Mármol is a dusty town about an hour north of Mazatlán where there used to be large cement factory. The communities economy was based on the cement factory, which invested in the population, cobbled the streets and added electricity. The cement factory is dead and has been for a while. It sits behind rusty barbed wire and the vegetation is slowly taking over.
Wandering the streets of Mármol a visitor would think a flying saucer had landed, people would have got out, rounded up the population and taken off leaving a few skinny dogs and some scraps of paper. However if you have time, like a couple of hours to sit in the plaza and wait and watch nothing happen then eventually like a snail coming out its shell, things start happening. We live our lives so rapidly that small happenings don’t make an impact on us until we slow down and move into slow motion.
The ambience in this town is conducive to being in a virtual comatose state, a state that I allowed myself to slip into and only then did I noticed things happening. Across the street a couple of boys carried a bench out the church, an old man sauntered into my peripheral vision to the left and sat down in the shade, another man walked into the church and stayed there, a dog sniffed my foot and did a piss in the dust, a boy ran from out of one house into another and a red truck passed in the distance and disappeared.
I sucked my Pepsi through a straw and a little girl sidled up to me and grinned through missing front teeth. We got talking and she said nothing happens here when half the town go daily to work in the hotels in Mazatlán, making beds or cleaning rooms or cutting grass or washing pots in kitchens. Some men she said have taken up fishing and others sit at home while their wives work in the hotels. She’s too young to remember the cement factory and to the kids now it is just a play area behind big walls and a fence. She sat next to me idling playing with her hair and got up and wandered off down the street towards a bunch of boys rolling in the dust near the gates of the cement factory.
I got up and walked to the outskirts of town where I waited for my lift back to Mazatlán. Who know how long this town will be here? As long as they keep buildings hotels in Mazatlán I suppose, and then there will be a substrata of people working and living in hotels by day and coming home to their homes by night leaving their children to play in the dusty streets of Mármol. A life I would have loved as a kid. Imagine having a cement factory and a town devoid of adults - one big playground.