Beggar on Corrientes

by David Miller

On the way home the other night we stopped at a red light on Corrientes. From across the intersection, a one-legged man hobbled over to the car on a pair of homemade crutches. Adalberto fished out a few monedas and handed them through the window. "Gracias," said the man, taking the coins, his voice sounding cigarette-scorched. Then he pivoted on his crutches and started towards the car behind us, leaving a final word hanging in the air: suerte, luck. Down here it's a common way of saying goodbye, only the way he said it was more like a prayer.

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David Miller, author of What They Act Like, is a regular contributor to magazines such as Mountain Gazette, and the webmag Matador Travel.