I awake to a light tapping on the front door. Momentarily stupefied, I check the time on my phone. 2:39 am. The tapping pauses, then resumes again. I stand up and quickly buckle on top of my left leg, which is still asleep, then open the door a crack, fully expecting to see a crazy person staring back at me. I glimpse a guy grinning in a big sombrero, uncomfortably close to the door, and begin closing it when I hear the music.
I open the door wider, and the crazy guy is actually Ricardo, beneath a gigantic sombrero, singing quietly. I look past him and see his godfather and two friends visiting from Mexico, one of them sitting at our feet and one taking pictures, all of them laughing with us. He smiles wide, holding out an iPod on its docket.
"Your serenata, Ita bonita."
Sometime around a year ago, Ricardo tells me about the tradition of serenatas in Mexico. How a guy shows up outside the home of the girl he likes, with a mariachi band or a skillful guitarist and some of his pals, and they serenade her. If she opens the door and comes out to meet him, she returns his affection. After hearing this, I ask Ricardo, "When are you going to serenata me?" It's been a joke for awhile, that we can't be officially dating unless I've been serenaded. I remind him of it every now and then.
I can barely stand, my leg is still waking up from a dead sleep, and I'm at the top of the steps with Ricardo, in a summer nightgown with sleep-wild hair, now laughing. My sense of humor awakes more quickly than I.
"Finalmente," I laugh.
Ricardo hands me a bouquet of orange daisies and a bag of Hershey kisses. "Besitos for one month," he jokes.
I survey him, amused. "Are you drunk?"
He grins back at me in his charming way, chuckling now. "A little. You have to be to do a serenata."
Serenata music plays softly from the iPod, Ricardo is still grinning like a goofball, and no one is singing anymore. I smile, feeling a little like I'm auditioning for a modern, Mexican version of the movie, Say anything. "Why aren't you singing?" I ask. "Cantame," sing to me.
"We're a little worried for the police," Ricardo confesses. "We're not in Mexico after all."
I look across the street, thinking about the crazies that live there, the drunken bellowing at night from the guys stumbling around like cows. "I don't think you need to be too worried about that."
They begin to sing, Ricardo and I swaying to the tunes, and his godfather imitates the sound of police sirens.
Ricardo's friend takes a lot of pictures while we pose underneath the sombrero, and we dance silly, and everyone laughs, and I relish a little taste of Mexico here in Seattle.