June 22, 2012
When the rains come it’s hard to imagine a time when there was anything but the rain – the mid-afternoon antediluvian waters that carry you into a timeless state of waiting and expectation. Entropy quicken: roads crack, sinkholes open, houses tumble down cliffs, buses collide, and people race to take cover under awnings. The house shudders under heavy rolling thunder, roofs leak, cobblestone is drowned amid thick currents of brown water, the electricity flickers and then disappears taking us with it into a new darkness that to most people feels like winter. For me, it’s time to find a dark den. In the morning the sun hangs back behind ominous clouds and bursts through pockets of humidity and onto us, the specimens of this petridish.
One full year we’ve been here and in August we head back, this time to Texas, to find a headquarters. It’ll be easier that way. I will be more intentional with my chunks of time in Central America. Time passes quickly here as each raindrop that evaporates in the morning sun. Mi abuelita asked me once “¿Como vas a saber como pasa el tiempo si no tienes hijos?” How will you know how time passes if you don’t have children? I’ll know, I tell her, because I’ll feel it in my heart.
When she was visting a couple of weeks back, I had this distinct feeling this would be her last visit to Guatemala, to see her eldest two children and to see her country. “Hay me recuerdas no venir otra vez cuando este lloviendo.” Remind me not to come again when it’s raining. I smiled wondering how someone forgets that it rains more than half the year in their own country. We drove into the banana plantations to see Tío Nefta and I wondering about their life there and how back then it rained, just like now, but things were so different for them.
I’m remind you, I tell her. She doesn’t hear me as she watches the rain roll off the broad banana tree leaves. Half to herself she says: “Cuando hay sol, solo es el solo, cuando llueve, solo la lluvia.” When there is sun, there is only sun and when there is rain, there is only the rain.
Except for memory, it’s so malleable.