the forgery detector. Didn’t I tell you I’m genuine through and through? Well pleased, you Xerox and file my papers. You reach into your secret drawer for a deserved Haribo. I can almost taste it myself.
I look out the window. I see Simón swaying a bit, calling the bus driver aside. My husband is taking out my wallet and proffering Great Uncle’s banknote to the driver. Impassively, the man pockets it, descends from the bus, re-opens the rear baggage compartment, and Simón climbs in. I wish I could leap through the window and stop that already speeding bus.
No doubt, the frontier guard will see my Simón first thing tomorrow morning, hungover and exhaust-gassed, when he opens the baggage compartment for the customs check. The driver will feign bewilderment—“Must have sneaked in at some stop, silly punk.”
An attempt at illegal border crossing means a criminal record. As is written in the guidelines, this is not what the gentile spouse of a pure species can afford.
Herr Consul, I don’t want your Germany. Give me back my papers, to hell with your project. Let me out. I must pick up some Swan Milk foil to twist around my ring finger—before the janitor sweeps the Crashattic clean.