OYM Day 24: No Mal — Part 2
I need to write in the mornings again. Writing at night is hard. I’m always tired. I mean I’m tired in the morning, too, but at least there’s coffee. And I’m fresh off of lucid dreams, which have me in an interesting space. I’ll try to wake up early tomorrow.
I walked 30 minutes through tall weeds and sounds of howler monkeys. I had no idea when this path would end or when I would see signs of human life. Then I heard it. A car. An engine. Tires on rock. The trail cleared almost instantly and an old Suzuki bounced past me and into the clearing. I could also see a small community bulletin board covered in wilted papers, and what looked like a 90’s era cell phone hanging from a lanyard on a nearby tiki torch.
I walked in the direction of the car, slowly, pretending I knew exactly where I was going. A middle aged man with no shirt or shoes hopped out of the car speaking in Hebrew, followed by a thin, tan, curly q’ed blonde woman in linen overalls. Suddenly, a pack of wild monkeys burst from the back of their truck. There were 3 of them. One was butt naked and the others had on shorts. None of them wore shoes and their hair was wild. One ran immediately to a rock where he pulled out a long, shed snakeskin. He screamed with delight. He must have put it there for safe keeping. The other started pissing as he walked and shouted at the other monkeys. The last one ran down a path that I hoped led to a place I wasn’t going. In case I’m not being clear, they weren’t monkeys, they were kids…but it took me a second.
“Welcome, friend! Everyone is at the river, but come have lunch with us! Your amigo will be back in awhile to get you set up.”
I have an amigo? A river sounds fun! Lunch? With those kids?! Why is it so hot and why are they not sweating like me? My insides were screaming with insecurity. There was no way I would fit in here. I had on jeans. I put mascara on that morning. I needed WiFi. I felt like the wolf in the pasture.
I received an email after I booked my room at the commune, with very detailed instructions. I was told what I could bring, and what I absolutely could not. No non-biodegradable products. Only all natural shampoos, toothpastes, and deodorant. No bug spray. No batteries. No perfumes or makeup. No coffee. No outside foods. No mirrors. Like a true addict, I kept a few packs of instant coffee in a hidden pocket in my backpack. I mean, it may not work out with these people and I’ll need a pick-me-up on the way to the airport, right? Also how the hell would I get to the airport? I doubt I’d run into the king of ceviche again.
I sat with the Israeli couple and their clan of wild children on a wooden, covered deck with a dozen or so low tables. He offered me macadamia nuts and some seeds. It tasted like heaven.
I wondered how much weight I would lose. I pictured myself arriving home at the airport, giving my husband a hug but unable to use both arms, because of course I’d have to hold up my pants! They’d be falling off! I’d be so thin!
A white pickup truck tumbled down the main path and came to a dusty stop. About 80 people hopped out of one truck bed. I lost count at about 17 and they just kept coming. I sat there, trying to look natural, as they all chatted and laughed with one another and made their way over to where we were sitting. People gathered around and took seats in small packs, taking off their shoes before stepping onto the platform. I stared at my sandals, still strapped to my feet. What a monster! I hid them under my calves as best I could. No one spoke to me and I felt myself planning my escape back to an environment where I wouldn’t be a loser.
“Casey? Are you Casey from USA?”
It was my amiga. I said yes and before I knew it I was on the back of her 4 wheeler being taken to my casita. It was located up in a corner of the commune that they called “the birds nest”, as it was the highest point of the grounds and there were parrots everywhere. She handed me a key and pointed to a mud-wall guest house with a lizard painted on the door. I saw a few other casitas in the far distance and wondered how I would sleep that night. I hadn’t walked through the door to my sleeping quarters yet, but the noise…it was so, so loud. The bugs screamed, birds squawked, monkeys threw mangoes at each other in the trees, and honestly I don’t have any fucking idea what those other sounds were.
It was 1,000 degrees and full humidity. Jeans, Cassie?! I wondered when they would be completely absorbed into my skin. I looked at the giant dream catcher over the bed, the mosquito net draped over each corner of the mattress, decorated with large colored beetles. They were real beetles. Nice touch. I opened the tiny fridge in the corner of the room to see what the mini bar situation was and to my disappointment, there was only an empty ice cube tray and about 10,000 fire ants, exalting in their freedom, and ready to party. I immediately killed as many as I could, sandals flying. It sounded like someone eating a bowl of wheat cereal with their mouth open. Crunch, crunch, crunch.
What in the actual fuck was I doing here? Sure, I can wear natural deodorant, use natural toothpaste, and hide my instant coffee, but I definitely just committed jungle murder to the nth degree. I hadn’t been here for an hour.
I writhed out of my jeans like a snake and put myself in the shower. I wanted the cold water to bring me back to my senses. I came here for a reason. I needed to heal myself. I needed closure. I needed to purge.
The shower decided I needed more fire ants. They spilled out of the shower head and down my body. I went to war.
Stay tuned for part 3.