I woke up early the morning we were camping. Everyone else was sleeping and only I saw the army of trees on the mountaintop come forward with their branches swaying. The sun rose behind the sheet of fog and forest and I saw it for what it was for a moment: a cool, clear disk.
This isn’t nearly right. I can feel it, what it’s supposed to convey, the sun so pale through the mist that I thought it was the moon and I stared at it until my eyes started to burn. I can hear the quiet breathing of my friends in their hammocks, see the silhouetted crest of trees, feel the damp chill of the mountain air, and the right words for all of this haven’t come yet.
We drive through the street markets of Comayagüela as the last light fades. The taxi rumbles, waiting for the sea of pedestrians to move aside. Everything is lit with Christmas lights. Everything is for sale, bras and leggings hanging like bunches of polyester bananas. Everything is light and noise and the choke of exhaust until the pedestrians pass and we leave it behind.
Around a quieter corner I see children, young adults, standing, facing each other. His hands are cupped around her waist and her eyes are on our taxi as we roll by. He leans across the gap between them and kisses her neck. She continues to watch us, not moving, not bending into him, her eyes round and dark like a deer’s.
I don’t have words for the sensation, the quiet epiphany, that the world is so much bigger and more colorful and complicated than I know. I feel alien. I feel ghostly, hovering over life for a second. At home the four-year-old climbs in my lap, kisses my cheek, and I am home and not home, here and far away. I don’t have the words for anything I’m feeling.
It’s the morning again; I can tell by the droning of the fruit and vegetable seller: licha, licha, mínimo, sandía, aguacate. It is dark still. The air is fresh and cool.
Licha, licha, mínimo, sandía, aguacate. I wake up to this and a rooster crow. The day has already started, and I am in it, quiet, watching until the light comes through my window, my alarm clock purrs, and I get up to face the day.