We’ve been back for two and a half months now. I’d like to say we eased back into our roles, barely made a ripple in the calm façade we like to pretend exists here: the chill, the hammocks slung lazily between post and tree, rainy day fireplace crackling for guests to cuddle round. The view: There is always the inclination to just sit and look, to lose yourself in the stare and forget two-three-four hours of life. I think, I’m fairly sure, that’s the point. Whatever it is, I still love it here. Emma still loves it here. Though, easing has been pretty far from the truth.
My hands. I don’t know what the fuck have happened to my hands, but for much of the last couple of months, they’ve been perpetually sore. My fingers feel thick and tight, and I fear they might be in the beginning stages of turning into sausages, something akin to what old working men have. Other than that, they are permanently busted up, ripped by errant screwdrivers, smashed by a misdirected hammer, sliced, nicked and nattered. They have slowly, steadily moved away from the keyboard and come to feel slightly out of place dancing atop it. It wasn’t what I envisioned but isn’t all that surprising.
Regardless, f-ed up hands haven’t stopped me from tilting the bottle a little more than I should, from finding last night’s tab got into the double digits, discovering that somehow half a pack of smokes has singed my lungs and filled me with renewed vows to cut back, to go at it less. It hasn’t stopped me from pulling off bar chords, playing for two or three hours in a night, once I get going, find someone, a few folks sitting around ready to a hear a tune or two. It hasn’t stopped my from stumbling home too often too late, Emma a little fumed at me having stayed up longer than promised, another round, another cigarette or three.
Last night, as last nights go, Sophie and Becca, part of the reception team who have become what I proudly heard Emma calling groupies, listened to me leaning drunkenly over the guitar, waiting for “Going Out West”. They anticipate certain lines: “I got hair on my chest! I look good without a shirt!” and “My friends say I’m ugly! I got a masculine face!” The group built up then waned then settled into about eight of us. It—that song—always seems to be the crest of the evening, and almost suggests that nothing else good can happen for the night. After it, people start trickling off to bed. After it, I should probably just stop. I generally don’t.
I often make mock statements of change in the morning, swearing off the booze and cigarettes for good this time, turning to a life of the straight and narrow, until the afternoon hits, my hands with a lingering ache in them that seems only comforted when wrapped around something cool, say a bottle or two or I forget. And, overall, it’s a different ease than easing going, an ease that I don’t all together reject but one that keeps the surface ever-rippling, something like rolling gusts of wind that blow things just askew enough to keep it interesting. One thing for sure is that it is easy to stay and put off worlds elsewhere.
This blog occurs once a week, the entries being thematically mixed between expat life in Guatemala and life as an NGO groupie. The photos for this blog, website, and my life are all provided by my beautiful wife Emma.