I wasn't quite done with Kino. Or perhaps Kino wasn't quite done with me.
I stayed one more day. Yes. After a fire, whereupon I'd invited my many new friends to say goodbye and treated them to a reading of the introduction to my new book; I awoke the next morn, rolled over and looked at the mystery I'd been reading. I wasn't leaving. I had to finish it in Kino; end of the discussion with the voice in my head.
I light-footed it down the beach, happy for my reprieve. First stop, the nest of osprey I'd viewed every day. Two little heads popped up in the midst of the parent's daily tending. I had hoped they would fledge while I was there, under my excited eye. That didn't happen, but at least I was granted one more look as both parents watched and I sent them my goodbye across the ethers. I made my way another mile to the row of palapas where I had done morning stretches for three months. My eyes strayed to a row of condos on the beach, home of my buddy, Mike, who made it a habit to sit on his deck, ply me with ice water, fresh fruit and the occasional granola bar. We'd spent many hours staring out to sea as we shared our laments for the state of the world. We often jumped into his car for a birding beach romp and a chance for him to drop his line and hook a fish.
This morning I met him and his fluffy old dog on the beach. He was surprised to see me since I was supposed to be tooling up the road towards Nogales. "I'm staying," I declared, "I've decided to look for a house in Kino." His jaw dropped. "April Fools!" It was March 31st, but I wasn't going to be there to catch him the next day. We went out to dinner that night with friends; a questionable (in my mind - I had my heart set on the potato place next door) little dirt-floored place. We were sitting chewing away on overdone carne asada (that's redundant) when he grabbed my hand from across the table and whispered, "I can't breathe!" I kept hold of that hand and sprang to my feet as my CPR class flashed across my brain. Heimlich, yes. But before that, the hard palm slap between the shoulder blades. "Here it comes," I said, hoping I wouldn't topple him into the bushes. He bent over, threw up, coughed and stood up. Windpipe was cleared. It happened so fast. We were back at the table and the color returned to his face as I wrapped the rest of my shoe leather in a napkin for Teak. We shared a shot of Damiana back at La Perla, a hug and a kiss. "Keep smiling, Christina," he said, "something tells me I'll see you again." Right. I figure the man who called me a hopeless romantic owes me big time.
I awoke to the deep thump, thump of pangas on the waves. All breakables stowed and ready to depart, Teak and I walked to the old stone pier where I had tenderly watched countless, gentle lovers embrace at sunset. It was my turn to walk the wet rock. I made my way to the end as high tide surged and splashed; jostled shells enveloped me in jingles akin to an Australian water stick. The new sun glanced the water and all of a sudden jumping sardines glimmered like so many silver fairy wands. Pelicans dove head first a few feet away as gulls and terns cried joy at the prospect of their breakfast.
I turned away from the sea with ecstatic sadness. I wondered how my body would do without the pulse of the tide through my bloodstream. Goodbye willets, herons and those eye-bending roseate spoonbills. Hello yellow-lined asphalt, toll booths and military checkpoints with shy smiling teenage soldiers toting machine guns.
Silly me...I thought I could finish the mystery in Kino.