one finds their niche, anger at bad governance evaporates, resentment against
unfair and unjust treatment subsides, and a new hope in rational management of
peoples returns so that thoughts of laying roots are born
After another late night followed
by a late sleep-in, Noble cancelled his Spanish classes until the end of the
week so he could recover from the pace of pubbing and coking in Mariscal, but a
simple phone call to a local English bookstore brought him down to the action.
With only two of three books required, he purchased seven, all set for a few
days reading in the beautiful parks in the city.
a coffee in Mariscal Foch Plaza, the Times Square of Quito, the sun
burned his skin like a white-hot paring knife run against his arms and face.
Noble changed from coffee to two-for-one pitchers of Passion Punch, which he
was ill prepared for. The table set back in the corner of the square, the sun
burning and the music loud, the streets and tables filled up with people happy
and excited to be in the epicenter, tickled his sense of freedom that he had
settled into his new life and was beginning to find some degree of peace.
first pitcher was strong, once done enough was enough, but when the second one
arrived the sun dropped behind the mountaintops along the western tip of the
plateau, the streetlights came on and an energy in the ethers emerged. There
was an American sitting nearby who looked trustworthy like an old teacher of
his. Noble asked him if he would like to help him finish off the pitcher. He
laughed at the state of him and said "sure."
was a retired actor, who had worked with Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper during
the fifties. He didn't have any of the pitcher but he happily and efficiently
ate his hamburger and listened to Noble talk. After four hours in the hot sun
on the patio alone reading, he had to talk to someone. From his face Noble
could see he wasn't disgusted but rather curious to see a man like him drinking
and smoking and talking and laughing. When the burger was gone and the pitcher
was finished and all four corners of the plaza in full swing, they said their
goodbyes and Noble went down the street to the Irish Pub. The thought of returning
to his guesthouse was anathema to his spirit. He had truly immersed himself
into his new seize-the-day way of life.
the pub there was no one he knew, but there was a woman at the bar looking at
Noble, knapsack full of books, a slight stupor yet grin on his face. He smiled
at her, surveyed the pub and looked at her again.
the Dane isn't here," he said. Her skepticism so obvious on her face morphed
into a loving and trusting grin.
why don't you come with me?" Strange as it might sound, her words were
reassuring and calming, comforted me because of his loneliness: that lack of
outlet for so much fun to be had.
but not sloppy, graceful but not stumbling, he went to her.
with you? And where would you like to go?" That was when she put her hand on
his forearm and pulled him close to her. When he was close enough he smelled
her pheromones and something made him feel safe.
don't we go to my place?" Crooked smile, confident, his age, Italian but looked
Spanish, wholesome, slightly self-conscious sitting on her barstool in a pub
packed with drinkers, Martina seemed to know him, see his innocence and good
heart, and soft eyes. She was willing to take a chance with who she saw was not
idea of a new adventure with this dark-haired woman dressed in black pulled him
towards her, a safety beacon and trusting voice, the accent of a fellow
American. They left immediately without a lot of talking and took a taxi to her
apartment a few minutes away. Front desk, mahogany wood, polite concierge, and
right beside the embassy for Spain, they threw their bags on the floor, put on
music and she had a Bloody Caesar. Noble was happy enough to pull out his pouch
of tobacco and roll a joint, something that nine times out of ten with a women
was a bust but she brightened.
years I used to run a hemp farm in Saskatchewan," she said. Of course he
thought she was pulling his leg but she kept on. "I've been looking for weed
since I came here but it's tough when you're a woman and single."
joints, laughter, balcony, water, more and more books on the table, the more
crooked her smile became and her beauty unveiled in her tone, her touch and her
words. Both thoroughly enjoying the fluke chemistry they shared, it wasn't long
before they lied down together and rubbed themselves together. Noble thought
her neighbors were going to come over to tell them to keep it down but it was
as if they had found their little patch of privacy where only they knew the
utter joy they were having. Afterwards in the kitchen they talked and smoked
more joints, laughed with each other, telling each other everything that had
been in their minds for months. A purge, a confession and a mutual eruption in
the nude at the table, fumbling with rolling papers, selecting music from her
computer, each not judging the other, and both happy to have found a kindred
soul so high up in the Andes after months of hardship.
had been mugged twice, the second time being pulled along the pavement after a
pillion on a passing motorcycle grabbed her purse that she didn't let go of.
She spoke about it as if still raw, as if he were the first and only person
that got the full story, her moment to be comforted, and her first moment of
healing. Her honesty and vulnerability struck him to the bone, a trust and
respect born there in the semi-darkness, teeth slightly bucked, fingernails
painted purple, smile lines active, and so utterly giving. At that moment Noble
embraced her, like all men in need, fully and without doubt, a declaration of
his empathy and imperfections, a partnership of great proportion. This opening
up to her gushed out but without a monopoly of words and time; a vigorous
mutual exchange of souls confessing, trusting and celebrating the chemistry.
She had been in Ecuador for six months since
she had sold her highly controversial hemp farm in Canada, with four of those
months spent on the beaches on the Pacific mastering her Spanish. She was a
landlord, relying on her rental income for her South American expenses. With
the money from her hemp business, she had become a successful businesswoman in
her own right, single and childless at 43, starting a new chapter in a new land
after years of harassment and auditing by the Canadian government. She knew she
had become red-flagged by those in power for someone who operated on the
boundary of the law. Martina had chosen to start a new life in Ecuador but her
biggest problem had been being a lone in a dangerous country, being an
individual who refused to be told what to do and who detested having her
freedom infringed just because there were a few restless hoodlums hanging
about. She would rather face danger than have her options limited.
dancing in the living room they returned to her bedroom and resumed their
physical intimacy that reached a higher level, more intense, a new language
born that healed each other's loneliness. It was unabashed acknowledgment of
the human need for love. In itself it was art, poetry in motion, emotion and
spiritual awareness. The need and certainty of love shared so far away between
two travelers must be one of the rarest experiences of any man or woman, a need
like hunger that lasts long after the event never to be forgotten.
philosopher who had become his wingman, had words for him when he was asleep
that night in Martina's apartment: "It is the sharpness of reason that can shut
down the liveliness of the heart. So severe can the blade of reason be that it
can permanently suffocate the life out of ones spirit and close down operations
forever when failure looms temporarily over an obstacle lying on the path to a
dream, a death knell that silences ‘til the end of time." Maybe it had been the
sharpness of Noble's reason that had etched such a restricted and stringent
life he had lived in Houston, keeping out others and closing down his heart in
matter," he told himself, "it's better now."