We approached Loreto and I had the most unsual sensations. My heart actually fluttered as the jungle green Los Montanas Giganticas rose in steep and ancient angles, quilted with a green and tufted cover. Or was it my stomache tumbling as the white maned bay came into view? I dont recall ever having this reaction in returning to a beautiful location before. It was almost embarrassing. I didnt tell R. It was too much. It was like walking up the familiar sidewalk to the door of the house of a lover.
That is how much I am moved by this paradise. This is our third visit, and we really had planned on driving on by toward Cabo, to return later, but it’s quiet beauty is magnetic, magical even, as they say here, and we were drawn in, as if enchanted, despite all of our plans.
How incomprehensibly strange it was then, after walking the crescent beach and swimming the always perfect pool, that, finally catching up with friends and family on my ipad, I had news of a sudden death. He died right next to her on the beach in Cabo, she said. A massive heart attack. She said she didn’t think he even knew what happened, mercifully. I was grateful she thought to tell me, but she is generous and kind, and she knew he was my first real love.
I remember the boy. I Thought alot about him last night, and still today vivid memories of our youth, wild and free, trample about in my brain as I try to attend to my present and compelling location on the baja, where he too walked barefoot just days ago.
He was completely masculine and the first thing people noticed about him was his muscular physique. He played football for the other school, but I cheered for him anyway. He wrestled and won. We wrestled and he would let me win. We met on a church backpacking trip when our faith was as fundamental as only new faith can be. We walked and talked and sweat under our backpacks, which suddenly seemed lighter.
Our brothers both had snakes, what are the odds? He loved to tell people stories in his whispery gravelly voice, and was very good at it. My brothers were spellbound by his antics. We learned how to spin a bottle cap like a frisbee with thumb and third finger. We Learned what a gleek was: the squirt that comes from under your tongue. We learned what a monkey bump was: a bump raised by a knuckled fist. hE demonstrated what a “ling” was: a thumping given with the fourth finger moving freely, while the thumb encircled the third. I learned how to whistle by pulling out my lower lip and sucking. Adding a braying sound on the exhale accomplishes a perfect donkey voice, a talent passed on to him by a spanish student. (and he would be delighted had he known I performed this jaw dropper at a barbecue this summer when a new guest was too shy to do his bear imitation).I learned how to remove a hickey: by twirling a pencil eraser directly on the tattletale bruise.
He was kind, gentle, and interacted with the disabled children my mother fostered with a natural ease few have, and he, yet a teenage boy.
Often the stories T told were of his own derring-do, and he would laugh at himself with his carefree laugh, opened mouth, and then tee-heeing just for effect.
Our families seemed similar: big and loving and full of life. We camped out on “the land” his family bought out of town, and tried not to make love under the plastic tarp nailed to sticks, our bower in the chorus of twitterpated treefrogs. We also tried to behave parked in his old one ton International in my alley, hugging and kissing with the rain dancing on the metal roof. It was almost impossible to part.
It was excitement to be near him, and anticipation of next meeting to be away. I think we broke each others hearts several times in those years after I turned sixteen.
I struggled without him, experiencing the first of many episodes of true walking in mud and fog depression. He struggled with his own wildness, as bohemian as the rest of my dearest ones, and paid greatly, as did those now close to him.
I think he never gave up, though, and I would hear of times being better, as often happens as we mature. I hope so, T. I hope you found peace and serenity through it all as a man. You were so deeply and faithfully loved in this life.
And as for me, the woman, the crone, I will remember you, always as the boy who first made me, then just a girl, feel that flutter of quickening, that enchantment, that is like traveling the last long mile to paradise.
Honestly, Julie, you kill me with your words.
So well written, tears flow–