winter with what’s left.

31 March 2012 § Leave a comment

This evening I moved out of the apartment Heather and I lived in for two months. I was there for a whole week by myself. What bliss.

The clean-up/packing session was accompanied by cinnamon pancakes and the using-up of the food I didn’t want to keep. Bites of raw onion, glasses of garlic water. Spoonfuls of pineapple jam and mango chutney. Nighttime cups of tea. Peanut butter would have brought it all together nicely, but alas, I had none.

I have three weeks left in Central America. Two in Boquete. It’s like counting down to death – but worse, because I know my next stop is Florida.

Spending my time wisely is like one of those you-have-six-months-to-live scenarios that potential employers and people trying to make an impression on you ask in order to find out what kind of person you are. What do you do with the time remaining?

I filled one out when I arrived in Boquete, before I started Kaytee’s volunteer program. I don’t remember exactly what I wrote, but there was likely a lot of self-indulgence, adrenaline, and transparency involved; things like climbing mountains, jumping from great heights, and making sure my loved ones know who they are.

The idea behind that prompt, as I’m sure you know, is to get you to ask yourself why you’re not living like that already.

Mine seemed like usual responses. I’ve done them all to some extent. But the mountains I’ve climbed apparently were not high enough, the heights I’ve jumped from .. also not high enough, and those I love, well, they should know that already, shouldn’t they? I’ve said ‘I love you’ many times; I wonder how many have been sincere. I have my suspicions that most were more genuine than I allowed myself.


My Spanish is fading; guilt replaces it. I could barely hold on in a basic conversation with a jewelery vendor in the artisan market today, and afterward realized how little more than common phrases I use anymore. I haven’t worked with Guerra and the guys in nearly two weeks, which has been my main source of language practice. More guilt.

I’m holding onto the confidence that I’ve found something satisfying and productive in working on my writing. I know that I’m making the right choice. Spanish, my last pursuit, will always be here; Ed, my mentor and editor – and most importantly, my friend – will not.

Later, I will value these few months with him as I value the greatest and happiest of my lifetimes. My anxiety over shifted priorities is my grieving. If this is indeed the beginning of my writing career, which only Ed has been able to push and inspire me to undertake, my opportunities from here will only multiply. They will slingshot me to learn places and languages and cultures that now I only dream of visiting.

But now I must focus, put the work in, and write in order to make that happen. Guerra and the guys are friends of mine. $15 a day, however, is not worth not doing what I’m doing.

Today I opened up the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last November. I barely recall the person who wrote it. The tone is surprising to me. Innocent. Charlatan, even. Nevertheless, there’s something about it that I like.

Editing commenced immediately. Perhaps the novel is recoverable. Maybe not publishable, but there are pieces from it I can use – for other stories, slam poetry pieces, or soul-healing.

Or maybe all of them.


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