Should I knock on his door?

Trip Start Apr 09, 2005
Trip End Jun 08, 2005

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

11:00 PM
It is my last night in Monteverde before I set off on my travels around Costa Rica, and I find myself standing shyly in front of Fish's apartment with my hand poised in the air, hesitating to knock on his door, to take an action which once completed, cannot be recalled. But what the hell, I will never be able to come back to this moment, so I should just jump.

Knock, knock, knock.

An interminable wait, a shuffle--and, yes, he is as handsome as I remember. And he is glad that I am here! "Pase." (In CR, they only use the Ud. form--strange, right?)

And can you believe what the boy was doing before I came in? Reading a book on Confuscius. He shows me the passage he is reading. Something about burial rituals, ancestors, and the eternal light. How strange it is to read something so typically Chinese written in Spanish! We both ultimately agree that the passage is very pretty--and completely incomprehensible. If you've ever read Confuscius, then you know what I mean.

There is a hammock seat in the corner, and I lower myself into it. And-plunk!-my ass hits the floor. I laugh and he laughs. Apparently he had just hung it there for storage, not for usage. "Let me show you where I normally hang it outside," he says. We walk onto his porch and are immediately surrounded by the immensity of the night. Soft, the darkness, as I sway lightly on the hammock, now firmly attached to a porch beam.

I had noticed before that his shelves were lined with acrylics, watercolors, fabric, and paintbrushes of all sizes. "Can I see one of your paintings or drawings?"

And pretty soon we are seated on his makeshift sofa, me with a large sketchbook in my hands. "Wow," I say as I stare at the first drawing, "impresionante." All the drawings in this book are done with ink and are unlike anything I've ever seen before. They are unbelievably complex and psychological in nature. Sharp, geometric, precise, mathematical; so precise that some of them look computer-generated. I find myself staring at a single drawing for five minutes and still discovering hidden details. So these are the thoughts that revolve around his head . . .

I come upon a diary entry that he wrote several years back that he had forgotten about. We sit hunched over the book reading, him recovering his old thoughts, me discovering them for the first time. The entry talks of working so hard to build your life, but then one day you wake up, and you realize that somewhere along the way, you got trapped in the life you've built. It also speaks of love, frustration and, more than anything, solitude. So I guess I am not alone in feeling alone. As we talk of a million different topics, I forget that I am listening to and speaking in Spanish. My awareness of processing language completely dissipates. . . I am just talking.

I don't know what time it is, but we both know it's late. I stretch. I can already feel tomorrow morning smacking me in the face as I recall the 7:30 bus I have to catch. Perhaps I should stay, but I will go because that is what I have always done. I leave. Can't let anyone get their hooks into me; I am destined to wander. Sometimes I feel it's because I have the genes of my nomadic ancestors who spent their lives trekking across Asia and Russia on horseback.

And so I am making my way in pitch black, crunching over gravel, walking back to my house trying to beat the daybreak. But now there lingers on my lips the memory of a kiss, and I carry in my hand a drawing--proof for the morning that he does exist.
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