13. Leaving Palmira

“12th March 2000 – Sunday

La Casa de Richard Chocoleto, Palmira, Costa Rica

I’m sitting here in the courtyard, my last morning in this place.  I’ve brought the speakers out here.  I listen to exquisite guitar music of Ottmar Libert, a style that is popularly considered to be a Spanish, but I think it originates with the Gypsies.

The white-yellow sun blazes down.  The clarity is super-real.  It reminds me of the cocaine episode; from a fuzzy drunken stoned, to crystal clear.

I haven’t spent a lot of time out here, on this little south-facing patio.  The avocado tree is beautiful; the fruit hangs invitingly…

… I’ve taken down the ripest one that I could find.  The grass in the yard is soft and reassuring on my soles.  The avocado is too green to eat now; I’ll take it to Montalba with me.

From the wind, rain, fog, and cloudy isolation, to this, exactly what I’d had in my mind when I set off to drive to Costa Rica.  Along the way, some boundary has been passed.  I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I know it’s a good thing, and that’s enough for now.

When I moved in here I was relieved to have a place to sleep for more than one night in a row.  It was a luxury not worrying about my junk, nor concerning myself with driving for eight to twelve hours when I woke up.  The drive from Toronto left me drained, and empty.

I’d come to Zarcero for the weather.  But the cold, wet, days and nights in Palmira were lonely.  The writing hadn’t been going all that well.

I was apprehensive about Bryan coming down.  Then the shit with the car.  But, in the end, my outlook changed for the better.

When that guy inquired about my car at the gas station at Paraiso, it got me thinking I could shed the car if I lived in a place, where I didn’t have to have it!  Then just a few hours later, the place in Montalba became available.  I had to take it.

But, as if inevitable, life in Palmira got brighter.  It warmed.  It dried.  I learned about being here.  Tanya came along.  I’ve started writing most days.  Besides the car, everything mellowed.

At the same time things in Montalba seem to have gone the other way.  There was the Jane thing, leaving a sour taste in my mouth, and now Andy is leaving.

Is it only two weeks ago we went out?  We started at Inger’s dinner party.  I was drunk when we left to go to the karaoke bar.  I remember he was knocking on a well-weathered door of a mud garden hut; the sky had started to brighten.  There were four stools around a small bar.  We drank guaro and smoked raunchy cigars then staggered back to Casa Gringo by 7 a.m. to drink espresso and figure out how to deal with the world order imploding to the rotten core.  We took turns playing the guitar until we made the drive to the cafeteria across the street from the university campus, for bacon and eggs.

We drove to San José listening to Screamin’ J. Hawkins.  He’d bailed out in the midst of a real jam, heading northward on Calle 5, approaching Avenida 4.  He forgotten the packet of cigarettes in which he’d put the joints I’d rolled him.  By the time I noticed the box on the seat, I couldn’t see him.  So I lit one up and chilled.

I got so fucked up when I couldn’t start the car to go and pick up Karina.  The focus of my awareness has been in the future; I’ve been anxious all the time about meeting my responsibilities, and staying on absurdly constrained plans.  For what?

When things didn’t go according to plan, it always turned out being okay, in the end, maybe even better than it would have been.  Expectations that I create have enslaved and tortured me, simultaneously making me the torturer, and slave master.

Something definitely broke in Atenas.  I can’t do it anymore.

Then there was that look in AY’s eyes; someone who knows he has done the best at all of the things he was supposed to, and still isn’t happy.

After he left, I’d planned to pack up, and drive to Montalba.  But I couldn’t leave.  I had a smoke, opened a beer, and mellowed the day away, enjoying each moment for its own sake.

Now, I’m ready to roll out of here, but not this second.  I’ll be leaving sometime in the future.  Does it really matter how near, or how far that future is from now?  Right now it is so great to be where I am, and who I am.  This that I’ve found, I can take with me anywhere.  I get this moment now.  I can always have that.  I can always have ‘right now’, no matter where I am, if I choose to.”

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