(This is the first in a series of three guest posts.)
I like it here, under the din of proselytization and the bruised, purple clouds on the horizon. I find myself thinking about her often. Robin Williams died today, and my instant reaction was to send her an e-mail or try to call her – which, of course, I cannot. The fact that I have intentionally avoided a working phone is one reason, but a tertiary one. It has been six months to the day since she passed away, and I miss her desperately.
The roof is pleasant and I have moved my office out here in order to observe the house custom of not smoking inside. The views are incredible. Mountains line the entirety of the horizon like a stubby fieldstone wall for gigantic, stupid herd animals. Cedars, pines, and cypress cover the ridge, trimmed of lower branches and vaguely resembling overgrown green dandelions against the horizon. Between that massive barrier and me lies Xelaju, sprawling and cinder-blocked, covered in an eighth-inch veneer of dust, cigarette butts, stomach virus and food wrapper.
These moments when then sun finally graces the mountains are truly incredible – but, to be honest, the perfectness of it all is totally ruined by the church. It is drowning out everything else with its combination of the instrumental version of Steely Dan's Rumors and, what is obvious to even those of us with marginal Spanish skills, a tired recital of the ease and joy that comes with relinquishing the decision-making part of the human experience to a cosmic paternal figure. I wish that I could listen to some other noise, perhaps the squeal of tires or a dogfight. I feel as though giant chancre sores are growing in my brain.
This noise is disturbing the Zen that I have traveled thousands of miles to cultivate, though there are more factors at play here than simple praise music. My sister was a delinquent and quite possibly a drain on the human experience, but she was a part of my life that I can never replace. Though I have a loving partner, insightful parents, sweet, intelligent siblings, and a kind, supportive cluster of close friends, it has yet to rescue me from this grief. In light of these facts, I took the next step in this natural progression: escaping to Central America.