I’M WRITING THIS last night, alone. It’s the second solitary night this week.
The first was planned. My child bride and a sister took a bus Monday to a town called Los Reyes, which is about three hours southwest of here.
(They changed buses in the city of Uruapan, which gained infamy years ago when bad guys rolled a decapitated head across a cantina floor.)
The sisters had to confer with a lawyer on a property issue. I slept solo in the Hacienda’s king bed, the window open for the cool air and the scent of datura. They stayed in a hotel. She returned the next day, and I was happy.
Yesterday, we got news that the son of a half brother — hers not mine — had been killed on a motorcycle in the nearby capital city. My child bride and a different sister took a bus down there to attend the wake. She’ll return today. Again, there I was in the king bed with the window open to cool air and the aroma of datura.
Last night, just like Monday, I skipped our traditional, evening salad, and I opted instead for a two-egg omelet with eight-grain toast.
There were no eggs in the house yesterday, so I had to walk half a block down the street to a very humble, hole-in-the-wall store. The eggs likely weren’t far from the hen’s heinie and, of course, Mexicans do not refrigerate eggs, which is no problem.
The omelet had onion, olives, tomato sauce, capers and Parmesan cheese from the green, plastic jar. After slipping it onto the plate, I added lemon pepper and Tabasco.
The toast received “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Clearly, I’m no foodie.
I skipped Netflix too, instead reading some old yarns of mine, in part to correct punctuation. Also to relive moments, which passes the time when you’re sailing solo.
Here is one of my favorites. It’s a true story, written maybe 15 years ago, recalling a trip I made to Scotland in the 1970s. The references to the hammock and roof tile hark back to the upstairs terraza here before the recent renovation.
That hammock was long one of my favorite reading spots.
The piece is called:
Last train to Holyhead.
Swaying in the hammock softly with Rosamunde Pilcher.
Though wet June is weeks away, there are rain clouds.
But the hammock is safe under the roof tile.
Pilcher’s book Under Gemini is set in Scotland, my ancestral home.
Look here on this page: The rain had turned to a soft blowing mist which was beginning to smell of the sea.
If it rains here now, it will smell not of sea, but of mountains. You will hear soft sighs of parched plants, see the settling of dust.
Under Gemini was published in the mid-1970s, and at that same time I was alighting alone from a train at the Inverness station, just up from Edinburgh.
Stepping off another car at the same moment was a California woman on the very eve of her 40th birthday, also alone.
She was a professor of anthropology, attractive, heading slowly, with backpack, toward a conference in faraway India. We ended up in the same guesthouse, dining together after passing through a few dark pubs.
We found each other engaging, and spent the next five days as constant, carefree companions, becoming one.
After Inverness, our train headed west to the Isle of Skye in the Inner Hebrides. And later, there was the big smokestack boat that carried us south through the Sound of Isleat to a railhead at Mallaig.
We held hands on deck and smiled as our freight ship steamed through watery mountain passes. It was cold October, and we were the only passengers.
At Mallaig, we caught another train, continuing on through Fort William, Glasgow and finally, leaving Scotland, to Chester, England.
It was a five-day romance with no time for pains, sorrows or regrets.
Until those final moments. I had to return to London. She continued on to Holyhead on the windy Welsh coast, a roundabout route to India.
We kissed and waved goodbye as the old train chugged from the station in medieval Chester. Her window was open, and she leaned out, like in those old-time movies.
We never mentioned our last names and, even now, her first name, like her face, has faded. But not the memory of those final moments. Definitely not that.
The sweetness spiraled into sadness.
There is thunder here now. Let’s head inside the house.