I sat for a moment trying to decide if a giant spider had actually crawled over me or if I had mentally conjured it. I was distracted by the wailing of a couple of people who were laying on the floor in the back, I worried for them and I felt the tug of darkness again and I reached out for the Icaros hoping I could maybe send some kind of spiritual lifeline to them so they could grab hold. Don Alberto finished and Hamilton started up his Icaro except this time, he extemporaneously replaced the words from the same Icaro from the night previous and was singing about "Rainbow Care bear Jesus."
Some of the repeaters were laughing about it. It was bizarre and surreal, I wasn't sure how I felt about it.
The Russian behind me was retching out what sounded like Satan in liquid form. I felt distinctly aware and unsettled. The root came to me then and told me to continue on my path, I couldn't do anything for the Russian or for the South African woman who was so tentative about getting on this ride in the first place.
I had to go forward to get back.
"Willy Wonka says that." I told her.
She responded, 'There is a reason you are drawn to that. You know what that reason is.'
A curious break down of ego began then, everything up to this point had been an exquisite moving picture show, this was beyond that, there was a dearth of light and sound. This was about me and my ugly bullshit. The root broke it down for me, what I was doing and how I was causing additional damage to myself. It was amazing and humbling to see yourself blown apart the way it was done. I had read someone's account of the process and described it as "seeing my own operating system."I was definitely seeing my own operating system, and my software had some serious bugs. I started laughing again because I connected that to the giant ass spider that had crawled over me earlier. Paul asked in a whisper what was funny.
I told him "my bugs were escaping" and he asked if that what had crawled over his stomach earlier because he thought there was a big bug on him. I decided not to mention the spider at that point.
The root told me what I had already known about my own suffering and how it was a catalyst for the gift I was given. She explained that one of my reasons for wanting a child was linked to a need to have someone else in the universe like me so I wouldn't feel so alone all of the time. She explained if I had a child, even if my insides weren't broken, they would not be like me anyway, I was a complex construct made up of a million different circumstances. It would not solve my problem. It was intensely humbling, remarkably painful and at last freeing.
When I was little I used to get angry at the part in the Wizard of Oz where the Good Witch of the North tells Dorothy she could have gotten home anytime she wanted by clicking the ruby slippers together. I recall telling my mother that if I were Dorothy I would have punched her in the face upon hearing it. Fortunately I took this news better than I would have when I was seven.
I had the answer to my problem, I have had it all along.
The last Icaros was sung. Don Alberto gathered his things and people yelled out "Thank You Maestro!"
I yelled it out too. The lights came up and people sat up and started to chat.
I asked the root if it was time for me to throw up now. She told me I had done enough work for tonight, I didn't have to do that. "Thank you!" I called out again.
Even though I was still having strong hallucinations, I was much clearer at that point than I had been the night previous. There was someone sprawled out onto the floor in front of the repeaters. I tugged on Paul's sleeve, is that a ninja?
"No, that isn't a ninja."
"Okay, how about over there. Is that Boba Fett standing right there?"
"No, that's John."
Boba Fett moved closer to me. I could see the detail on his helmet and hear his boots hitting the floor and then suddenly it was just John in his bare feet. I assumed that this would be alarming to someone else who hadn't been to as many comic book conventions as I have. "Sorry, I thought you were Boba Fett."
John smiled, "Who is Boba Fett?
"You know, the Bounty Hunter from Star Wars."
"I am sorry, I don't know what Star Wars is."
It took me a minute to internalize that, "It really doesn't matter, have a good night."
Paul and I walked out into the darkness and looked up. The milky way was as clear and detailed as cut crystal and so close I felt I could reach up and swirl them around with my fingertips. I tried to identify the differences between my own familiar night sky and this one below the equator. I didn't think I had ever seen anything so stunning in the world. I tried to memorize it so I could bring it up anytime I wanted to.
For the first time in my life I felt lucky.
Paul and I woke up to the breakfast drum. I didn't feel nearly as hung over as I did previously. I stepped out into a subtlety changed world. Everything was sharp and Technicolor like I had finally put glasses on for the first time. The lodge was bustling and I felt a surprising kinship to these people. I tried to sort out the reason behind it. I remembered one of the repeaters talking me the night previous after the ceremony and saying how amazing it was that a collective night of puking and shitting could grow such a bond between complete strangers and yet it had. I was really impressed for my part since it takes me eons to trust people. This was a bonding through sacrificial rite. I wondered if it would be easier for me to trust people when I got back home, or would this just be reserved for people I writhed on the floor and puked into a bucket with.
Paul was noticeably chipper. He was commenting on the grounds, making plans about the afternoon, talking about the future. I began to recognize the guy that I married originally and I decided not to mention it thinking that might ruin it. We decided to go back to the pond for a swim because it was so hot. Our little black dog came out to meet us at the moment I wondered where she was. Paul got in with me this time and we floated on intertubes. I could clearly see parrots flying overhead and fat frogs jumping in and out of the mud at the water's edge. There was a large craggy tree at the far end and I kicked awkwardly over to it. There was a huge hanging nest, about 3 feet long. It looked like a grapefruit hanging inside a grass stocking. It had a wonderful architecture to it and I floated all about the exposed roots of the tree trying to get a better look. I couldn't put my feet onto the ground because it was a furry mass of algae and my feet sunk quickly and too deeply into the warm mud.
As I kicked lazily away I saw black bird with a flash of yellow fly into the hanging nest without so much as slowing down. I nearly squealed with childlike fervor at getting to see wild kingdom action right in front of my face. I determined later that it was most likely a crested Oropendola.
Paul and I lazed about in the water until we got too hot from the equatorial sun and then move just a few inches into the cool spots in the water and the back again when we got too cold. We dried off in the lounge chairs on the dock and listened to the small brown bats in the rafters stir in their mid day sleep.
Paul looked at me utterly amazed and said, "This place gives you exactly what you need right when you need it."
It sounded impossible but it felt absolutely true.