I have hours, only lonely
My love is vengeance
That's never free ♪♫
Traveling with someone is a test of character. The more time you spend with the person, the more you get to see. Their whole personality unfolds like a nude model dropping their robe. When traveling and sleeping in a van, you get to see it all. Their good and bad mood, how they react under tension, how they are by themselves, how they are with you, and how they are with you when they don’t want to be with you.
La Chichona had approved of Heidi, but the feeling was not mutual. Extremely sensitive to hygiene, Heidi spotted traces of mold in the plywood. We did a thorough cleaning of La Chichona before she could sleep in peace. I did not like to live by someone else’s rules, but Heidi’s made sense. She called a spade a spade, and most of the time, she was right.
We argued about practical things and had opposite views on personal values. Never shying away from the truth, Heidi spoke her mind. She was that person who always complained about the cleanliness of a place. And even though I found it annoying, I admired her courage. Disagreements led to conversations, conversations to connection, connection to trust, and trust to intimacy. As the days and kilometers went by, I grew fond of Heidi.
One afternoon, I got food poisoned and proceeded, with the accuracy of a Swiss clock, to puke my guts out every hour for the rest of the day. Despite the tension, Heidi put both our egos aside and took care of me. As if flipping a switch, she became considerate, patient, and caring. Without words, Heidi's cold blue eyes melted, and underneath blossomed a softness I did not expect. I liked what I saw and was ready for a new start.
After my recovery, I suggested a picnic on the beach…to talk. We laid down a towel and cracked a beer. Both tired, the tension had dissolved in a peaceful vibe. In the comforting silence, I took my shot.
- I’ve been thinking a lot…about my next move, about us.
- I’ll sell La Chichona, move back to La Guitarra, and keep working on my business in El Tunco.
- That’s a good plan darling, but I don’t want you to come back to El Tunco just for me.
- I’m not coming back JUST for you, but you’re one of the reasons...among many others.
- Haha so flattering! Thank you, I guess.
- Come on you know what I mean. I feel at home in La Guitarra…and I like being with you.
- Well, I like being with you too…sometimes.
I laughed, sipped my beer, and continued.
- Seriously, after I get rid of La Chichona, I would like to build something with you…You know, start a relationship.
- That’s sweet darling, but you need to get your shit together first…
Heidi spoke so lightly but her words stung me like a bee in the ear. I zoned out and stared blankly into nothing. Slowly, clarity returned and a powerful energy rose, a cold burn swirling up from my gut. I leaned back, grabbed a handful of sand, and squeezed.
I walked away from a lifestyle you’ll never have! I dared what many only dream of, while making $80/hour, running a side business, and paying my mortgage. I crossed half a continent, mastered a fourth language, discovered a new passion, and learned more in these two years than in the previous twenty! I stared back at death, felt the grace of God, and saved not one but TWO lives! Get your shit together huh… Tell me bitch, what did YOU do these past two years?
But those words never came out. Instead, I dissected the inadequacy Heidi left me with, so sour it ground my teeth. I was ready to trade the most beautiful years of my life for her. My freedom for her. Yet, to her icy blue eyes it was not enough. My epiphanies and life lessons checked none of her boxes. After all I had been through and all I had been, I was not enough.
I do not remember the rest of that picnic; Heidi's words blinded me. It was not rage but a new type of cold fury, a steady anger that slow cooked like bubbling magma. I did not blame her; Germans are not known for tactfulness. But that overwhelming energy was there the day after, and the day after. I could let it consume me, or use it, channel it like water through a high-pressure hose.
On my loneliest New Years' evening, after Heidi went to bed, I took an oath beneath the stars. “I will never let anyone talk down to me again.”
For that, I needed to get my shit together first.