After dancing that last night away to traditional Incan music from the band “Ilam” which did consist of Pichillo himself, (Ramior’s younger brother) the stout servant of God, marvelously tickling my ears and moving my feet with his flute; and the other fellow who looked genuinely Incan with black hair combed back to a pony tail, shifting with pigeon-like quickness from one rack of woodnotes to the lower rack on the sumpona, always keeping his lips adroitly funneled. I found myself flinching reflexively to the sound of fireworks (even though I knew they were coming).
Pichillo and his wife and Lina who teaches at the school picked me up that Thursday and took me to the middle of the world (Mitad del Mundo) where I got some great pics and had the best plate of sausage, eggs and pork and potatoes with some other purple chopped up sweet stuff. Hot sauce was phenomenal. They were impressed at my generous spreading of the hot sauce. “El major plato!” I said. “You should’ve taken a picture of it!” Pichillo said. “Oh yeah, oh well. I’ll just have to remember it.”
They took me to the doctor on site at the tourist location of the middle of the world. She was a gracious woman who couldn’t have been happier to take my temperature and everything and discuss to Lina about how I should take one Ibuprofen and then drink Gatorade until I could see the clinic later when they would give me a regiment of medicine to help get over my cold — at least it wasn’t yellow fever — phew!
And later we did go to the clinic in Pifo as well. It was right across from the Peniel School. Unlike the lady back there in her little office, just waiting for some sick American to give her an excuse to flaunt her expertise (bless her!) the clinic was full of patients and required some waiting. The two girls Abby and Gabby Baez accompanied. They explained that the place was a family of doctors with mother taking the lead. However it was her young son who saw me, a sharp doctor who asked me privately if I’d had any alcohol while he tried to found my heart beat. I hadn’t, but had taken a Benadryl so he had me breath heavily as though out of breath and he found it. Quite an astute young lad he was in that white coat and square black-rimmed glasses. He accurately diagnosed me with the common cold.
The medicine the free clinic gave me, with explicit instructions for when and how, immediately kicked in and made me feel better than any cold medicine in the states has ever. Of course in the states, instead of paying my 15 dollar copay over a cold, I’ll usually just try to Nyquil it away. But it usually takes much longer. I think it’s some kind of marketing scam to tell more crabby over the counter could medicine. I’m saving the packages of these pills.
Now I lie here early Sunday morning after the previous in which I had taken a walk and thought as I do as I came across a male cow with some horns chained up beyond a stone fence. He mooed at me. I mooed back. Then there was old Wilbur the Pig asleep under some trees. The fenced in houses of mortar and brick and the mountains filled my view. Interesting how livestock roams. A horse to my right stepped into view, head bowed to the grass.
Now I got this e-mail from Josie’s husband, one of the missionaries here. He’s a fellow Irishman, Mr. Connerley. Jose was the one who sat next to me on the bus when I was cold and alone she kept me company. She put her bag on my lap to warm me. She told me about being born again and her husband. She told me to relax and that I didn’t have yellow fever or dengue as she knew about from her native country, the Philippines, but that I might’ve in that moment had some sort of fever.
Finally I have purchased jeans and a vest — a stitched rip off of Aeropostal and a little snug, but at least the jeans fit. Always Wikipedia the place you’re going to before you just go assuming it’s tropical. Up here in the valley of the Andes it can get up to 80 and of course higher but it can also drop to 45 and lower and I’m told can rain and the wind is dirty and often — hence my Hawaiian shirt wearing ass got sick. It ain’t tropical just because it’s on the equator — go figure!
Now I have had a reverie pertinent to this story which I will now attempt to draw up again: it is one of forgiveness and reckoning:
High school is a sensitive time in a modern boy’s life. For me as I recall, especially so. But I of courser never really let on to my teachers or friends how sensitive it was. I just dealt with it, as any strong-willed young chap would be won’t to do.
Mr. Davis, my bald lovable band teacher once smacked my ego ever so acutely and publicly: I had missed a refrain or something and he had stopped the band to correct me and I’d said something like, “I’m not sure where you are?” I was a second string trombonist alongside my partner Ryan Woodworth, trying to keep up with the unstoppable wind and speed of the first string fellow to my right (who also had such wind and speed on the cross-country team as I recall) while intermittently horsing around with Ryan. Whatever it was that caused the halt in music — it was probably my fault. But the disciplinary decision of Mr. Davis who I still see in Church from time to time, who one-on-one during a lesson once had shared with me that I had excellent sound, and “You know, it’s really great to have this time to work closely with you,” was particularly damming, as I alluded to, my self-esteem. See, I was the superintendent’s eldest son. And right before he jerked his composing hands into motion to start up the band again, he let out one mocking whiny voice and it said, “Daddy!” The band erupted in laughter. In this moment, I thought of killing Mr. Davis.
But now, years from then, I think to myself: Forgive him. I have reread much of the New Testament, a nice blue bilingual version they gave me. I have read some of Mr. Connerley’s (Josie’s husband) rather lengthy testimony that she e-mailed me. (He says he wants to check up on my progress).
And now at last in addition to offering up the conviction of my sins to Jesus, I am willing to think back and forgive all those who ever wronged me or trespassed against me, if you will.
I forgive you girl next door for routinely breaking my heart.
I forgive you girl 2 houses down for calling me a prude and dumping me in 6th grade.
I forgive you blonde-haired girl two lockers down — well it wasn’t your fault — you said I wasn’t your type, and I frankly wasn’t. Thanks of saying “sure” though to the formal with me. That was pretty cool.
I forgive you promiscuous freshman blonde cheerleader who was barely ever academically eligible to cheer but ever available to sleep with dirtbags especially upper classmen while leading me on and saying yes to the prom and a date and later no that you have to sit in your dilapidated house and watch MTV and eat lousy pizza.
That’s enough forgiveness for now.