- WATCH OUT!
- Eh !?
- BEHIND YOU!!!
- ... Fuuuuuuuuuck
The ocean was a glassy blue mirror after the storm. I waxed my board and looked at the wave. There were only two guys in. I paddled through the white water and sat beyond the breaking wave. Zipolite was mesmerizing, a blue barrel biting with raging beauty. I paddled next to the other surfers, saluted them and waited for my turn.
The fist wave stood fast, straight and twice my size. One surfer paddled over it. The other got in position, pacing his strokes like a leopard before the kill. He charged it, dropped down and rode the face in my direction. The sun was shining on his back. He crouched and the wave wrapped him in a perfect barrel. Nature led the dance, and the surfer danced. The performance was too pretty to look away.
A foreign voice brought me back to my senses… the other surfer was yelling something and pointing behind me. I turned my head... too late. A massive wave was about to crash on me. It was too late to surf it, too late to paddle around, too late to think. I took the deepest breath and dove down. The wave tightened its grip on my ankle and the leash pulled me back up. I was swallowed by chaos then slammed me headfirst into the ground. Crack. I could not feel anything but the salty sand in my mouth. The session was over.
The aftershock came the next morning, I could not move my head. No turning sideways or up and down, my neck was stiff as a log of wood. I pushed to get up but an excruciating pain stung between my shoulders. I needed help. Karleen was the only person I knew and she was out of town. We had not talked since I made her cry twice and on her birthday. I’ll just sleep it off...
The next day was worse, adding helplessness to the pain. I was alone in Chefi's cabanas, unable to leave the bed. Taking a piss required careful planning and herculean efforts. Even the Taqueria 50m down the park seemed unreachable. I laid down and waited for the pain to pass.
The night was restless. I dreamt of Karleen in Puerto Escondido, and woke up sweaty and panicked. The second day was as bad as the first, and I ran out of supplies. Chefi was still in the mountains. At the first sound, I crawled out of my bed and barked for help.
It was a young gentleman driving a cab. His name was Alejandro and he was Chefi's son in-law. He took me to the doctor to get medication and bought me food on the way back. Alejandro helped me through the stairs and carried the supplies near my bed. Gracias carnal.
The medication helped soothe the pain, but after it came a fever. I woke up shivering in bed on a 28 degree-morning. I texted Alejandro and this time, Chefi walked in. It felt so good to see a familiar smile. Her presence brightened the mood.
- You look terrible!
- That's cause you left! See what happens when I don't eat your food haha !??
Chefi made a disapproving nod. She returned with extra blankets, a fruit salad and a small bucket filled with ice. She put the icy towel on my forehead and checked on me every few hours. Feeling her care, I was getting better already. Came nightime, she sat by the side of the bed and took out a flagon from her pocket. It was a yellow ointment with a strong eucalyptus smell.
She spread the balm from my right elbow to my ear. It was so cold it burnt. The heat and the smell made me dizzy, then my teeth started chattering. I was shaking uncontrollably, and laughing at the tickly touch. Chefi stopped my delirium by pressing her strong knobbled fingers into my triceps. I don’t remember fainting.
I woke up heavy, like I had slept a hundred years. The fever was gone. I was hungry. I still could not move my neck but vitality was coming back drop by drop. Chefi knoked on the door and walked in, carrying a bowl and her smile.
- How are you feeling?
- Much better, thank you.
- Thank God, you scared me yesterday!
- You were laughing so much I thought you were possessed!
- Hahaha maybe I was! It felt good to laugh.
- I'm glad it helped. You need to eat now.
She handed me the bowl. The mango was so sweet, the pineapple so juicy. I devoured the plate and handed Chefi the empty bowl with a big smile on. She had taken care of me the way only a mother would.
- Thank you. That was the best fruit salad I've ever had.
- Good. What did you eat when I wasn't there?
- I didn't
- I was too weak to get out of bed.
- And where is your girlfriend?
- In Puerto Escondido.
- She should have come! What would have happened if not for Alejandro!??
- Thank you for coming. Tell Ale I thank him and owe him one.
- She should have been here…
I dared not tell Chefi that I was the one who sent Karleen away. That I made her cry twice, that I chose weed over her, that I did not deserve her grace. I should have called but I was ashamed. Yet, Chefi's words rang true.
She should have been here.