- Fais moi l’amour!
- Non, je ne crois pas non.
- Mmm pas envie.
OSS 117. Le Caire nid d'espions.
I woke up like a flower kissed by the sun and walked shirtless to La Guitarra's kitchen. The coffee brew while I stretched my limbs on the cool tiles. I grabbed a cup, my notebook, and followed the almond trees to the beach front patio, where the morning sky was always blue. The smell of coffee, a gentle breeze, and the waves rolling rocks back and forth. I wrote down the things I was grateful for. I was grateful to be here.
The tides and waves dictated my schedule. Every day I worked, surfed, played music, and laughed with friends. We wrapped up the day with a cold beer and a sunset show. La Chichona was safe in Honduras, and all was good in the world.
Grounded in routine, I had time for dating. I matched with Francielle on Tinder, a gorgeous Argentinian living in the capital. Francielle was a young surgeon and a model. We first met in a café in San Salvador where she talked about her work, her ambitions, her family history and other serious topics. She was as solemn as she was pretty. My best attempts to joke succeeded in her cracking a polite, funeral smile. There was no chemistry whatsoever. But she was hot, so I invited her to La Guitarra for a second date.
Back when I was building La Chichona, Renaud, the friend of a friend, was doing the same. He also started from Montreal, quit his job, bought a sprinter van, and fled south. We bonded over our common struggles. Renaud started his trip one year after me. We had never seen each other, he was just this calm voice on whatsapp that understood my bitching. After a year and a half, Renaud had caught up with me in El Salvador. I was excited to meet him in person.
Renaud was travelling with his girlfriend. They parked their van in a nice spot next to La Guitarra. We went surfing a few times and shared countless stories over the evening beers (they have a cool blog and a youtube channel: Mountains and Coconuts). Renaud had had his fair share of issues. He understood why I left la Chichona in Honduras to return to La Guitarra. As much as they enjoyed Playa El Tunco, they had to find a mechanic to fix their van. By the end of the week, they headed to the capital.
Meanwhile, Francielle came down to Playa El Tunco. We had margaritas and played in the pool. In her swimsuit, she was worthy of the Victoria Secrets lineup. As we walked on the beach for the sunset ritual, Francielle turned all heads around. With the help of alcohol and the view, we made out and watched the sun fade behind the rock. I walked Francielle back to her car and kissed her goodbye. Back to my hammock, all the beach boys congratulated me as if I had finished a marathon. I enjoyed the attention, that was about it.
I saw Francielle once again at the cinema. We watched Once upon a time in Hollywood and I laughed a lot and alone. Our onversations lacked humor like a soup without salt. She reminded me of those million-dollar modern art paintings I never understood. I said goodbye to her on the parking lot, with an awkward hug and a fake promise. As a contemporary poet once said, "Love is like a fart. If you have to force it, it's probably shit."
Renaud came back to the beach after three days in San Salvador. He was disappointed and worn out. In his calm, Zen-master tone, he explained that they did not find the source of the issue. The mechanics started experimenting while they stayed in the garage. At night, they heard gunshots close by. The days were exhausting and the nights restless. They had wasted time, money, and earned nothing but a terrifying experience. They spent the night and left early in search of another garage. #vanlife.
Their experience reminded me of what La Chichona had put me through. From the very first day, the problems never ended. Besides sucking up my money like a blackhole, she was my main source of anxiety. Now that she was in Honduras, my only worries were when to surf, what to eat, and who to date. No dreadful chores, no stabs in the back, no stressful deadlines. I was floating in a cloud of simple problems. My life without La Chichona was so perfect that not even an Argentinian model could disturb its peace.
Freedom is having the luxury to choose your own troubles.