Sunday, September 5, 2010

Travels

I had finally met up with Jaclyn and her face. She had spotted me at the Mexican restaurant the night before as I entered the bar and decided to disguise herself as a stout man and chase me around. She thought it would be a pleasant joke and had waited in the corner laughing as I looked around confused in the middle of the dance floor. It wasn't until I had finished my second mini cheesecake that she revealed herself and we both fell to the floor in a flood of tears, laughter, smoke, and cheesecake crumbs. For me, there were mixed emotions of joy, embarrassment, and anger at Jackie for making me go through such terror. The anger soon passed as Jaclyn looked me in the eyes and kissed me on the cheek. "E.B., it has been soooo long. I've missed you..."
A year ago from that day we had reunited after a two year break up and made journey to south Australia to visit some of her jungle friends. I recall an experience during that occasion in which I pronounced my love for the young lady. As part of our jungle journey, Jaclyn and I had vouched to become one with the spirit of the travel. We decided to leave all electronic devices behind, and dress ourselves in modern warfare attire. This was a demonstration of our devotion to the wilderness. The days consisted of great excitement. We would head out on hunting trips with the lion herds, churn butter with the buffalo pride, and even smoke the peace pipe with the indigenous scoundrels. To us, the joy of being together is what brought peace but the pipe gave us a way to express our inner selves. One of these days, we decided to take a swim with the school of elk that was crossing the planes. There was a grand waterfall and on either side the White man had tethered devices of rope from the trees creating a swing of sorts. The idea was to fasten thyself tight to the string, swing with might and gain, and then release thy grip upon centering the body above the pool of water. The concept seemed simple enough as I climbed the 172 foot cliff to the base of the jump. Jaclyn did not hesitate in following my foolish steps. We both met at the top, smoked the last of our peace pipes, and went for the jump. Jaclyn swung first, as her fear of heights was weakened at the sight of accomplishment. She soared through the air like a kite on wings with majestic ease and flowing grace. Sixteen and a half flips later she went into swan status with a perfect 10 dive into the water. Not a ripple was created. The school of elk that had lead us to the spot clapped with astonishment. Never had they seen such outstanding work and non the less from a white girl. The nerves jumped in as I prepared for my launch.Thoughts ran through my mind - if I show up Jaclyn, then I surely lose her as my better half, and if I do not live up to her mighty show of perfection, then I can consider myself banned from the school of Elf for lack of skill power. I had gotten myself into a jam. I watched as the river ran swiftly through the canyon and dropped off the edge to the waterfall's homeland. Time seemed to stand still as I looked below at Jaclyn as she patiently awaited my jump. She looked up at me as I grabbed the rope and leaped without further ado. The time I spent in the air allowed for much reflection. On a trip to Ruson three years prior, a shop owner had stopped us and said, " Are you two going out?" The question caught us both by surprise as we had only been hanging together a short time. "Ye-" I was cut off by Jaclyn, "No, we're just amigos de corazon..." Jaclyn smiled at the man.
"Interesting," the man replied, " I feel a strong spirit between you two lads and am certain that you have known one another for a long time, if not since the beginning of time and from such date forth..."
At this point I was no longer listening but rather looking at Jaclyn's face and wondering how I could muster up the courage to ask her out.
Now, three years later, as I flipped through the air, it was time to confess my love for her. I had fully completed twelve and a half rotations and was looking to do four more in order to catch up to Jaclyn's ranking. Nevertheless, as I went to spot my landing, I noticed that Jackie had picked up a stick and was fixing on throwing it my direction. She couldn't!!! She pulled back her arm and threw the stick and it was coming my way. I could not believe what was happening. In order to dodge the bullet, I could either throw in an extra flip, therefor showing up Jacklyn, or slow down my rotation, and only complete a tripcuadrip double flip, falling short of my expectations. I had no time to think and slowed my spin. I soon landed in the water, creating a tremendous splash that reached the height of the water fall. Upon surfacing the water and grasping for air I looked around for Jackie. She was at the foot of the water fall laughing. I climbed out angrily and stormed over to her. "How could you!?" I demanded. " You could've hurt me, or even worse, poked my eye out!!!" I was furious but her calm response changed my perspective on life forever.
"Johansen, my dear..." she started(Johansen was my nickname for the trip," There are two worse fears for a man: That of losing his better half and losing respect of the school. Today, you professed to me through your actions what is most important to you...Me. There is nothing more important to a woman than knowing with a surety that her man loves her and will not show her up. Today, you proven and professed your love for me. I tested you, and you passed with flying colors!!"
I never regretted that day. I learned two things as the school of Elk dismembered me: First, that I love Jaclyn and secondly, that I can live without the respect of the school.
Just as we had done that day, Jaclyn and I embraced each other in a hug. " I've missed you too, babe..."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Palistan Meeting

I was in the North, and she was in the southernmost top of the Andes Mountains. The only thing keeping us apart was the name of the tour bus company that did not allow north American tourists to enjoy the ride. I decided to pull a blind side on the company and bribe the driver with a few hundred shinglings (African currency). I pulled the money out of my backpack and handed it to the chauffeur with a smile and a nod...he kindly accepted and allowed me to board the bus. The next twenty miles would be an off road excursion both mentally and physically through desert, jungle, city, roads, maps, houses, highways, sky-ways, train-ways, subways, and all other terrain imaginable. The end had now begun and I was neck deep in this mess. My only hope of survival was meeting Jaclyn's face at the end of the tunnel. A pipe dream or a dream from a pipe...either way I had not yet smoked the day's cigar. I sat next to an elderly man who did not speak a lick of English. I decided to practice my sign language as I gave him the peace sign and pulled out my hippie hair from the front pocket of my suitcase. I then proceeded to take a nap for the rest of the trip. Upon awakening the man was gone, and so was my hippie hair. What had happened? I grabbed my luggage, and disregarded the rest of the passengers. Life was not on my side that day as I got off the bus and the journey began.
Day 2 La Mafia Mexicana
I walked in the door of the run down restaurant. Tables were laid out leaving an empty space in the middle of the room either for a dance off or a mariachi band. I took my seat in the far corner as guests began to file in one after the other after the one after the second. Nods to strangers were made and gestures of acknowledgment lost in the ramble of chaos. I pretended to engage myself in conversation with my cell phone as to avoid contact with the strangers I claimed to know. A table full of Mexican delicacies was at the front of the room to the left of the piano and small stage. The smell of fresh tacos de pollo caught my attention. I got up and began to make my way through the crowds of peeps and stopped at the foot of the table with a plate in hand ready to partake of the feast as a voice beckoned from afar, "You there!!! From where dost thou depart?" The voice brought my plate to the ground shattering like tin can man. I jumped twice in the air as I quickly turned to see who the intruder was. A stout man built of muscle and pure human form stood amongst the mingling uniforms. I ducked under the table as to not be seen as I snatched a few more tacos and some cheese cakes from the dessert stand. This fiesta had not seen the last of me. I caught a glimpse of the man following me through the reflection of the waiter's tray. He was in hot pursuit and I needed a quick escape. The exit was closed off due to repair so I would need another route out. Why hadn't I planned this better from the beginning and why was this man after me? I was now on my third lap around the small restaurant and found myself in the dance floor. I had stuffed the mini cheesecakes in to my pockets and they were beginning to spoil. I took one out and began to eat. I was dizzy and lost my sense of direction but was relieved that the man was no where in site. Few...I lost him. I sat on the ground and ate the last of that days ration.