Early next morning I am awoken by the sun, quietly sneaking up upon the spiteful hills. As I sat there on the blistering edge of the the bottom bunk, I sprung up in anticipation,as the bed let out an awful cry. I decided that I would go in search of what I came for. Paraiso, as Romero has, and in deciding this, I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach, excitement, anticipation,and fear. A feeling that makes you want to burst out laughing and break down crying, all at once.
I'm startled by Ernesto's footsteps walking in the room with two mango's in his hand he asks "Breakfast?"
I smiled as I grabbed a mango. "I know that look" he said as he bites into his mango, subtly puncturing the soft of the skin, absorbing every bud of taste it had to offer, as if this were the last mango he would ever eat. I am distracted and have heard nothing of what he's said.
"Huh?" I question
"Where to today?" He pries
"Oh, I don't know..." I lie
"Paraiso?" He chuckles, and it's as if he's read the most inter-depth of my soul, it's as if I am standing there naked in front of him, in front of all of Chamula.
We had decided on a place Romero had gone on and on about the night before. A place he called paradise, a place everyone else knew as Tulum, Mexico. We packed our things and had forsaken Chamula, in hopes of a flawless Tulum. The ride over had been gruesome, there were chickens, dogs, and even a small pig that took passenger. I still laugh at the site of Ernesto and I sharing a seat, because a chicken next to him had left a caca on his seat. With Ernesto asleep on my shoulder, and the animals finally at ease, I pondered, why I'd fallen so hard, for a man I'd hardly even knew. All my life, I believed not in love at first sight. "Fools" I'd mock as I passed couples so lost in each others beings. And yet here I stood, a hypocrite, a pharisee of sorts. I wanted to be near him always, I wanted to know him, inside and out, I wanted to know the wrinkles in his long slender fingers. the anguish beneath his eyes and the covert arc upon his lips.
And just as my hypocrisy began to amplify, the bus jolted to a halt, and there we were, in paradise. As Ernesto and I are getting off the bus, he stops everything he's doing and turns around and kisses me. A moment that makes me feel like punching him, though I kiss him back instead. Our first kiss. With the scent of pigs breath lingering in the air, and an elbow poking into my side, I am in complete shock, felicity and anguish all at once.
I am in paradise.