Heat pinning me between sky and earth, up out of the saddle for every hallucinatory pitch, the descents answer in pathetic gestures and when there’s a longer one, I plead and protest that it should end because it is always a promissory note. Guatemala, legendary for unapologetic lunatic upward ramps, lowest gear and full tacking full body cantilever swaying.
Nearly sixty miles on dirt today. Pre sunset I sit in front of a tienda sipping another coke, sideways conscious of my vacant look and making smalltalk with a man herding his two small children. I tell him my destination and he smiles and his eyebrows go up but he says you’ll make it, maybe by 8:30, three hours from now so an eleven hour haul.
I could stop anywhere, plenty of wild camping options and friendly people, but there’s a spot on the map and it was decided and replacing malleable will with outcome is good practice. And moonlight is enough to see the track by, flick on the headlamp for downhills, minor course corrections round mud holes and bigger stones. Feels like the temperature hasn’t changed much, arms slick. The moon won’t be full until tomorrow but I send a code above knowing she’ll get it.
Sitting at late dinner, the kid who cooked it asks if he can join me. We open another round of Gallos, apocalyptically shit local beer that is inexplicably wonderful when ice cold. He’s 26, earnest, I tell him that the food is good and he confesses to wanting to move to the USA to cook or do some other job, electrical, plumbing maybe. I ask where he wants to go, he says California, LA?, no, San Francisco. How much will rent be for one room? I gently let him know that it’s an expensive place, he doesn’t want to have roommates because it might interfere with bringing someone home. Can he make 25 or 30 dollars an hour?, he’s done some calculations based on that premise. I’m honest. He’s been told that he needs to know English first.
Cognizant of the two conversations we are having, each heartbreaking. My impossible speculating on generalizations that he craves to give the place a concreteness that it now lacks. How much is a scooter? Will they let me work overtime? If I lose some weight, by running, I run now somedays but waking up at 5am is hard, will girls want to go out with me?
And then the one where he’s in an autopoiesis of a dream and I’m a small measure of friction or traction or light or sadness depending on what I say. I don’t want to be, I have a sense of his chances, I wonder whether and who my father talked to when he knew nothing but decided to step into a luminous abyss.