Zihuatanejo… me estremezco!

It has been quite some time since I last visited Zihuatanejo but tomorrow I will reacquaint myself with the Pacific port. I doubt it’s still the sleepy village with burros parading up and down the beach but from what I hear, the pace remains relaxed, the sun feels hot and the margaritas taste icy-cold.

I’m attending a fiction writers’ workshop led by John Reed and Elizabeth Engstrom. I am hoping that what I learn will help me to put the finishing touches on my novel “If You Only Knew”

Want to see the first page?


Mexico City, October 2, 1968

Nightfall spreads over Mexico City like a dark sarape. From my third floor living room window, I watch the Mariachi wrapping their falsetto throats in thick wool as they move towards Garibaldi Square. Some of them wink and lift wide sombreros to the coy señoritas clustered around a popular taco stand. And for a while, the flirting, giggling and the charcoal fire’s warmth seem to relieve the autumn cold. Also feeling the chill bouncing off the large clear panels, I turn away from the sidewalk dance below.

A long stemmed glass of tinto is what I want. But as I move through to the kitchen, my ears pick up a strange scraping, stumbling sound. At thirty-one, I don’t usually form fast opinions, yet I immediately sense the commotion coming from the landing will alter lives – mine included.

Eyes wide open, neck muscles as tense as rubber bands, and blood throbbing hot in both my temples, I now hear hard breathing in the hallway and an agonized voice calls out,

“Amalia! Let me in!”

Who could be out there?  It’s after ten. Sweat beads on my upper lip and my trembling palms go clammy. My breathing reduces to uneven puffs yet I force myself to move through the living room. I place both hands on the varnished wooden door, raise one eye and look through the peep hole.

Alejandro Méndez stands there like a phantom from another time and I feel as though I’ve been socked in the stomach. Many years ago, when we were way too young, we became one another’s first love… At the time he told me I’d forever changed his life. And perhaps that’s true, but I’m of the opinion, he completely ruined mine. Like day follows night, if he’s here, trouble will come…

Yet I know I’ve no choice but to release the dead bolt and face him. Face my past.


When I’m away from Merida, it is harder to write as often as I’d like but I’ll keep you up to date by posting as often as possible.

Image credit:      http://www.shorpy.com


Filed under Vida Latina, Writing

12 responses to “Zihuatanejo… me estremezco!

  1. Good work, señora!! I would ask if it’s autobiographical, but it would make you way older than you are.

  2. Joanna, Now you have really stumped me, WordReference.com, la Real Academia Española, AND Google. What does “me estremejo! mean?

    • AND thank you both–David and Joanna. I had the same problem searching for the word, but after your exchange, I tried the DICCIONARIO PANHISPÁNICO DE DUDAS*, and there it was, on page 279: “entremercer(se)’ Hacer temblar’ y, como pronominal, ‘temblar’. Verbo irregular: se conjuga comma agradecer….”

      Now, too, I have the lyrics for that lovely song, finally into my iTunes.

      Progress, “poco a poco,” but fun, nonetheless.


      • I feel a little silly for the mistake but “not too proud to beg”… I discovered the error of my ways. It is a charming song. Thanks Alinde

      • I don’t believe YOU made a mistake at all, Joanna. I did!! The word I looked up was “estremercer”, but I typed (above) “eNtremecer.” I thought, in posting what I did, that I was finding a validation for the word you used, but I obviously need a proofreader, or a better set of eyes. And in listening to three versions of the song, I do hear it as a “estremezco,” as you quoted it.

        I sure hope (though knowing myself, I doubt) that I will have learned at least one new word here.

      • That’s cool Alinde… isn’t it amazing how if we open ourselves up to the possibility that we are quite capable of mistakes, we find surprises galore. Entremecer is indeed a verb as is estremecer. And I’m with you, it sure sounds like “estremezco.” Indeed language is fun!

  3. you’re writing is wonderful!!

    • Thank you Jan… I’m trying!

      • This is why you are a great editor David… You catch everything! Estremezco is the correct spelling. And in case you wonder where on earth I got the word, it’s from a popular song… “Cuando calienta el sol aquí en la playa, / siento tu cuerpo vibrar cerca de mi; /es tu palpitar, es tu cara, es tu pelo, / son tus besos, me estremezco, oh, oh, oh! / cuando calienta el sol aquí en la playa, /…

  4. Joanne

    I am so curious about how Zihuat is now…I was there 26 years ago and loved it…one of my choices for retirement back then. I would love to know how the pace of life is and how are the beaches….I imagine Ixtapa has encroached on the sister fishing village…and I remember reasding about it briefly in The Shawshank Redemption…have a great time and let us know how it is…

    • Hi Sharon, I’m as curious as you and yes, I’ll let you know how it is in Zihuatanejo…. I had forgotten that wonderful scene in the Shawshank Redemption… thanks for reminding me.

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