The sign, rimmed in neon, beckons from across a wasteland. The vast pampa may have promised wealth and sustenance in exchange for callous hands – but I wanted none of that. Give me a place to sit and write and contemplate and I will be made complete.

This confitería looks posh and restrained but that sign towering above the street belies a hunger and desperation that is anything but.

What lovely hubris to have made such a sign — a beacon meant to reach across the void — on a narrow Buenos Aires street! Your vantage point, at best, the other sidewalk. Only someone who knew how much lovers and loners needed such a refuge — indeed who was a lover and a loner himself — could have ever dreamed of such a thing. Those who love the deepest are those who are the most alone.

As I order a glass of jerez, I think of all the unsung heroes who make this life what it is. I cherish them — along with the free thinkers — most of all. Most of us will never be recognized for what we have done. It seems the way of the world. What is judgement day but the fond hope that someone, even if it is only God, will have noticed us and our acts?

In meantime, I will do my best to truly see those around me. I do not know who erected this sign that called me here and warms my soul on a rainy night, but I raise my glass to them in their lonely desperation.

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