Shame is opening your mouth to speak to a family member and then realizing that you don't even speak the same language. Well, sometimes you do, but it's always because cheating is involved. I'm on their turf, and I can't deliver much beyond asking them to pass the butter or telling them that I love them (both two very important functions in any language, but I'm sure you see my dilemma). My cousins and aunts and uncles and my grandparents have always spoken English; what need was there to ever learn Spanish? In fact, it almost would have been selfish to learn Spanish when they were constantly desiring to practice their English when we came to visit! Right? RIGHT?!
The fire crackles and burns bright blue embers, the wind sending some of those embers afloat and sending all of us dodging. One of them managed to bite the secondary toe of Kristen's left foot, leaving a hideous blister in its wake. I have it all on film, not wanting the moment to diappear forever as Kristen cursed the fire keeping her warm.
Tony was burping and spitting a mouthfull of beer onto the fire while Cristina, Elisabeth, Kristen, Cecilia (and admittedly me) sang a slightly off-key version of Only the Good Die Young. We could be heard all the way down the beach for certain. It was glorious. Somewhere in the midst of all this we spied three flash light beams shivering their way down the beach from about a quarter of a mile away - clearly my father, Kelly, and Norm (her father) on their way back from the cave down at the end of the cove (clearly, because we are just about the only people on this blessed beach out in the middle of nowhere). I quietly excused myself from the blaze and made my way quickly toward the surf to catch them. As I came closer, their flashlight beams caught my silhouette and shined my way. I continued into a blinding beam of light, shielding my eyes to no avail.
I joined them and we walked together as they told me about the all the crabs wandering the beach down that way and also the bat the size of a monkey that they had seen in the cave. Kelly was wide-eyed and slightly shaken, but all in excitement. Unlike the Jersey Shore, there are no lights out here - just starlight and moonlight. As we walked, we could see the outline of two or three men wading in the surf. Fisherman.
Dressed in nothing but a brief swimsuit, the men were skin diving into the surf to catch fish. We struck up a brief conversation with one as he walked us to his basket, sitting 10 yards from the incoming tide. THe fish smellled strongly, like oil and salt water and, well, fish. I looked down into the basket and saw about a dozen fish flopping urgently against one another, desperately (and fruitlessly) trying to find their way back to the ocean. My father waved his flashlight across their glittering scales.
"esto pescados de la noche"
Night fish, the fisherman explained to us, and then kindly asked us to keep our flashlight beams from the waves lest we scare away any of their game.
They would stay out for another two hours, catching whatever fish they could before making their way back up the beach and climbing the rocky cove (easily an 800 foot incline) back to the road where they would most likely bicycle back to their respective villages and prepare their goods for market.
As I made my way back toward the fire, I felt like I was on my very own beach. MY beach. This tiny little cove, the palm trees, the caves and the tumultuous waves... it felt so small and so vast all at the same time. The sound of the crashing waves pounding in my ears, I began to run, kicking up sand everywhere as I went. I ran just for the sake of running, just because it felt great to run. Because it felt great to lick the salt from my breath. I ran until I (blindly, because of the lack of light) hit a slight incline on the sand and tripped. I caught my balance, preventing a certain faceful of sand.
When I returned to the fire, Tony was dancing around the flames and chanting what he interpreted as a Native American rain dance chant. When that got old, he decided to smoke a cigarette with his belly-button while everyone sang Bob Marley tunes. We stayed until the fire burned out - a good three hours later. We stayed until Tony ran out of creative ways to entertain us. Until we ran out of songs to sing in English that my cousins knew and could sing along with.
I really, really love this.
All of this.
| Currently listening : |
Volare! - The Very Best Of The Gipsy Kings
By Gipsy Kings
Release date: By 05 September, 2000