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Be the Mule Blog

Sweater Thief

I lent a sweater to a neighbor a year ago. It was the first time Id met him. He still hasn't returned it. Now when we pass on the street, he crosses to the other side.
It was a common Mexico City early spring late afternoon when the rain began to fall. I was playing guitar in my apartment, which looks out at the short one way avenue from the second floor. The building is unremarkable but for its habitants. 
My windows are most always open. I play melodies over the zumba instructor's bullet calls from the studio across the street. The zumba studio also doubles as an events space where people celebrate the 15 year birthdates of their daughters, weddings, and future divorces.
I was just playing guitar.
He knocked on my door around 7 p.m. I had never spoken to him before. I only knew of him because I'd seen him walking out of his mother's apartment from time to time. He seems to work out a lot and only wears sleeveless shirts. His arms are gigantic like the cheap fat-big beer bottles called "ballenas" in Mexico. This is the same apartment where the pack of dogs lives (a floor above the chicken sacrifice folks with the two cute kids) that never seem to go outside but bark wildly in bursts most days around sunrise.
"It is raining, do you have a sweater you can lend me?", he asked in Spanish. Of course I said yes. I really didn't consider that this might seem strange, though it certainly was, whether in terms of his comfort, the idea a cloth sweater was going to protect him from the rain, or any sort of social norms of introduction. I went to my closet and pulled a blue zip up hooded sweatshirt of a red hanger. "Gracias, I'll bring it back tomorrow."
He never came.
A few months later he knocked on my door again, around 11 p.m. I was playing guitar. He said it was too loud, "it is almost 11 at night." I am short fused in these situations I admit, and growing shorter living in a city of 28 million people. Minneapolis runs thinner in my veins than before. "And my fucking sweater?" I said. "Oh I'll bring it right down". He never came.
I saw him today walking towards me on our street. He had no sleeves on his shirt. As we were about a half block away from each other, he crossed to the other side.

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